I personally get ultra excited when fashion and art collides. And I’m spasming all over as soon as my radar picked up on the collaboration of Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama. Louis Vuitton has officially announced their latest major collaborator is Japanese avant garde artist Yayoi Kusama, who’s known for putting brightly colored dots on everything from pumpkin sculptures to tree trunks to herself. Conveniently timed to coincide with Kusama’s major retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York, their collection will be unveiled on July 10. According to WWD, it’ll include a huge range of dot-covered items like silk pajamas, dresses, trench coats, jewelry, bags, and shoes, all in vibrant primary colors. EXCITING-NESS or what!!?! *more spasms*
I first came across Yayoi Kusama‘s work at Art Stage Singapore 2011 where I spotted (Heh!) a couple of her paintings – one was a spotted gourd, the other a spotted pumpkin. Since then, I kept running into this amazing woman’s work everywhere, even while I was overseas earlier this year at LACMA. Her signature polka dots are everywhere! One of the really interesting background stories about Kusama which resonated with me personally, is how she experienced hallucinations and severe obsessive thoughts since childhood, often of a suicidal nature. This psychological distress led her to record her hallucinations into her sketchbook, in the form of repetitive polka dots. “Obsessions, phallus obsessions, obsessions of fear are the main themes of my art. Accumulation is how stars and earth don’t exist alone,” she explained in one of her media interviews.
Yayoi Kusama said about her 1954 painting titled Flower (D.S.P.S):
One day I was looking at the red flower patterns of the tablecloth on a table, and when I looked up I saw the same pattern covering the ceiling, the windows and the walls, and finally all over the room, my body and the universe. I felt as if I had begun to self-obliterate, to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space, and be reduced to nothingness. As I realized it was actually happening and not just in my imagination, I was frightened. I knew I had to run away lest I should be deprived of my life by the spell of the red flowers. I ran desperately up the stairs. The steps below me began to fall apart and I fell down the stairs straining my ankle.
Another quote of hers:
… a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity.
Kusama is often quoted as saying: “If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago.”
I know first-hand how obsessive an artist can be and how easy it is to give in to the dark side and become manic depressive (ahem, coming from a true blue OCD and emo-nemo Pisces here). I honestly think that Yayoi Kusama is an extremely incredible woman who has persisted in her art form fearlessly. Kudos to facing her inner demons courageously via multimedia art expressions. Don’t let me hear you say chit like, “Polka dots? So easy and simple, anyone could’ve come up with that!” and dismiss this artist. Uhm, yah, why don’t you try to come up with different iterations of polka dots for forty years? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this is why art totally rawks. It’s genuinely and authentically a personal thing, and there is always a story behind every piece. I am humbled (and in awe) by Yayoi Kusama’s tenacity towards the pursuit of her dream as an artist over the last forty years and she is showing no sign of slowing down or stopping.
Yayoi Kusama’s designs of complex polka dot designs will bring a fun summer element to this limited edition “Infinitely Kusama” Louis Vuitton collection. Here’s a sneak preview.
What do you think of the collection? Yay or nay? I like the big black bag with the yellow polka dot trims. The heels are kinda hawt too.
Ughhhhhh. I reeeeeeeally wanna go back to NYC this July for the Yayoi Kusama retrospective show. Can I? Should I?
Do you know what Yayoi Kusama:
- got her big break after moving to New York?
- is over eighty years old today but still sticks to her trademark style of polka dots?
- lives in a mental institution and commutes daily to her art studio?