As luxury powerhouse Louis Vuitton and Queen of Dots Yayoi Kusama unveil their second collection together after ten long years, fashion and art enthusiasts alike rejoice. So, who is Yayoi Kusama and why does her long standing relationship with Louis Vuitton inspire so many?
Kusama’s start to life was not an easy one. Born in 1929 and hailing from Matsumoto, Japan, she was raised within a wealthy but strict family and struggled through a strained relationship with her mother, who regularly confiscated her art supplies and often restricted her from expressing herself through paint. Kusama, as we know, was also plagued with health issues – predominantly psychological – which resulted in her voluntary admission into a Tokyo psychiatric asylum, which has been her sanctuary since 1977. Kusama never wanted pity – she describes her work as ‘art-medicine’, and has produced some of her most famed works from within the walls of the asylum.
Since then, her art has blurred the lines between fashion and art more times than we can count. Counting a 1965 fashion label amongst her achievements, it comes as no surprise that the highly anticipated second collaboration between Kusama and Louis Vuitton has been a long time coming. Since their 2012 partnership, collectors around the world have built an almost cult-like following behind the pieces, with the Marc Jacobs-era collection garnering critical fashion acclaim and archive handbags from the release now selling for thousands of dollars on resale platforms.
So, what do we know about their latest collaboration? After teasing us at their Cruise 2023 show, Louis Vuitton dropped the Steven Meisel-shot campaign, featuring a star-studded cast of models such as Gisele Bündchen, Devon Aoki, and Anok Yai. Now, LV x Yayoi Kusama has given us something tangible. Bold, canary yellow polka-dots plaster the shell of their brand new pop up store in Harajuku, Tokyo like a neverending hail of sunshine. Inside, a colossal, lifelike sculpture of Kusama herself stands poised with a pencil, complete with her signature dotted ensemble, studded shades and candy apple bob. All around, chromatic bubble-like orb installations surround the space, stacked up high to emulate the iconic Louis Vuitton logo. In a world of conformity, the Yayoi Kusama x Louis Vuitton pop-up space takes us away to a nonsensical universe of shapes and shades.
Head to Louis Vuitton’s website and you’ll be given the ability to ‘activate Kusama mode’; flip the switch and their collaboration landing page will plaster itself in kaleidoscopic, painted dots – a brief, but wonderful glimpse into Kusama’s multicoloured, fantastical world. Featuring polka-dot printed handbags, brush-stroked leather goods and psychedelic ready to wear pieces, the highly anticipated collection will be released to the world on January 6th 2023.
If there’s one thing that LV x Yayoi Kusama’s latest collaboration tells us about fashion, it’s that chaos and uniformity can very much live side by side. And in Kusama’s case, when it does, it will always be breathtaking.
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