The iconic Parisian fashion brand Louis Vuitton has collaborated with legendary artist Yayoi Kusama, most recently taking visitors and onlookers aback with a painting robot of Kusama herself in the Paris Champs-Élysées storefront.
First, who is Yayoi Kusama? Kusama, 93, identifies as an obsessional artist and is known as the princess of polka dots. She explores the dichotomy of objects in their ultimate, and sometimes infinite, multiplicity at the hands of her own mindful and excessive creations. New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) acknowledges Kusama as “a vital part of New York’s Avant-Garde art scene from the late 1950s to the early 1970s.” Kusama moved from Japan to New York in 1958, and was inspired by the Abstract Expressionism genre, of which the artists Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Arshile Gorky were famously a part of.
Her stance in avant-garde and antiwar protest are marked by her trademark painted polka dots. The dots derived from a personal obsession from when she had a hallucination as a young girl that while in a field of flowers, they began to talk to her and looked like dots, even covering her own hands in the pattern. She believes that dots are the vehicle to infinity, and that they are a speculation towards the cosmos as she calls our earth “just one big dot.” Kusama’s fascination with human and environmental fluidity is marked by her infinity mirrors and repetitive object artistry style.
In 2012, Louis Vuitton launched its first collaboration with Kusama, and they have been working together since, with various collection releases with the trademark polka dots across various clothing pieces and accessories. Louis Vuitton stores such as Selfridges, transformed into indoor-concept installation works, which were made up of Kusama’s infinity mirrors of dots, and in the windows, a realistic robot of the artist herself.
This year’s latest Louis Vuitton collection featuring Kusama has brought an immense amount of viewers from storefront to social media, advocating for the artistry behind the robot’s realistic appearance and function in itself. The collection has also brought us what is projected to be the #1 bag of 2023, the LV x YK Capucines MM, which retails at $8,800 and has been sported by actress Cate Blanchett and Queen Rania.
While the brand has a long history of working with artists, even presenting painted versions of Monet and Van Gogh paintings on handbags, the collection reveals a loyalty to the iconic female Japanese artist. It also represents the influx of the coinciding, rather than just co-existence, between art and fashion.
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