Marc Jacobs, currently at the design helm for Louis Vuitton, has made a smart move in breathing new life into the label commonly associated with ladies who lunch. Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama, is the creative engagement between two brilliant minds, with Maison Vuitton commissioning the artistic whimsy of the pioneering Japanese street artist, poet and fashion designer Yayoi Kusama. At first blush it is an unlikely pairing, though it is pregnant with surprises, as we are becoming increasingly convinced that the intersection of French and Japanese design negotiates decadence with simplicity. Jacobs, already an avid collector of her artwork, was enthralled with Kusama, and despite their generational difference, the collaboration shares an obsession with craftsmanship and passion.
Kusama’s fixation on the round and repetitive would culminate in her title of “Princess of the Polka Dots”, as she established an artistic presence in New York City during the Sixties as an avant-garde figure. Her aesthetic is best known for covering everything in sight with polka dots (a horse, a sofa, or a person for instance), an endless galaxy filled with infinite shapes, with influences that may even be considered in the work of the famously subversive choreographer Michael Clark.
Returning home to Japan in the 1980s, Kusama became a contemporary art icon and continues to live there to this day, commuting between her home in a mental institution and her Tokyo studio. Obsessive and meticulous about her work, Kusama, now in her eighties, dons a bright red wig in the shape of a bob with childlike bangs, and is driven between home and work in a large bus covered in red polka dots. In a mini documentary created by Maison Vuitton to explain the collaboration, Jacobs dovetails Kusama’s love for the infinitely round with the seriality of the ubiquitous LV logo, stating that both express timelessness and endlessness. Kusama, whose body of work may not be familiar with younger audiences or the Louis Vuitton-toting jet set, is now able to relish in an encore of her designs, with Jacobs bringing art to both the catwalk and the sidewalk.
The enduring optimism of Kusama’s use of color and the repetition of the world’s most familiar shape speckles the experimental collection from Louis Vuitton in a vignette worthy of being inducted into our list of the “The Hottest Dance Moves in Fashion“. The collection’s video, The Looks, captures the free-spiritedness of the Sixties as a model shimmies and shakes for the camera, wearing her hair the very same way Yayoi Kusama did during her youth. Various looks are unveiled within each scene, with shift dresses, sunglasses, totes and bangles all spotted with Kusama’s trademark shape. While we will leave it for the artsy and the audacious to wear the collection’s items all together in one outfit, we’re thankful that Jacobs and Kusama have us covered.