top of page

Yayoi Kusama x Louis Vuitton Collaboration Review

Photo by Gabriel Mansfield

It's been almost two weeks since the big revealing of the Yayoi Kusama X Louis Vuitton collaboration, and the excitement is starting to subside. During that time, I noticed three very different reactions from the audience:

  • passionate immersion (however, I haven't seen anyone posting about products they actually bought from that collection)

  • hard criticism and questioning whether Kusama, at 93, still has anything to say about her image

  • and "I couldn't care less"

So I'd like to reflect on how it makes me feel.

Photo by Gabriel Mansfield

I stood in front of a massive window with plastic Kusama in front of me, and I remembered all the horrific videos and memes one friend sent me (you know who you are! thank you for sharing this trauma with me). I felt nothing. I felt empty and perhaps slightly overexposed by the intense lights coming from the store.

It was not that feeling of finally seeing an artist's work of art that I've been learning about from books and albums - whose courage to break with tradition and norms inspired me. There was no excitement, I didn't hold my breath or really want to buy any of these bags, but I felt a grimace appearing on my face. I walked past shoes, handbags, tracksuits, perfume, and even a surfboard covered in paint, and I felt tiredness overwhelm me. Maybe it was also related to my sensitivity to intense light and too many repeating patterns; however, if this feeling of going crazy was meant to be a reference to Kusama's source of inspiration for polka dots, it turned out to be very effective.

Photo by Gabriel Mansfield

The conversation about Art & Market could go on (and it does) for years, but isn't art mostly about emotions and reactions? Commercialisation and investment are increasingly becoming the main drivers of this world - more and more often, I am surprised that it still surprises me how these two elements are of such great importance and absorb the art world even more. I don't have enough knowledge and insides of the business and deals to comment on whether Kusama has anything else to say about her image and collaborations. Still, while standing in front of her plastic incarnation with dead eyes and LV polka dot bags, I know that only I came here to see if I am going to be disappointed as expected. I think I was.

Nevertheless, would I like an LV bag if someone would give it to me as a gift? I definitely would. I like some of their designs - they are elegant. And Yahoo Kumasma's 'Yellow Pumpkin" which was washed away by a typhoon in 2021? I would have run and tried to save it straight away! But for some reason, this campaign makes me not believe them - whatever they want to sell me. I want to stand in front of a work of art or even a collaboration between an artist and a high fashion company, and I want to feel that there is passion and authenticity. A few days ago, in the LV shop, I only felt madness and disappointment, but I don't know why.


All these stunningly gorgeous photographs were taken by the incredibly talented @gabrieljmansfield who you should definitely all follow!


bottom of page