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16 August 2012
Louis Vuitton-Yayoi Kusama Concept Store
The Singapore concept store presents a collaboration between the luxury brand and Japanese artist in all its otherworldly glory. Rachel Lee-Leong reports.
The Louis Vuitton store interior on the second floor of Takashimaya Shopping Centre that once bore only shades of cream, brown and beige is now an explosion of red polka dots and giant nerve sculptures. Not your usual luxury brand store experience, the store is disorienting and slightly disconcerting to say the least. In this, the design of the concept store is a success. This sense of displacement is, after all, what Yayoi Kusama explores in many of her artworks and tries to convey to her audience.
Kusama, one of today’s most prolific figures in modern art, paired up with Louis Vuitton for one of the most extensive collaborations the brand has had to date. It includes a full collection consisting of ready-to-wear, leather goods, accessories and book editions. The brand also worked with Kusama to create concept stores in cities like Singapore, New York, Hong Kong, Paris, London and Tokyo, as well as dress all 455 Louis Vuitton store windows globally.
Kusama lives in an otherworldly parallel universe. It’s not quite a figure of speech. As a young child, she had a hallucination where the red flower patterns on the tablecloth in the dining room spread across the entire room – walls, floor and herself included.
Though highly disturbing, that incident was crucial in making Kusama one of the world’s most prolific contemporary artists of today – never mind the fact that she is currently committed in a mental asylum but goes to her studio nearby every day to work on her art. The disorientation she felt in that episode is what she tries to convey in many of her works.
Louis Vuitton’s relationship with art is possibly one of the most closely knit in the fashion world. While its dalliance with the art world trails from over 150 years ago, it was in 1997 when Marc Jacobs came in as artistic director that modern art was put front and centre in the many of the brand’s most iconic collections through collaborations with artists like Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince.