Introducing The Influencer Project: Fashion Influenced by Yayoi Kusama

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

Jim Jarmusch

Inspired by the idea of inspiration, Editor-in-Chief and sustainable fashion consultant Amy DuFault, and curator/trender and heARTbeat columnist, Dominique Pacheco bring you the Influencer Project, in which ideas are found everywhere, and the creative force of cultural influence brings to fruition the genius of the creator.

We start The Influencer Project with artwork by Yayoi Kusama who is a national treasure of sorts in her native Japan. The Tate, where an exhibition of hers just closed, describes her so:

The nine decades of Yayoi Kusama’s life have taken her from rural Japan to the New York art scene to contemporary Tokyo, in a career in which she has continuously innovated and re-invented her style. Well-known for her repeating dot patterns, her art encompasses an astonishing variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance and immersive installation.

It ranges from works on paper featuring intense semi-abstract imagery, to soft sculpture known as Accumulations, to her Infinity Net paintings, made up of carefully repeated arcs of paint built up into large patterns. Since 1977 Kusama has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric institution, and much of her work has been marked with obsessiveness and a desire to escape from psychological trauma. In an attempt to share her experiences, she creates installations that immerse the viewer in her obsessive vision of endless dots and nets or infinitely mirrored space.

The influence of Kusama abounds in fashion at the moment as her much-anticipated collaboration with Marc Jacobs by Louis Vuitton was unveiled Tuesday at Louis Vuitton’s Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York. Kusama-inspired window displays and pop-up stores will open globally later this week, timed to coincide with the opening of a Kusama retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, following her run at the Tate Modern in London. Not to forget, the Vuitton venture will see a new line of ready-to-wear clothes and accessories, including polka-dotted jewelry, purses, shoes and watches.

In the case of sustainable fashion, we look at Kusama influences of patterns, dots and nets and ask is it truly life that imitates art, or is it that art imitates life?






Images from top to bottom: Kusama in Dots Obsession-Night, Olsen Haus, Kusama, Afia, Carrie Parry, Kusama, Kyler jewelry, Gretchen Jones, Natalie Frigo, Kusama, Dahl, Matt & Nat

Photo: Courtesy of Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc./Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Victoria Miro Gallery, London