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Louis Vuitton moves up a gear with its collaboration with Yayoi Kusama

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Feb 2, 2023

Giant sculptures and animated robots, buildings covered in coloured polka dots, video games, augmented reality, and top models hired to play with multicoloured dots… Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has not gone unnoticed. Since it was launched at the beginning of the year, the campaign has been all over social networks creating an unprecedented buzz. This is the first time that LVMH’s star house has committed such resources to a global, multi-format and multi-product operation.

Bella Hadid, one of the stars of the Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama campaign – Louis Vuitton

While the label would not comment on its strategic ambitions for this collaboration, giving the major investment involved, the brand must be expecting significant returns. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal magazine last November, Louis Vuitton’s deputy CEO Delphine Arnault said that the launch was an important part of the brand’s expectations for the first quarter, referring to “a 360-degree project involving the entire brand”, launched in 2021, and involving “more than 450 products”.

In fact, the brand has gone all out, multiplying marketing initiatives, designed as real attractions to catch the eye. Starting with its flagship shops, which were taken over by Yayoi Kusama and her emblematic polka dots. Like the Louis Vuitton building on the Champs-Elysées, dotted with large multicoloured polka dots and topped with a monumental sculpture of the artist clinging to the roof, which does not fail to grab tourist’s attention.

The coloured dots have also invaded Harrods in London (inside and out) for a dedicated pop-up, with the artist, reproduced identically in the form of a humanoid robot, staring at passers-by and changing her expression as she paints her dots on the window. This animation can be found in other boutiques such as those in Place Vendôme or in New York, where a portrait of Yayoi Kusama can be seen painting the 5th Avenue building with coloured circles all over the façade!

In Tokyo, the building is covered by three giant trunks, the third of which is reproduced on a panel that comes to life when it is opened, revealing the artist magically observing the street from above. In Milan, Louis Vuitton dressed the brand’s brand new space, the former Traversi garage, a 1930s building located in the Luxury Quadrilateral, with black polka dots on a yellow background and silver metal maxi spheres.

Kusama’s dots have taken over Harrods in London – Louis Vuitton

Nothing was left to chance. The Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama operation is also active online through Instagram filters, augmented reality experiences via Snapchat to dress monuments around the world with the famous polka dots, and video games, again in augmented reality, designed for mobile phones. In addition, top models including Bella Hadid, Gisele Bündchen, Liya Kebede, Karlie Kloss, Christy Turlington, Natalia Vodianova, Devon Aoki and Malick Bodian have been recruited to take part in a fun and fascinating campaign in which the dots are transformed into impalpable flakes, balls or bubbles.

This is not the first time Louis Vuitton has collaborated with the famous avant-garde non-conformist artist, now 93 years old. A first collaboration was launched in 2012 under the aegis of creative director, at the time Marc Jacobs, which was a great success, with various items now being resold at record prices. Following this initial success, the house wanted to repeat the process by moving up a gear with a much larger number of products, this time also available for men. Called “Creating Infinity”, the collection includes bags, sneakers, accessories such as hats, glasses and perfumes, as well as a wide range of clothing.

The brand has been flirting with the art world for a long time. With the Japanese artist and her recognizable and popular universe, Louis Vuitton has found the ideal partner to stage lively and fun installations. Especially very “Instagrammable”. And boost its sales.

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