Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yayoi Kusama's collaboration with Louis Vuitton

On an early morning walk in Venice recently I was stopped in my tracks by the wonderfully avant guard shop windows of Louis Vuitton. They are a collaboration of Louis Vuitton's creative director, Marc Jacobs with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and not just in the form of window dressings, but indeed a range of handbags, sunglasses, shoes and coats.

Yayoi Kusama, born in Nanago Japan in 1929, is known for her use of repetitive pattern, bright colours and playful forms. In particular she is known for her use of polka dots.

One could not help but be inspired, delighted and uplifted when viewing the windows, which involved seemingly sinuous tentacles brightly painted in red & white polka dots and in the midst, a single handbag. The 2nd window displayed no product at all, just oversized brightly painted polka dot flowers each with a central motive reminiscent of an eye with gorgeous lashes. The windows, thoroughly original and definitely eye catching, plus the resulting Louis Vuitton collection, are a very clever melding of consumerism and commercialisation with the sometimes lofty world of art. 

I still find myself smiling widely every time I look at these photos, and in the end if art is intended to produce an emotional reaction then this one has definitely achieved its result! Full credit to Marc Jacobs for his vision in keeping this brand fresh and young and to blurring the lines between art and commercialisation.