They may be worlds apart – centuries even – but Madame Clicquot and Yayoi Kusama aren’t too dissimilar, both inspiring trailblazers seeking beauty and excellence in parallel universes.
For the first time in history, Veuve Clicquot has collaborated with the iconic Japanese artist to launch two joyful creations celebrated at Louis Vuitton.
Aspiring to spread a message of hope and optimism to the world during these uncertain times, Yayoi Kusama’s life-size floral sculpture thrives at the entrance of the French boutique in Australia.
Unveiled for the first time, the incredibly eye-catching flower covered in Kusama’s signature polka dots, is a true masterpiece – and it is the only one in the world.
Accompanying the grand sculpture is a smaller piece (limited to just 100 pieces) where the vibrant flowers wrap around the bottle of La Grande Dame 2012, entwining the signature yellow hue of Veuve Clicquot, creating a bright centrepiece.
Titled ‘My Heart That Blooms in the Darkness of the Night’, the Japanese artist’s creation symbolises vital energy, love and celebration of life, acting as striking spirit of light appropriately uplifting the world after the recent global crisis.
In addition to her original sculpture, the award-winning artist wrote an accompanying poem to help deliver reassurance.
"From all my heart, the life of flowers flew away. My everlasting affection for the flowers, flew off beyond the universe to show its vitality, to gaze at the extremes of life." – Yayoi Kusama
At the exclusive Sydney launch, the Louis Vuitton boutique oozed wonderous bouquets of gerberas and Veuve Clicquot Champagne cases perched atop mirror plinths. Following the official speeches, a parade of waiters cascaded down the centre staircase with bottles of the new vintage in hand, making for a spectacular entrance.
With La Grande Dame 2012 flowing, guests appreciated the bold notes of the Champagne. Made from 90 per cent Pinot Noir, the vintage is a perfect balance of light, delicate notes and a bold body.
"The magic of blending is in magnifying the wines to achieve balance and harmony," says Didier Mariotti, Veuve Clicquot’s Cellar Master. "La Grande Dame 2012 is a wine that is both precise and delicate.
"It is playful, lively, laughing. This new vintage offers a strong minerality carried by Pinot Noir balanced with the freshness of the blend. Its ageing potential is immense."
Madame Clicquot and Yayoi Kusama
Equally frivolous, La Grande Dame effortlessly embodies the delightful essence of Yayoi Kusama.
Created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Veuve Clicquot in 1972, alongside the Businesswoman Awards, La Grande Dame pays homage to Madame Clicquot.
Lauded as the first modern businesswoman, Madame Clicquot took hold of Veuve Clicquot when she was widowed at 27. The year was 1805 and women weren’t allowed bank accounts, let alone a business, but Madame Clicquot defied all odds becoming a true global pioneer.
Fast forward 152 years and Yayoi Kusama is a young 28-year-old setting her sights on New York to embark on her artistic career. At a time when men dominated the Western art world, the Japanese creator fought hard to have her work recognised.
Having first met the refreshing artist in 1989, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (who is stepping down from her role after 22 years in 2021), brought Yayoi Kusama to Sydney for the first time in 2000.
"This woman came into the gallery [in New York]," she recalls. "She was increasingly frustrated that she was sending her CV and her slides out and trying to get appointments, and nobody would see her. She was this small Japanese woman nobody had heard of.
"So she went into one of the most prominent galleries and stood at the front desk and she went, ‘Give me show, give me show, give me show.’ And she did not stop for 10 minutes.
"Eventually Yayoi Kusama got her show and her career took off. She never doubted her own ability."
With similar upbringings in the bourgeoisie of the 19th and 20th centuries, the bold women sought independence, which inevitably shaped their extraordinary bold characters and daring spirits.
Perhaps uniting them the most is their adoration for beauty. Attention to detail is crucial in both Champagne and art, where they both pursued a quest for excellence.
Moët Hennessy Australia and New Zealand Brand Manager Veuve Clicquot Gabriella Kuiters explained how both Madame Clicquot and Yayoi Kusama decided to challenge their industries, becoming history-makers and inspirations for future generations.
"In this collaboration this evening, we see more than just a message of optimism and joy," Gabriella explains. "We see two incredible women of parallel destinies.
"It’s remarkable to see the similarities that they had in their lives."