PARIS — If you’re seeing spots while out shopping later this summer, you may have stumbled upon one of seven Louis Vuitton pop-up stores in support of its fashion collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, who never met a dot she didn’t like.
The first is slated to open inside the Vuitton boutique in New York’s SoHo on July 10, two days ahead of a major Kusama retrospective bowing at the Whitney Museum in New York. In the weeks that follow, three others are to open inside or near Vuitton stores in Hong Kong’s Pacific Place; at Ngee Ann City in Singapore, and at Isetan’s Shinjuku branch in Tokyo.
The operation is slated to climax on Aug. 23 and 24 with two large-scale shops at major European
department stores: across 860 square feet in the Printemps flagship in Paris and 1,375 square feet in Selfridges in London. Akin to one of her transporting museum installations, the former is to be inspired by Kusama’s obsession with dots; the latter by her treasured pumpkin motif.
Open for between four and eight weeks, the temporary units are to feature an original merchandising concept in collaboration with Kusama. Yves Carcelle, Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, likens them to a “loudspeaker” to bring additional attention to its latest artistic tie-up.
Vuitton has collaborated in the past with Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince, but this is the first time it has opened multiple “concept” stores fully dedicated to the products.
The Kusama collection is to be sold in all of Vuitton’s 463 stores, with a second wave of products — hinged on monogrammed leather goods festooned with Kusama’s tentaclelike “nerves” motif — due out Oct. 1. Printemps and Selfridges are to have the Monogram Nerves bags exclusively from their opening dates in August.
Now 82 and living in a hospital for the mentally ill, Kusama has been painting since age 10, and has applied dots to canvases, tree trunks, entire rooms and even people.
Vuitton’s collaboration with her extends to window displays, iPhone apps, Web sites and a book.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia