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REVIEW

Show stealers

October 28, 2007|Booth Moore

The "Murakami" show at the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art doesn't even open until Monday, but the madness has already started. Not over exhibit or gala tickets, over handbags. The museum's press office has been fielding calls for weeks about the limited-edition Neverfull totes. They go on sale Monday at the Louis Vuitton boutique created as part of the retrospective of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, whose fame skyrocketed when he collaborated with the French luxury goods brand on logo designs incorporating his Superflat style.

The sturdy tote comes in three sizes ($875 to $965) in the traditional Louis Vuitton Damier canvas with natural-colored leather handles. On the side is an oversized "LV" in psychedelic colors, emblazoned with a pair of hands and smiling flowers. This singular image is even more distinctive than the all-over logo and cherry prints the artist created for the luxury goods firm a few years back, elevating this bag even more into the realm of high art.

There are drawstrings on either side of the bag, and a strap that clips across the top to keep belongings safe. The lining is a cheery-pink canvas, and the inside pocket is big enough for a cellphone and BlackBerry. It's a cute knock-around-town-on-a-Saturday bag, though it would be nice if there were feet on the base to keep it from getting dirty.

The same "LV" emblazons a $255 circular coin purse. Too small even for credit cards, it's almost useless unless you just want it as a souvenir.

The best bet may be the agenda, which comes in three styles ($500 to $700), because it features a new Murakami character, Chibi Kinoko, which means "little mushroom," making it a true collector's piece. The calendar pages are replaceable, which means you could use it for years to come .

All of the items are exclusive to the exhibition store and, yes, quantities are limited, though Vuitton won't say how limited. So you'd better get in line.

-- Booth Moore

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