Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse Scarves: History & Spotting Fakes

History
S/S 2001: The first colaborative collection between Stephen Sprouse and Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton was revealed.


The story of Marc Jacobs, Stephen Sprouse, and Louis Vuitton began in the late ’90s, when Jacobs found himself thinking about Marcel Duchamp, the French artist who once sullied an image of the Mona Lisa with a funny little beard and mustache and called it L.H.O.O.Q., which, if you say the letters fast in French, roughly translates to “she has a hot ass.”
“It’s about taking something that’s very iconic and revered and defacing it and creating something new, somewhat rebellious, and kind of punk,” Jacobs explains. “Cut from Marcel Duchamp to me going to see Charlotte Gainsbourg’s apartment,” he continues. “She had, by the side of her bed, a Louis Vuitton trunk that had been painted black by her father, and the Monogram was sort of peeking through.”
Suddenly it was very clear what Jacobs needed to do. He needed to deface the revered and iconic Monogram canvas, and he needed to do it in a way that was modern enough to attract a new customer to the big old French brand. To do this, he reasoned, he needed Stephen Sprouse.
Sprouse was one of the first high-fashion designers in the ’80s to make clothes that were painstakingly constructed, as well as hip and young and cool. A mantle, perhaps, inherited by Jacobs himself? “God, I can’t say that,” Jacobs says, still clearly in awe of his late friend. “I mean, you could say that, but I never could.”
The parallels are difficult to ignore: “He had this desire to take what he saw in the streets and elevate it,” Jacobs says of Sprouse. “He was using all this stuff that was so costly, really beautiful materials, and he was doing it all so beautifully. There are so many people who try to affect a street style, but it doesn’t have the integrity. Stephen’s work was so stylistic, and it had street cred. You can’t calculate that. You have it or you don’t, and Stephen did.”
It took some time for Jacobs to convince the Vuitton powers that be that scrawling all over their time-tested bags was a good idea, but Vuitton did, eventually, come around, and Sprouse came to Paris. The rest, of course, is It-bag history. “They thought the bags would be for the show,” Jacobs says, “or for editorial.” But as names on wait lists piled up, the bags were produced. And Jacobs was a genius.
Vuitton did reach a new customer ÔÇö $300 million worth of them, Jacobs has said ÔÇö and has continued to do so through similar partnerships with artists like Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince. Each of these bags has been a triumph. They have been shown ÔÇö and sold! ÔÇö in fine-art museums.

Jacobs doesn’t live in a vacuum: He knows that these luxurious, spirited bags will hit the market at a touchy economic time for conspicuous consumption. But he shakes it off. “Retail therapy,” he says, offering his leg up to the silk-screen artist. “It seems to work. It’s not the longest-lasting therapy in the world, but it does its job. I’m not pretending to cure the nation’s economy, but we do what we do, and if people enjoy it, even better.”

Stephen Sprouse died in 2004 at the too-young age of 50.

F/W 06/07: Marc Jacobs made his first tribute to Sprouse by using a leopard print design they had devised together.

It is this print which launched the worldwide phenomena that was to become the LV leo scarf.

S/S 2009: Saw the launch of the latest tribute collection ‘roses’

“It’s an homage,” Jacobs says of the new collection, which features clothing, bags, and other accessories. It’s a limited release, timed to coincide with the opening of a Sprouse retrospective at Deitch Projects this month in New York and the publication of Rizzoli’s The Stephen Sprouse Book. “Stephen was one of the first people to deliberately eliminate the boundaries between fashion, art, music, and design,” says gallerist Jeffrey Deitch. It was Deitch who approached Jacobs and Vuitton with the idea for the collection. “And product,” he says, “is a great way to get a message across.”

Combating Counterfeits
Louis Vuitton is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol. Only a small fraction of products bearing the LV initials in the general population are authentic. Ironically, the signature Monogram Canvas was created to prevent counterfeiting. In 2004, Louis Vuitton fakes accounted for 18% of counterfeit accessories seized in the EU.
The company takes counterfeiting seriously, and employs a team of lawyers and special investigation agencies, actively pursuing offenders through the courts worldwide, and allocating about half of its budget of communications to counteract piracy of its goods. LVMH (Vuitton’s parent company) further confirmed this by stating that “some 60 people at various levels of responsibility working full time on anti-counterfeiting in collaboration with a wide network of outside investigators and a team of lawyers.” In a further effort, the company closely controls the distribution of its products.Until the 1980s, Vuitton products were widely sold in department stores (e.g. Neiman Marcuss and Saks Fifth Avenue). Today, Vuitton products are primarily available at authentic Louis Vuitton boutiques, with a small number of exceptions. These boutiques are commonly found in upscale shopping districts or inside luxury department stores. The boutiques within department stores operate independently from the department and have their own LV managers and employees. LV has recently launched an online store, through its main website, as an authorized channel to market its products.

Unfortunately they are not doing enough! Ebay is awash with counterfeit scarves and I have seen people paying more for a fake than a genuine LV would cost in store! So here are some tips that may help you out.

Genuine Louis Vuitton Scarves

Marron Leopard



Leopard Print:
note the size and spacing of the graffiti print, the wording on the label and how it is attached with two simple stitches. The scarf will come in a matt black dust bag with pink lettering. Some scarves will come in a box others a carrier. The lettering on the carrier/ box should say ‘Louis Vuitton’ in basic soft, rounded text. A receipt will be produced on cream thick paper and printed with brown ink.

Blue Nuit Leopard



Graffiti Roses in Orange

Note that the graffiti print is a lot smaller than on the leopard, and that this design ONLY comes in orange and pink. The colours of which are highly fluorescent.
Counterfeit LV scarves

Fakes often come in colour schemes that were never available at LV such as this purple on purple.

Fakes often have card tags attached with plastic and these little yellow cards, the dust bags are often shiny in a satin-like material.
Original LV scarves do not come with authenticity cards.

Look at the carrier bag, it should not have the LV logo like this nor the text in that format.


See how the label is machine stitched, originals should only have two hand stitches. All original scarves will have a label.

Here the box has the incorrect branding and the graffiti print is too large for this style scarf.
But, some of the newer fakes look very much like the real thing, check the position of the LV grafitti across the bottom, it should be clost to the edge not 6″ up the scarf, there should be no tags with plastic.

Also it is hard to resist a bargain but if you are paying less than ┬ú350 for a leo, ┬ú400 for a rose leo or ┬ú550 for a blue nuit you probably are buying a fake. For a genuine blue nuit ┬ú700-1000 is the current auction price depending on condition, for a grey or monograoflage ┬ú1000 as these are the rarest. If you want a brown leo just go buy it from LV as these are now a classic piece and ┬ú460 – I have seen fakes sell for pretty close to this, so ask yourself is it worth it!
I hope these tips can help you, but if you have been sold a fake contact your local Trading Standards agency (in UK). They will do their best to get you your money back, and every report helps combat illegal activity.
If you have any of your own tips do let me know so we can build up this page and help stop people getting ripped of!
Pearl
(Sources: Harpers bazaar, Times online, welovesprouse.com, wikipedia)
UPDATE: Please be aware I have now seen two eBayer’s tagging this post to ‘prove’ their scarf is genuine, when it is actually a fake! If you are buying on ebay please read the post very carefully and be suspicious of scarves without labels, dust bags or receipts, and those without very clear photos. Also take into account that you can buy a brand new brown leo for ┬ú460, the other colours and styles were limited edition and will now sell for around ┬ú700 to over ┬ú1000. If the price is significantly cheaper you really need to consider why anyone would sell if for such a low price?
Of course I am sure there are some people out there selling scarves they truly believe to be genuine and are totally unaware that they are fake, maybe it was a gift. So if you do end up with a fake, keep communication amicable. If they refuse to refund get right on to paypal, ebay and trading standards. Selling counterfeit goods is illegal and no one should have to be ripped off. It is about time these governing bodies stood up and started to protect buyers more.

You can now download my FREE eBook ‘A Guide to Spotting Counterfeits: including Chanel 2.55, Louis Vuitton scarves and Vivienne Westwood Pirate & clothes’ HERE

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76 thoughts on “Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse Scarves: History & Spotting Fakes

  1. My fave is the blue nuit option!

    P.S.: ÔÖÑPlease don't forget to join the Gemmerson giveaway!ÔÖÑ

    Good luck!

    ÔÖÑ

  2. I love those scarves so much. Mmm if I could have one I really would, I've been admiring them for years.

    Florrie x

    Ooh yes, I gave you an award yesterday over at the blog. =) At around 11 o clock at night which is why I'm telling you today 😀

  3. Excellent lesson Dr. Pearl! It's so easy to fall for fakes or even to be lured into buying one because of the price tag but it's really not worth it.

  4. love those scarfs. such a shame that people have made so many fakes… but such good advice on how to spot them would always buy from a proper LV shop. lovely post. xx

  5. Peekaboo to you!

    Oh yeees, I truly adore and collect these scarves, too. I even didn┬┤t know that there were already fakes!
    You did a great job with all your photos and already provided all "good advices"!!! I just realized that I lost 2 of the labels when you carry the scarf very often.

    Have a beautiful day ahead!

  6. So glad my husband gave me the receipt with my Leopard print one on Xmas Day! I had wanted one since they first launched but were always out of stock. I would never buy a LV item from Ebay. Great Post. Are all those scarves yours?

  7. @Looking Fab in your forties- only the brown and orange are mine, the blue nuit is my mums, I would love a full collection though! All the fakes photos are currently on ebay, out of a whole page I could only see two genuine ones!

    @The Little fashion Treasury- I am really bad actually as I have a weird thing that I hate lables so always cut them off, LV aren't to bad as they are quite small but McQueen are huge, I cant stand it!

    I was never too bothered over these scarves until I tried my mums and now I couldnt cope with out one, they really are the perfect length and weight, I haven't come across any thing remotely close!

  8. the LV Leo scarf?! I had no idea! i love it in the regular leopard nude/brown!
    it really is too bad about all of the fakes out there, but luckily they are somewhat easy to spot if you know what luxury looks like. i spot fake purses all of the time!
    xoxo alison

  9. amazing article! i find this very well-written and acknowledging. thanks for the quick review about marc jacobs as lv's designer, and his collaborations. i couldn't agree more that the sprouse collab is awesome. marc's such a daring person, and he's not afraid of trying new things. no wonder he's such an icon!

    useful tips on combating counterfeits, too. thanks for sharing!

  10. Ah I saw this lovely man at Louis buy that leo scarf for his wife and thought how sweet. Also I love all that information on Jacobs and Sprouse, it does make me warm up to Jacobs now that I know his crazy idea was founded on true art
    brilliant blog x

  11. Great article. I have been searching for either roses or leopard scarf. I see the roses scarf came out in jan/feb 2009, can not find definitive answer on leo though. Are there only 2 colours for the leo as for the roses?

  12. The coloured Leo's came out around August last year in bleu nuit and rose, before this the have been produced in red, purple and grey, with some very rare for celebs etc in black, that I know of. Only the traditional brown leo is currently a classic piece and available to buy, all others were limited edition. Hope that helps

  13. Perhaps best to go to shop for leo then! Thanks for that. Other thing I have noticed is the number on the back of the labels pictured on e bay are the same on many occasions even though the designs are diff. Is that normal or another way of telling real or fake? Thanks again, keep up the good work.

  14. There is a huge LV counterfeit ring working on ebay and as long ebay get their money they are not that bothered who gets ripped off!

  15. I am so glad I came across this just now! I almost bought a grey one of these on ebay the other week, after finally kidding myself it was genuine. As Paypal was acting up for me that night, I reluctantly let it go and she sold to someone else. Now she's got a bleu nuit one for sale and according to your blog it is one big fake. Phew! So glad Paypal was being a pain in the ass that day now! I'm not paying more than LV charge for something that isn't even real. Thank you!

  16. @Anonymous – I am so glad I wrote this post, I've had a number of people having the same problem. Best thing to do is report it to ebay – I formally wrote to them and all they said was to contact LV! But at least they will review per item reported, maybe if we all keep reporting something will be done about it eventually, Pearl x

  17. Woah I just checked ebay and the fakes are getting a lot more convincing so I have added a few more photos. Personally without the box, dust bag and receipt as shown above I wouldn't risk it. Please dont hesitate to ask me if you have any more concerns.

    Regarding the numbers on the tags both of my leopards have the number 413287. I don't know what that stands for, I know LV bags have the production date etc – will try and find out!

  18. Thanks, Pearl, you have saved me a lot of money! I'd sooo love the Bleu Nuit and I have seen another one on Ebay that looks questionable, even though they insist it's genuine. I'll see if the Marron is still available on the LV website. It seems the only way! x

  19. No problem, Id definately go from the brown and be on the safe side! I love my brown the best. I had a look on ebay and wasnt convinced – if the photos are too blurred and there is not a receipt I would give it a miss. x

  20. I'm spotting more fakes on Ebay all the time. What annoys me is that the sellers ALWAYS refer to them as 'authentic', which they are clearly not. If they'd only say they were selling a copy! If I buy one that turns out to be fake once I receive it, that person is not going to get a good rating from me if they were pushing it as an 'authentic' item. I know some people are happy to buy copies, but not pay hundreds for them.

  21. If you do end up getting tricked into buying a fake on ebay and the seller wont give you a refund, there are 3 things you can do, report it to ebay, report it to paypal and report it to your local trading standards. What they have done is illegal and you can get your money back. I got cheated with a fake Chanel, they had photos of a genuine bag but send me a fake. This is what I did and trading standards were a fantastic help as were ebay, paypal on the other hand were useless but I got all my money back in the end it just took a very stressful 3 months.
    All sellers have to say the item is authentic even if it is a fake, otherwise ebay will pull their listing.
    My advise is dont buy LV off ebay unless you can tell 100% it is genuine. I have even seen fakes being sold with receipts so be VERY CAREFUL! x

  22. Just come across this and I am really grateful to you! It is amazing how many people are still getting away with it. A lady I know paid a lot of money for what she thought was a genuine Birkin and it turned out to be a fake. Cue lots of police activity and the sellers were ordered to send her a real Birkin, or the thousands it would cost to buy one. Result! :)

  23. Oh my god, I have just seen a website called beubag BLATENTLY selling fake LV.
    I am so sick and tired of being out and about with my gorgeous bags and then some skanky teenager in a tracksuit walks past me carrying the "same" bag. Whay doesnt LV take more action against this!!

  24. @ Anon – I know it is disgusting that there are websites selling all kinds of fakes from LV, Chanel even Louboutin shoes. I just don't know how this is legal!

  25. @ Karen – wow that is quite a story I guess she had the money to be able to sue the sellers, I guess that was in the US? I am sure that would never get past the small claims court if that over here unfortunatley.

  26. Hi Pearl. The fake Birkin story I believe was in the UK. The girl in question was so livid at having been sold a fake bag when the photo on eBay was of a genuine one that she probably used every contact she had to track down the sellers, who were running quite a big operation. I think she's well connected but it is heartening to know that the authorities did something about it.

    @ Midwife, I agree that if LV are so sharp on clamping down on counterfeits then I don't see why they don't trawl eBay every day when it's so easy to do so! Thanks to this blog I have spotted loads of blatant fakes on there and also recognised that some sellers have multiple accounts. I'm just hitting the report button each time I see one, because I'm sick of seeing people getting ripped off.

  27. Hi All this is very interesting – but if people want to buy these type of fakes, which will give them some pleasure – for a fraction of the silly prices these brand=owners demand – then why not? GET REAL!! Do you honestly think that people who buy them on bid sites really think that they are buying the real thing? Yes, they may originally come from Asian child labour, to fuel drug barons etc.., but there is a worldwide market for them so they give people in a chain some form of livelihood. So, Pearl why don't you devote your time & energy to some good causes – like charity work – instead of wasting it on silly consumer fashion desireables which is only a spit in the ocean in this difficult times?

  28. @Anonymous, thanks for making us laugh!
    You just said it yourself that yes ALL counterfeit goods are related to child labour and other horrendous industries, do you really think that in any way, shape of form they should appreciate 'some form of livelihood'! There are many people, whom you will see if you care to read the above comments, that have been ripped off on auction sites, so if I can help them I certainly will. I take it by your comment you dedicate your entire life to chairty then? Do you know me? Obviously not, so you know nothing of what I do with my time. I suggest you pop off and do some charity work, rather than bore us with your ignorant comments.
    Oh and since I am on a rant, if people work hard and want to treat themselves to luxury goods why shouldn't they. As you say times are difficult and depressing, sometimes it is the little things that matter, material or not. I suggest you go buy yourself one, it might cheer you up!

  29. Hey anon why are you even reading about LV scarves if you thing it is sooo materialistic??
    Pearl helps a lot of people.

  30. The fashion industry does a lot for charity, those who criticise fashion dont understand fashion

  31. I agree with Anon – Pearl: you and your followers have nothing better to do except worry about whether a piece if material or a bag is "real' or not and whether people who have hundred of pounds to spend are getting ripped off or not.

  32. @Linda – so why are you reading my fashion blog?!?!?

    Also the people getting ripped off are not those with hundereds of pounds to spend (if they did they would buy it straight from the store), but less wealthy people who would like a bit of luxury in their life and choose to spend their hard earned cash on it.

  33. Makes me wonder if Linda and Anon are sellers of fakes. You must be famous now Pearl if you are getting haters, Sam x

  34. Linda, I think you and Anon are taking us all way too serious, Fashion is a an interest, a hobby, for some its a love, a vocation a profession, we all have our interests in life wether it be sport, the theatre, health and fitness, art e.t.c. Just because some people enjoy a fashion blog, that doesnt make them shallow or people who "have nothing better to do" Lets keep things positive and enjoy Pearls Blog for what it is, if you have no interest in a fashion blog, you can find a different blog to look at.

  35. Has anyone any thoughts that maybe these Leos could be becoming as unfashionable and as undesirable as the Burberry check became years ago? I've been noticing that ÔÇÿeveryoneÔÇÖ, certainly in London, has been wearing these type of scarves/shawls, if not actual LVs, then copiesÔǪ. Are they now ÔÇÿoverÔÇÖ?

  36. @-Anonymous, Interesting comment especially as now Burberry check has become de rigeur again. I did get a bit tired of seeing people wearing the same scarf but then it really is a rare occurence as they are still pretty exclusive. As for seeing lots of people wearing fakes, I really think they looks so bad they just arent comparable. I am still as thrilled with my Leo ever time I pull it out of its dust bag as the day I bought it, not to mention how practical it is!
    Would like to hear more thoughs on this !

  37. @Mary – you comment has been removed due to the link to the website you added. This blog does not condone counterfeits.

  38. Hi
    maybe something to add to help out identify an authentic scarf versus a fake: label attached with 2 hand-stitches should be in a light-gold letter NOT orange.

  39. Hi Pearl,

    Does the Stephen Sprouse Rose Graffiti scarf exist in White? Or does it only come in Pink and orange?

  40. Thanks Pearl,

    Just to say, you have saved many people from wasting their money on counterfeit (posing as authentic)products!!

    Your blog is so helpful! many thanks..

  41. Hi
    Thank you so much for your site. I also took a look at E Bay and cant believe how many of these scarves are on there. Your tips are really helpfull, I saved hard to buy my original Neverfull and boy it was so worth it. Now saving for my scarf.Thank you

    Frances

  42. thanks for the advice, was just about to buy a scarf on ebay with a receipt,dont need the hassle ,as its onlyy £100 cheaper than the store.much better off spending that extra £100. and at least when i come to sell it if i do i can provide a receipt and i will be selling a genuine scarf not a fake!

  43. After reading your article, I decided to purchase a leopard scarf from LV in Oslo. And so I did, I am a happy owner now :-) It is beautiful! That said, I have been looking at what they sell on ebay, and I am just shocked what people pay for those cheap copies. I wish there was something to be done about that… Thanks again for your advices.
    Best regards from Norway.

    • I am so glad to hear you got your scarf. Yes it really makes me sad that people are being tricked into paying hundreds of pounds for fakes on Ebay. I used to report them when I saw them but they now go on there so often it would end up a full time job! There really should be someone from LV monitoring it but all they say is that people should only shop at LV boutiques, so it is their own fault!

      • Thanks for your respond. I had to laugh because the other day I got really upset about a listing and emailed the seller and asked if she knew it was a fake scarf. She said she believed it was genuin, that it was an unwanted gift and so on. BUT today she had removed it. So something good came out of it. If she does not relist it in a couple of days, you never know. Anyway, it made me feel I did something good and I might do it again even though it is not my job.

        • I never email sellers, just go on the ‘report listing’ option, as I have found you usually get abuse from people as they know very well it is fake, or they do not care. They seem to think saying it was a gift gets them out of having to prove it is genuine. Well done to you though that is great. I look through so many designers when I go on ebay it is the same with them all Vivienne Westwood is 90% especially the jewellery and bags.

  44. I have a question did Louis Vuitton make a scarf with the logo in bright colors like red, yellow, blue with characters that look like laughting panda bears, and a space figure, the XL has flowers on top and maybe a hands on the bottom. It is a wht scarve with a red boarder signed Louis Vuitton Paris.
    Thanks for any information

  45. Hi there, do all Leopard scarfs should have a serial number? I have seen one of limited addition where doesnt have number and its 100% wool. Are any real ones with 100% wool? Thanks Sally

    • I can’t say for sure however I wouldn’t base whether a scarf is fake or not just on that, you need to look at all the details. All the leopard stoles are cashmere / silk mix that I know of, though they do make other scarves in wool.

  46. Hi Pearl

    I really want to get the louis vuitton leopard stole in brown, it is now £495 on the louis vuitton website do you think its worth me getting it? and what are the different collections why are some more expensive?

    I love it but a lot of friends and family think its a waste of money, i thought i read somewhere that it was £378 back in 2008.

    thanks jas x

    • Hey Jas, The scarf has increased in price over the years just due to inflation. Some of the scarves such as the ‘Disco’ which had metallic threads in it was priced dearer though. Personally I get so much wear out of my stole that it is worth it for me, I guess it depends how often you think you might wear it. I tend not to care what other people think and shop for myself. If you wanted a budget option Jaeger do beautiful leopard stoles in a range of colours which I am a fan of, hope that helps, P x

  47. Hi there,
    I am in love with the fushia pink rose louis vuitton scarf, I saw it in loads of magazines and straight away i fell in love.
    My partner has been on a mission to find me one however they seem to be alot more expensive than i thought.
    We have seen one in a local vintage designer shop but on the tag it says 100% wool, will this be genuine as i thought they were made out of cashmere and silk.
    If not do you know where i can purchase one, i cannot find one on the louis vuitton website is this because they no longer make them or something?
    Thanks Kate

    • Hi Kate,
      Yes you are right they are cashmere and silk not wool so I doubt that is genuine. They were only made in a limited edition so won’t appear on the website. Genuine ones are very hard to get hold of and go for around ┬ú700-1,000 now as they are so rare. It would be extremely hard to get one now I’m afraid xx

  48. Do you know about the vintage scarf that made in the 90’s? Do the label sew into the scarf? Do they have the data code?

  49. Hi! I just wanted to know whether LV does 100% silk monogram with luggage pictures on a scarf? The label says ‘Made in Paris’ is this a fake?
    Thanks in advance!

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