Who could forget Louis Vuitton‘s iconic 2002 collaboration with Takashi Murakami, whose rainbow rendition of the classic LV monogram motif netted some $350 million in sales for the luxury leather label? For its next knockout collabo, Vuitton is revisiting the Land of the Rising Sun with artist and dot enthusiast Yayoi Kusama.
Marc Jacobs, Vuitton’s creative director, first met Kusama back in 2006 when she customized a Louis bag for him with her signature dots. Then, back in February, the French fashion house offered some financial assistance to the artist’s exhibit at the Tate Modern. With a major retrospective planned at the Whitney Museum this summer, Vuitton will unveil its Kusama collaboration two days before that bows, on July 10.
“Louis Vuitton has outlets and fans all around the world and I hope, like with other collaborations, and expect, like other collaborations, that this will bring the work of Kusama to a new audience and that’s the audience of Louis Vuitton,” Jacobs said. “It continues something I began when I came here which is the idea of art and collaboration, or collaboration with artists. For many people who don’t look at art or go to galleries, or maybe they’re not aware of Kusama’s work, there will be a new venue, a new place to see this work and to come to appreciate it through the eyes of Louis Vuitton.”
The collaboration will include accessories as well as clothing — such as trenchcoats, silk pajamas, leggings and skirts — available in all 461 of Louis Vuitton’s global stores. A second collection featuring Kusama’s “nerves” motif on leather goods will arrive some time in October.
Next month, Vuitton will introduce a free iPhone app dedicated to the 83-year-old Kusama and her work, through which users can customize their pictures with her dots and other motifs. Vuitton is also planning pop-up shops with yet-to-be-named department and specialty stores as well as installations on par with Kusama’s museum exhibits.
“Her energy is just endless,” Jacobs said of Kusama. ”Through the painstaking sort of obsession in each of her canvasses and installations that she’s created, you see this world that never ends. I guess that’s what I admire and that’s what I respond to in terms of feeling for her and for her work.” [WWD (sub req'd), Vogue UK]