First look: Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collab, launching globally on 6 January 2023
Good news for all Yayoi Kusama fans; luxury brand Louis Vuitton is dotting the fashion world by collaborating with fine artist Yayoi Kusama again for an extensive collection, featuring her recognisable polka dot prints.
The brand is rolling out ready-to-wear, leather goods, accessories and perfumes on 1 January 2023 in Japan and China, which is considered a pre-launch, followed by all Louis Vuitton boutiques worldwide on 6 January.
Kusama is famed for her compulsive repetition of polka dots and bright colours in her works. Since childhood, she's experienced hallucinations and obsessive thoughts and even checked herself into a mental facility, where she learnt to cope with art therapy. Infinity Nets were her first series of large paintings, which alluded to her hallucinatory visions. In the year 2008, auction house Christie's sold one of her works for US$5.1 million, which set a high benchmark for a living female artist.
Louis Vuitton's first successful collaboration with Kusama began in 2012, and the conversations never ended – 10 years after, it evolved and expanded and we're ready to see the new collection with distinct thematic directions reflecting Kusama's motifs and motivations.
What you can expect
The motif of Painted Dots is where this project has its roots and here, they are a direct translation of Kusama’s hand through a complex serigraphy technique and embossed printing on leather or iconic coated canvas. Kusama’s motifs have travelled with her for most of her life; she began painting her dots when still a child of ten. Here, a proliferation appears across ready-to-wear, leather goods, accessories, and across fragrances, from a colourful iteration of the dots true to the original artwork to a gradation of black, silver, grey and white specifically for men.
The Metal Dots collection is a glint of the infinite inspired by Kusama’s mirrored orbs, a motif familiar from her Narcissus Garden, shown (unofficially) at the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966. Here, the silver orbs of varying sizes are placed with exacting precision by hand, embedded in women’s black and silver leather goods, encircling a Cannes bag or proliferating on a soft Side Trunk, while featuring as almost a space-age gradient on the elegant Capucines. The proliferation continues as they orbit Academy loafers and are on the counter of Squad hi-tops. They are at their most ‘sixties futuristic’ when applied as a gradient to lamb’s leather garments, such as a silver biker jacket and a sharp silver leather mini dress.
The painted dot morphs into Kusama’s Infinity Dots; the artist’s most recognisable motif. As a collection, one that encompasses most pieces in the project across all categories for both women and men, appeared in both Drop 1 and Drop 2.
Another obsession of Kusama’s exists in her florals; the fleeting beauty of the ephemeral is contrasted with the sense of the eternal and infinite, yet made permanent through her work. Utilising 1993’s somewhat psychedelic Flower painting, an exotic flower unfurls across accessories and ready-to-wear for men and women.
If you cannot wait for the second collection to drop, you may even get your hands on the house's first collection – some new, some worn – on some e-commerce sites.
Louis Vuitton 2012 pre-owned x Yayoi Kusama Infinity Dots bag
Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama 2012 pre-owned Neverful MM tote bag