Louis Vuitton teams up with artist Sun Yitian

The French fashion house and Chinese name-to-know collaborated on a show full of charm and wit.

By Clara Strunck

Image courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Fashion and art have always been comfortable bedfellows, a fact confirmed by Louis Vuitton’s showcase of its pre-fall 2024 collection yesterday. The French maison teamed up with the contemporary artist Sun Yitian, known for her photorealistic paintings of toys and mass-produced objects.

The ‘Voyager’ show, held in Shanghai at the Long Museum – the largest private museum in China – was designed with a celebration of Chinese heritage and style in mind. “An exuberance of colour and joyfulness salutes the tremendous stylistic vitality of China’s youth,” read the show notes. “Oppositional prints make for happy marriages. Classicism goes tangential, giving outfits a charming zeal.” Yitian’s figurative prints added a charm and witticism to classic shapes, from a bright tiger adorning a pale-pink coat dress, to dalmatians emblazoned upon iconic, LV monogrammed bags.

Image courtesy of Louis Vuitton

During a personal trip to Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu last November, Nicolas Ghesquière, the artistic director of women’s collections at Vuitton since 2013, was introduced to the works of Yitian. Inspired by her references to mass production (and riffing off the phrase “Made in China”), as well as her personal story of growing up in Wenzhou, a manufacturing hub, he decided to join forces and bring Yitian’s work to the runway.

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In particular, Yitian’s toy animal series – which includes a pink rabbit, a yellow duck, a spotted dog, a leopard, a swan and more – has been recast on over 90 pieces from the collection, with blow-up toy animals designed by the artist covering the façade of the Shanghai K11 Art Mall and popping up in the scenic downtown area to promote the show.

Born in 1991, Yitian studied painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China, and is now completing her doctorate of literature at the School of Humanities at Tsinghua University, Beijing – the city she calls home. Best known for her Pop Art-esque paintings, generally based on staged photographs she takes herself, Yitian’s work walks the line between representation and abstraction.

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It’s an approach that’s won her plaudits so far: Yitian had her first solo exhibition in Berlin in 2023, and received the WSJ China’s ‘ On the Field’ Creator of the Year Award in the same year. She was also selected for the Influential 2023: Forbes China Contemporary Young Artists and Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2019.


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This article first appeared on harpersbazaar.com/uk/