For the past two days, tourists and locals window-shopping along Greene Street in SoHo have been stopping in their tracks to puzzle over a new Louis Vuitton window display. Who is the stern-faced woman in the neon red wig and kimono, standing amid a cluster of curvy sculptural stalagmites covered in rows of white spots?
In fact, the Louis Vuitton’s installation features a deceptively lifelike wax model of the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Despite living and making art in a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo since leaving New York in 1975, Kusama had remained in the public eye, notorious for her obsessive dot-covered artworks, ranging from trippy mirrored rooms to colorful outdoor sculptures to naked people. She is currently honored with a retrospective at the Whitney in New York.
The 83-year-old Kusama’s line, designed with LV artistic director (and art collector) Marc Jacobs, launched on Tuesday, two days before her retrospective opens at the Whitney, its last stop after a long international tour (Madrid’s Reina Sofia, Paris’s Centre Pompidou, London’s Tate Modern). Louis Vuitton is the main sponsor of the Whitney’s exhibition, though Kusama’s LV products aren’t for sale in the gift shop.
Kusama’s goods-spot-covered covered sunglasses, handbags, dresses, scarves and shoes-are for sale at two locations in New York: Louis Vuitton’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue and a pop-up shop in SoHo festooned with red-and-white polka-dot walls, mannequins and more stalagmites. A knowledgeable clerk informed A.i.A. that, for now, Kusama’s line is only available at these two New York locations, though other stores may stock some of the items “in 10 days or so.”
If you’re looking to update your summer wardrobe, yellow sunglasses with black spots are $610, a black and red calf leather wallet is $1,150, a silk miniskirt is $1,290 and a cotton T-shirt is $530.