Designer dots: Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama’s second collab drops in January

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's second collaboration with the French luxury house is bigger, better and spottier. PHOTO: LOUIS VUITTON

SINGAPORE – Pop culture fans are being rewarded for their patience in 2022.  

While movie fans waited 13 years for the sequel to the hit 2009 film Avatar, fashion and art fans had been pining for Louis Vuitton and Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama to get together again for another collaboration.

The wait is finally over. Ten years after their first partnership in 2012, the French luxury house and artist are unveiling their second collaboration – first teased during the brand’s Cruise 2023 show in May – in 2023. The first drop comes in January.

Their first collection was born under the creative direction of designer Marc Jacobs, who helmed the maison from 1997 to 2014. He was also behind many of Louis Vuitton’s artist collaborations, including ones with the late American fashion designer and artist Stephen Sprouse, and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

A household name herself, Kusama has captivated the world with her hypnotic, hand-painted polka dots, usually showcased via immersive exhibitions. These dots represent infinity to the 93-year-old avant-garde artist, who began painting them from as young as 10 and used art as an escape from her traumatic childhood.

The 2012 collaboration was a global success, so much so that you can still find coveted pieces sold at a premium on the secondary market today.

As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.

The first drop of the highly anticipated second collaboration hits stores worldwide on Jan 6, with a second one planned for March 31.

It is expected to be a massive collection, with an estimated 450 individual pieces covering ready-to-wear, bags, lifestyle, shoes and accessories for men and women.

Look out for four distinct motifs by Kusama splashed across signature Louis Vuitton styles.

Yayoi Kusama oversize denim jacket and sorts in Multicolor Dots (left) and Painted Dots menswear items. PHOTOS: LOUIS VUITTON

Dominating much of the first drop is Painted Dots, where the artist’s brush-stroked dots meet Louis Vuitton’s Monogram.

From a colourful iteration (closest to the original artwork) to a gradation of black, silver, grey and white designed for men, the motif adorns leather goods such as the white Capucines and black Dauphine bags, as well as intricately printed denim and men’s outerwear.

Yayoi Kusama Capucines BB in White Taurillon Leather with Painted Dots print. PHOTO: LOUIS VUITTON

It also appears on the bottles and travel cases of two out of three of the collection’s fragrances – Attrape-Reves and L’Immensite.

Yayoi Kusama Eau de Parfum Attrape-Reves and Travel Case. PHOTO: LOUIS VUITTON

The second, perhaps even more recognisable, motif is Infinity Dots. An evolution of the painted dot, this obsessive motif of dots in varying sizes appears in signature Kusama palettes of black and white, red and white, yellow and black, and black and red.

Infinity Dots is an evolution of the painted dot appearing in signature Kusama palettes. PHOTOS: LOUIS VUITTON

You can find it on classic bags such as the embossed Empreinte Neverfull, the Twist, Keepall and Soft Trunk. A striking red Alma BB gets the same treatment and also comes with a bag charm in the shape of the artist’s signature pumpkin.

Yayoi Kusama Christopher MM and Keepall 50 in Taurillon Monogram Leather with Infinity Dots print. PHOTO: LOUIS VUITTON

It is also on a men’s LV Trainer, silk scarves, sunglasses and the maison’s mascot Vivienne doll, which has been reimagined as a version of Kusama.

Kusama fans will also appreciate the Metal Dots (inspired by the artist’s mirrored orbs from her Narcissus Garden artwork) and Psychedelic Flowers motifs, which appear on a smaller number of ready-to-wear and leather goods.

Louis Vuitton celebrated the pre-launch of the collection with a city-wide takeover of Kusama’s home town of Tokyo in end-November, complete with installations and augmented-reality experiences at iconic attractions in the city.

Several international celebrities have already been spotted advertising the collection – from South Korean actress and Louis Vuitton ambassador Jung Ho-yeon to American fashion blogger Aimee Song.

The first drop will pre-launch in China and Japan on Jan 1, before hitting Louis Vuitton boutiques worldwide on Jan 6.

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