Whenever Yayoi Kusama collaborates with Louis Vuitton, sparks fly. The Japanese artist has once again brought her influential designs to the legendary house, offering another chapter in an ongoing creative partnership.
The artist first brought her magic to the fashion house in 2012, when Marc Jacobs was at the helm; now, over a decade later, the relationship has evolved into another show-stopping mashup.
Often revered as one of the most successful female artists of all time, Kusama’s work is distinctly recognizable. During the mid-20th century, she was a major fixture in New York’s avant-garde scene and counterculture movement, where she made her mark with her colourful exploration of the infinite. Today, her exhibitions still sell out in museums around the world and her work is embraced by the modern Instagram aesthetic.
It’s no surprise that Louis Vuitton is drawn to working with Kusama—the maison has a long tradition of partnering with world-renowned artists, including Jeff Koons and fellow Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. The brand knows the value of infusing contemporary visuals into their legendary savoir faire.
The first drop of this latest collaboration made waves when it was released on January 6th of this year, featuring nods to her most iconic work, including her signature polka dots—a motif she has continuously returned to since she was 10 years old. Using an innovative screen-printing technique, each dot featured on the ready-to-wear items and accessories in this collection replicates the 3D texture of her hand-painted brush strokes, with options available for both men and women.
Metal bulbs decorate the collection’s Twist bags in reference to Kusama’s iconic “Narcissus Garden” exhibition, where 1,500 mirrored orbs covered the floor of the 1966 Venice Biennale. This first drop was defined by her ongoing fascination with infinity, as represented by the circular shapes.
The second drop expands on this, bringing Kusama’s whimsical pumpkins to life in the form of handbags and painted emblems. Her colourful flowers and star-face designs decorate jeans and miniskirts, bringing to life the hippie era that originally defined her work. Overall, this collaboration infuses an almost childlike joy into traditional Louis Vuitton designs—even the maison’s iconic Monogram luggage gets a polka-dotted makeover.
But what really sets the collaboration apart from other collections is the campaign as a whole—transforming Louis Vuitton stores into an extension of the artist’s famed Infinity Mirror Room exhibitions, further spilling out into the world. Jarringly giant inflatable replicas of Kusama herself were seen on the roof of Louis Vuitton’s Champs-Élysées store and within the Tokyo location. Fans can adorn famous landmarks around the world with her colourful dots using augmented reality and Instagram filters. Interactive video games featuring her work are available to download on any smartphone. Through this collaboration, the world is transformed into Kusama’s canvas—and perhaps this has always been Kusama’s goal.
“I am determined to create a Kusama world, which no one has ever done or trodden into,” said Kusama.
View the gallery to shop our favourite Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama pieces.