Artist Yayoi Kusama’s “Kusamatrix” exhibition in Tokyo.
Photo: Getty Images
Marc Jacobs has a knack for merging the worlds of art and fashion, and in July, he will unveil a new collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama, the famed 82-year-old Japanese female artist who has had a lifelong obsession with polka dots. I don’t know if I can stress this enough, but OMG THIS IS HUGE. According to WWD, the collaborative line will include accessories, ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, jewelry, and watches, and we’re going to go ahead and predict it will all be ASTOUNDING. Jacobs has long been a fan of Kusama’s work and even visited her in Tokyo, as seen in the 2007 documentary Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton. In the film, Kusama presents him with a Louis Vuitton purse hand-painted with white dots, and later in a voiceover, the documentary proclaims, “We sensed that Yayoi Kusama’s endless dots would echo awhile in Marc Jacobs’s mind.” Sounds like they echoed all the way until 2012! Did this past moment spark their current collaborative union, and could this hand-painted purse be a prototype for what we might see in July?
Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton are no strangers to art world collabos. In 2001, Jacobs partnered with artist/designer Stephen Sprouse on a line of graffiti-adorned LV bags. Following Sprouse’s death in 2004, Jacobs revisited the motifs and created an expanded line in homage to the late artist in 2009 (which MJ recently sported while on vacation in St. Barts). In 2002, Jacobs and Vuitton partnered with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (who is also known for designing Kanye West’s album Graduation ) on a wildly popular collection that saw Vuitton’s signature brown logo bags reconfigured into white bags covered in brightly colored LV logos. Groundbreaking to both the brand and the world of fashion, you might say this is where repetitive pattern as seen through the filter of a wildly artistic mind began to merge.
For the collaboration with Yayoi Kusama, we think there will be dots—lots and LOTS of giant DOTS. Kusama has been making art since the age of 10. She uses art to escape her mental illness, which involves seeing patterns of polka dots in her mind, and she’s been living in a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo since the mid 1970s. Her work includes everything from installations involving giant plastic red and white polka-dot sculptures to pumpkins covered in black and yellow polka dots. Did I mention she WEARS polka dots all the time, as well as a super bright red, blunt cut bob wig? She’s pretty amazing, and if the Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton documentary is anything to go by, we’re in store for a truly remarkable collection of fashion meets art products. As Jacobs himself said in the doc, “She’s great. She’s dotty as can be.”