YAYOI KUSAMA FOR LOUIS VUITTON
By Roisin Breen
High priestess of an art total, hypnotic and colorful, the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is globally renowned for her avant-garde works. Faithful to her signature for years, she repeats her motifs ad infinitum, completely invading the space.
After a difficult start in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Yayoi Kusama has continued to transform her life with magic and determination. In the 1950s and 1960s, she unleashed the power of her art, adventuring around the world from Tokyo to New York. Through her works, the artist lets her vision of the infinite shine through. After what appeared to be a break with the outside world, she returned to Japan in the 1970s. Yayoi Kusama has established herself as a major global artist of the 21st century, and probably the most famous living female artist.
The relationship between Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama was born in 2012 and continues ten years later, evolving and expanding with a brand new collaboration. Artistic exchanges are rooted in the history of the House. This long tradition dates back nearly a century, when Gaston-Louis Vuitton, grandson of the founder and family aesthete, decided to commission artists to create window displays and works for Louis Vuitton stores. Since 1988, the company has invited several great names in art and design, including Sol LeWitt, Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons, to collaborate. In this project, Yayoi Kusama’s signature objects, motifs, and representations of infinity take over the House and all of its product categories: from leather goods to men’s ready-to-wear, women’s fashion, sunglasses, perfumes, shoes and accessories. In turn, some of Louis Vuitton’s iconic pieces evolve, fitting equally into the House’s universe and the magical world of Yayoi Kusama.
In 2012, Yayoi Kusama appropriated one of Louis Vuitton’s most timeless, magical objects: a Louis Vuitton trunk, on which she had hand-painted her iconic polka dots. Polka dots that, in her eyes, embody infinity. This new collaboration delivers an exact replica of these dots, extensions of Yayoi Kusama’s hand. A challenge for the House, demonstrating the excellence of its know-how. Each of these peas – like the many and varied other objects in the project – was supervised by Kusama herself, laid out with precision, down to the millimeter; each brushstroke was suggested with a disturbing level of detail, to faithfully retranscribe its texture and thickness. Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama are in full agreement in this quest for infinity through the artisanal gesture. Both are committed to designing iconic objects that transcend space and time, and both recognize each other in this approach. Objects that combine high quality craftsmanship and emotion; that are part of the history of those who own them and of future generations – towards infinity.
Exuberant and complex, these collections encompass both the men’s and women’s worlds, including ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, accessories, luggage, trunks and fragrances. Divided into two parts, they each follow distinct thematic directions according to Yayoi Kusama’s motifs and motivations. Wave 1 was unveiled on January 1, 2023 in China and Japan, and on January 6 in the rest of the world. Wave 2 will be available in Louis Vuitton stores beginning March 31, 2023.