Polka Dot Frenzy: Is the Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama Collaboration a Must-Have?

Collaborations bring freshness to the fashion world! Brands are shaking things up with collaborations, and the Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collaboration is no exception. I haven’t seen anything exciting in the designer landscape for a while now, which is probably why I haven’t been writing as much recently.

Parisians, don’t miss this! Louis Vuitton’s flagship store on the Champs-Élysées transforms into a polka-dot wonderland with Yayoi Kusama’s signature dots. Even the Art Deco building is covered in Kusama’s signature dots and there is a giant sculpture of Kusama herself out front, as if she’s personally placing the dots herself, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the artist’s creative process.

Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collaboration - Parlez Vous Vintage
Photo credit: Faye Mcleod
Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collaboration - Parlez Vous Vintage
Photo credit: Faye Mcleod

To celebrate the Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collaboaration, many Louis Vuitton boutiques around the world were revamped with Kusama’s iconic polka-dot designs. Additionally, In New York City’s Meatpacking District, a tiny pop-up shop opened on January 6th, 2023. I found it quite intimate, probably due to its small size in comparison to the flagship store in Paris.

The Collection Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama

“Creating Infinity”, the title of this collection says it all. Something forever, like a special luxury treat that is made to last. When Louis Vuitton’s world meet Yayoi Kusama world’s, this is what it looks like:

Credit photo: lv_phantom1817
Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama

It’s all about those darn polka dots and, let’s be real, the marketing hype surrounding them. To be fair, the activation has been pretty impressive, unless you made a New Year’s resolution to cut yourself off from social media and the internet, in which case you probably missed it.

Credit photo: lv_phantom1817
Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama

Here is what Louis Vuitton said about the collaboration:

“Inspired by a hand-painted Monogram trunk by Kusama from the first collaboration, the motif represents the bond between the artist and Louis Vuitton. The dots in the collection use a technique that gives the pattern a realistic hand-painted effect.”

To celebrate the collaboration, Louis Vuitton opened a pop-up store in Japan, where they’ve pretty much polka-dotted their whole catalog – from small leather goods, to shoes, clothes and accessories. That’s right, 163 products in total. It’s like they’re trying to hypnotize us with dots.

photo credit: Louis Vuitton website

Therefore, it is not the first time that Louis Vuitton is partnering with the artist. Yayoi Kusama collaborated with Louis Vuitton on a collection of fashion and accessories in 2012. The collection included clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry, as well as a number of special edition items, such as a limited edition polka-dot covered suitcase. The partnership was a success and the collection sold out quickly, with many items becoming highly sought-after by collectors. The collaboration between Kusama and Louis Vuitton was notable for its use of Kusama’s iconic polka-dot pattern, which was applied to a wide range of products, from clothing to leather goods. The collaboration also included window displays in Louis Vuitton stores, which were decorated with Kusama’s polka-dot designs.

Who is Yayoi Kusama?

Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese contemporary artist, gains recognition for her versatile work in different media such as painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and literary fiction. Her work often showcases the elements of pop art, minimalism, and feminist art movements. Kusama is famous for her repetitive patterns and polka dots, which she calls “infinity nets.” She has had solo exhibitions at renowned museums worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London. And the 93-year-old artist shows no signs of slowing down, she continues to create and inspire.

Worth the investment?

Photo credit: May Berthelot

But let’s be real, is it really worth all the fuss? Collaborations and capsule collections are like that one-night stand you had in college, they’re exciting at the time but not something you want to hold onto forever. Sure, back in 2012, people were tripping over themselves to get their hands on these items, but unless you’re head over heels in love with one of the models (and I mean head over heels, like you’re planning to tattoo their face on your chest kind of love) I wouldn’t recommend it as your first luxury bag purchase. Consequently, the Pochette Metis remain my preference.

The one benefit I can see is that it may “reduce” counterfeiting. Currently, Louis Vuitton and other brands are heavily impacted by imitation products, however, as this is a collaboration, I am uncertain if counterfeit factories will be motivated to replicate it.

My favorite piece, the LV x YK Painted Dots Monogram shawl, crafted from a soft, warm blend of silk and wool.

All you need to know about Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama collection:

The collab is available wordwide. And even the packaging is on point, or on dots I should say!

The collaboration Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama also made its mark in the fragrance department with new packaging designs. While the scent and name of the fragrance remained unchanged.

photo credit: Louis Vuitton website

Let me know on Instagram what you think about this partnership!