David Bowie for Louis Vuitton Ad Campaign

Posted on October 31, 2013

David Bowie for Louis Vuitton’s “L’Invitation au Voyage” ad campaign photographed by David Sims.






[Photo Credit: David Sims for Louis Vuitton]

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  • RussellH88

    He’ll always be King of the Goblins.

    • Sarah

      Dead Sexy King of the Goblins, hell yes.

    • Daenyx

      Damn right. Perfect Halloween post is perfect. >.>

    • tereliz

      It’s only forever…

  • Rand Ortega


    • Lucía Gavello

      He is EVERYTHING. That’s all.

      • Rand Ortega


  • seelebrennt

    blackface, what?? seriously. i can’t be the only one who sees the models’ ‘masks’ that way…am i just feeling overly sensitive because of all the morons who still think blackface is ok at halloween?

    (jesus christ, i have a ladyboner for david bowie)

    • JasmineAM

      I think they’re just meant to be masked.
      I too am growing tired of seeing blackface this Halloween. It’s very saddening to see people on a presumably progressive website like Gawker defending blackface.

      • seelebrennt

        i hesitated before posting my comment, to be honest; i thought maybe i’m overreacting. i know they’re supposed to be masks, but it really doesn’t look that way at first glance. i’m so disgusted by the insane prevalence of blackface this halloween. maybe i’m just seeing it on the internet more, not that it’s actually showing up more. wtf is wrong with people?? ugh.

        • StellaZafella

          I see your point…but, being Bowie, my first impression was an antithesis of the chalk white make up and slick black hair of the Robert Palmer Women in the 80’s.

        • I don’t think you’re overreacting. No need to apologize for a valid, defensible observation.

        • AnneElliot

          My first thought was blackface also, then I noticed Bowie is holding a mask in his hand. First I thought it was blackface, then I thought they were masks, but now upon closer inspection I do think it’s blackface. Either way, I think it’s inappropriate, and I don’t think you need to apologize.

      • Pterodactyl111

        Gawker is full of morons too, just ones who think they’re intelligent.

    • TheBoo Stress

      I’m a black woman and didn’t get that at all…and I’m usually quite attuned to such things. Now that you point it out I can see how it could be construed as such. Don’t really agree this time but can see it. Plus I am blinded by Bowie. <3 <3 <3

      • formerlyAnon

        “blinded by Bowie”

        It’s going around.

      • mmebam

        I’m also a black woman, and I immediately got tarbaby. But then I had to take a step back and realize they were probably masks.

        • TheBoo Stress

          Gotcha. Then again, I was “blinded by Bowie”. Though I wonder if anybody considered who his spouse is… Think this was just careless, which doesn’t make it better but … anyway Happy Halloween everyone!

    • MilaXX

      This time I don’t see blackface as much as I see painted mask. However this has indeed been a particularly asshole-y Halloween so I understand being a bit sensitive.

      • Rand Ortega

        Seriously asshole-y. When did it become cool to wear blackface to be a murdered kid for Halloween?

        • marlie

          That’s the thing… It was never “cool.”

        • MilaXX

          I don’t even want to get into the nastiness I’ve seen or the blogs with people trying to defend the many racist and insensitive so called “costumes” that people have felt were worthy of making, much less posting online. My head and my heart ache from the sheer offense of it all.

          • Rand Ortega

            The dinosaurs are shrilly screaming against the changing times. There was a time that type of hate was acceptable. They pine for those times & flaunt their opposition to equality with this brand of defiance.

    • Snailstsichr

      I love Bowie and I love Venice, so my first thought was that he was at the Carnivale – which nearly made me swoon.

    • Sarah Winningham

      In this particular case I don’t think blackface was intended. The women are wearing morettas, a type of mask traditionally worn only by women at Venetian balls – they stay on by a button that you grip between your teeth, so the wearer must remain silent.

      • cocohall

        God the interesting things you learn on this site. Thank you!

        • seelebrennt

          RIGHT? that was totally my thought too 🙂 thanks sarah!

      • oyeyemi808

        I see blackface not masks. it never ends

      • Interesting info! Sigh, somehow I’m not comforted by the fact that these masks are “traditionally only worn by women” in such a way that “the wearer must remain silent.” I’m skipping Halloween this year.

        • AnneElliot

          Yeah, that’s kinda icky. Women are to be seen and not heard? Hmpf.

        • Sarah

          Carnivale masks were historically worn by the upper class in order from them to not be recognized in the very insular society in the city. This necessitated either disguising their voices (as with a bauta) or simply not speaking (as with a moretta). It lead to a sense of mystery in Carnivale and the ability of the masked to get away with behaving in a way they wouldn’t if recognizable. It actually let them have more freedom than upper-class women usually had in that time period.

      • Rand Ortega

        Wow. BK’s & PUF’s are so erudite.

      • mshesterp

        I totally want this to be a movie–that sounds like a fantastic set piece for a Merchant-Ivory-style period drama.

        • Sarah Winningham

          Movies with good masquerade or historical Venice scenes:

          Phantom of the Opera (1943)

          Marie Antoinette (1938)

          The Masque of the Red Death

          An American In Paris

          Fellini’s Casanova



          Romeo and Juliet (1968)

          Dangerous Beauty


          Start the Revolution Without Me

          To Catch A Thief

          The Mephisto Waltz

          The Fearless Vampire Killers aka Dance of the Vampires

      • tereliz

        Interesting! The logistics of wearing such a mask are problematic for so many reasons, but I don’t find it hard to believe that someone thought it would be great to make a mask that a woman couldn’t speak while she was wearing it. Oy.

    • Sadie-Ann

      Maybe the problem is they’re reflected and far away? It makes the mask edges blend in too much.

    • SugarSnap108

      I was so taken by Mr. Thing I didn’t even look at the background at first. But I totally see what you do. Even though they’re probably masks, it amazes me that no one involved would realize (or care?) how that would read.

    • jif

      Not blackface, in this case. The models are wearing morette – traditional Venetian masks.

    • i just thought mannequins, not black face at all. they are merely blank, nonhuman visages.

    • ventureforth

      Honestly, I think that if viewers have to wonder if it’s blackface, they should have reassessed the look. Maybe it’s a Venetian mask, maybe it’s not – either way, it’s too close for my liking.

    • Daktari100

      Yes, you are overly sensitive. They’re just masks. I’ve never heard anyone accusing David Bowie of being a racist.

      • seelebrennt

        Wow, read thoroughly much? I never said Bowie was a racist.

        • Daktari100

          Express your thoughts clearly much?

  • Jackie4g

    He’s looking pretty firm. He’s looking pretty good, in a menacing kind of way. Ah, Ziggy. So glad you’re here.

  • ChaCha_70

    David…you’ll always be my main man. So suave and debonair. I love you so.

  • formerlyAnon

    David Bowie.
    *swoon, pine, sigh*

    He’s aging . . . too well? if that makes sense. He is a handsomer older man than he was a young man, and it’s not entirely natural and he’s lost some (not all) of the edge that (for me) was a lot of his appeal. (ETA: it occurs to me I might not have this complaint if I saw him first thing in the morning rather than prepped for a public appearance or film or photo shoot. If only I could. For RESEARCH.)

    Nonetheless. At this point my reaction to him is Pavlovian. Watch:

    David Bowie.
    *swoon, pine, sigh.*

    • fursa_saida

      Right? The only thing I could think of to type–and I tried to thing of something else several times–was, “I’m crying. Bury me at sea.”

  • StellaZafella

    From Ziggy Stardust to The Gentleman in White, a certain creepy elegance has always been his forte. Ga’bless’im I still have the Hunger.

  • The dreamiest of the dreamy. He was my high school locker pin up.

  • JasmineAM

    This certainly makes up for having to see a Kardashian and a Hilton today.

  • TheBoo Stress

    <3 <3 <3

  • Froggae

    Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at “David Bowie.”

  • Ashleigh

    I’m sorry, but FUCK YEAH!!!!

    • Fannie Wolston

      Fierce as Fuck!

  • MilaXX

    Meh, I love Bowie, but this doesn’t grab me.

  • Imasewsure

    And THIS will make me check out Louis Vuitton for the first time in years so good job LV. I even noticed the gorgeous scarf DB was wearing so bravo to him too for selling their wares (while also selling his overwhelming awesomeness)

  • Andrew Tidd

    FemBots …people…

  • KateShouldBeWorking

    I want to both do him and be him.

    • Rand Ortega

      True ‘dat!

  • King Gareth/Bowie/It’s Sausage Thursday now as far as I’m concerned. <3

  • alyce1213

    I love what he’s wearing.
    Quite the evolution from Ziggy Stardust. Oh David, when did we get so old? Which is not to say he’s not still, maybe even more, attractive. (And so am I.)

    • formerlyAnon

      As I said in my comment, I find the images of him a little *too* attractive (though still effing amazing.) I’ve always thought he was damn pretty and darn sexy and a-variable-distance-from-creepy/hot, but never *handsome* until some point about a decade ago. [I’ve said it before, but it started with getting his teeth fixed.]

      Though as I also commented, I bet he gets back some of that sexy edge when he’s not all prepped and lit and probably photoshopped.

  • Sarah

    AAAh so cool… the random radio station (we play everything!) busted out Space Oddity on the way to work today, and I’ve had Bowie on my mind for the last several hours. Of course, that means the zeitgeist produced him. He is omniscient and all-powerful.

    • Munchkn

      That’s cool that they played Space Oddity today. And damn! I forgot to listen to WNCW today when they’ll play Halloween songs all day long. Off to listen online…

      • Loramir

        I miss WNCW! It’s such a unique station! I discovered a lot of cool music from them. Sadly I’ve moved away and now all we have is “oldies” stations playing 80s music and awful top 40 stations. I’ll have to check them out online too.

  • Eric Stott

    That is faintly disturbing…

    • Swiftlytiltingplanet

      In a totally good way.

  • I’m always torn. Which eye do I look at? Love David Bowie. He still looks fine!

  • desertsweetpea

    Does the cold of deep space

    Make your nipples go pointy, Bowie?

    Do you use your pointy nipples as telescopic antennae

    To transmit data back to Earth?

    I betcha do, you freaky old bastard you.

    • Sarah


  • oyeyemi808

    models in semi blackface.

  • bertkeeter

    LUV Bowie. Sorry to see him in this type of status-commercial setting!

  • e jerry powell

    The Thin White Duke is back, bitches!

  • Tanya Wade

    It’s a little Eyes Wide Shut, but he looks good enough to sop up with a biscuit.

  • Trickytrisha

    He’s obviously a little photoshopped, but his aging-with grace is very much in evidence here. He looks aristocratic, suave and oh-so-elegant.

    About the masks on the models – usually I’m all over any insensitive racial or ethnic references, but this to me is so obviously European Masquerade in styling and intention that blackface didn’t occur to me. Bowie’s holding a mask as well. If the masks had been on sticks it might not have been an issue for some, but who knows?

    L’Invitation au Voyage is a lovely theme for an ad campaign and happens to be my favorite song by Henri Duparc.

  • Lisa M. (ReVoir) Kramp

    Ahhh, yes. The Return of the Thin White Duke. There’s a face that will launch a thousand product lines. The man has always known how to bring the drama.

    • formerlyAnon

      And since he grew up/got a handle on substance abuse/whatever *actually* defines that turning point he seems to have been a pretty savvy businessman.

  • Jake Donohoe

    As he ages I think he is starting to look like David Byrne. Everytime I see a picture of Bowie, I just go stupid and kind of stare at it waiting for the glass ball to swoosh by,

  • editrixie

    The name of the campaign made me smile — one of my favorite movies ever was an ’80s French drama called Invitation au Voyage, about fraternal twins in an incestuous relationship, and when the girl dies, the boy puts her body in a cello case and takes her on the trip they were planning to go on before she died. I know, I know, I’m a sicko, but I loved it.

  • quiltrx

    I’m sure there’s something other than Bowie in this picture, but I’ll be damned if I can see it. 🙂

  • ground control to major tom……

  • TLJezebel

    I’m sorry. What is he selling?

  • Anplica Fiore

    You remind me of the babe…

  • tixilyttik

    Leave it to Bowie to make aging beautiful. Bravo.

  • tixilyttik

    Okay. Black on a face is not always “blackface”. It’s not meant to be and it’s not. It’s like people think they have the sixth sense only for spotting blackface and hidden racism. It’s Just not.

    • demidaemon

      My thoughts exactly. Blackface is usually done as full make-up. You can’t see the contrast between the wearer’s original skin color and the make-up. Here, there is a clear contrast; therefore, it is a mask. Let’s all calm down and put down the pitchforks and torches for a hot minute and think before getting all up in arms.

  • Damn, I didn’t need to see Androgynous Hunger Sex God looking so fucking old.

  • Danielle

    Aging like a fine fuckin’ wine.

  • fumemore

    I wonder how hard or expensive it is for him to look like that at his age?

    • Michelle Gennari

      True… but it’s done in such a way that he still looks his age and doesn’t look… pulled. Just like Jane Fonda – a tweak here and there keeps you looking great!

      • fumemore

        Fonda looks like she’s been extruded by a plstic moulding machine. But Bowie looks almost natural.

  • Michelle Gennari

    He looks great!

  • Derek_anny

    ooh, cross promotion for his new video. What with the masks and all.

  • MannahattaMamma

    all the whippersnappers in what passes for rock-n-roll these days should bow down before Bowie.

  • Colin

    LV is going through a re-branding phase, shifting away from the mass-market, to exclusive luxury consumers (extremely wealthy european and asian luxury consumers). Knowing that, depicting blackface and pleading ignorance seems so pathetic to me. Regardless of if a global enterprise can even pretend like they’re unaware blackface’s cultural baggage, its clear they don’t need to care because all that blackface is excluding is black women who they aren’t marketing to anyway. On top of that, this plays into their desired new exclusivity too well to be an accident, “our design and image are so detached from the mass-market, we totally didn’t know blackface was offensive!” What’s sad is LV benefits even if this campaign stirs controversy. Bad press for the mass market maybe, but a re-affirmation of the highly exclusive, wealthy, european lifestyle, to the rich white women LV is more concerned about.

  • VicD

    Bow the F*** Down, mere mortals.

  • Daetwan Williams

    I think it’s a bold move by Louis Vuitton. Here’s what I see, and it’s only my opinion. I think David Bowie is looking at the models in blackface in disgust. That’s why he takes off his mask and stares at them. I think he’s noticing their offensiveness. Again, just my opinion though.