Saturday, 1 September 2012

Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton - A Style Tour de Force

I've been meaning to write a post on the recent Yayoi Kusama and Louis Vuitton collaboration for a long time as this is possibly my favourite art/fashion collaboration EVER. For those requiring an art historical insight Kusama, I'm your blogger, with an expensive Art History degree which conveniently drains my finances each month. I knew that degree would come in handy one day.

Japanese born artist Kusama perpetuates her installation and performance art pieces with a dizzying array of polka dots and colour making her the ideal candidate to create an accessories and clothing collection for Parisian design house Louis Vuitton. When embarking on writing my University dissertation I opted to write 12,000 on the wonders of Kusama's works however my advisor warned me she wasn't big enough an artist to merit 12,000 words on and to focus on the German Modernist art movement instead.  Well Mrs Advisor, after this year's Tate exhibition and now collaboration with one of the world's biggest fashion house I think you have been proven wrong.

Kusama was the Yoko Ono before Yoko Ono. Her beauty, creativity and skill made her a tour de force of artistic wonder and praise in New York during the 1970s. Her pop up installation and performance artworks took form in warehouses and on trees dotted around the city. One notable aspect of Kusama's work that must be recognized is that she suffers from a debilitating mental illness, and her polka dots are her cathartic way of dealing with the mental illness she's suffered since a young girl. To this day, Kusama creates her work in a studio next to her home in a mental institute in her native Japan. In today's society, where mental illness inflicts so many of us, she truly was a pioneer of her time showing that despite being mentally ill you still have the power to create and become something amazing. 

Here are two of my favourite photographs of Kusama during her 1970s artistic peak and illustrate to you how much input she has had in the Vuitton collaboration we see now...

Kusama's personal style is also one that must be admired and I love an artist who actually 'wears' her art, again reinforcing that she is the ideal artist for a top fashion house to work with. Bright coloured textiles and patterns, combined with quirky accessorising and wigs is a fashion win for me and I would love to be able to match my outfit to my wallpaper. Who knows, this could be a future fashion trend...

You can visit Kusama and Louis Vuitton's concept store in London's Selfridges until 1st October 2012. Just go for a look, you don't even need to buy anything, after all - it's art! See some amazing images of the collection below...

Hope you enjoyed reading this rather belated post!

Emma x

*** Images courtesy of Louis VuittonSelfridges and Artcyclopedia. 

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