Lous and the Yakuza: a fashion icon and pop singer praised by Madonna
Although Lous and the Yakuza is known for being a fashion icon, judging by her high-profile appearances as a guest model during fashion shows, like the Louis Vuitton pre-fall 2023 show unveiled on Jamsu Bridge in Seoul in April 2023, the 27-year-old Belgian-Congolese singer is also known for being a born performer. Along with her “Yakuza”, as she likes to call her musicians and the teams that work with her, Madonna’s favorite artist went on stage alongside two other big names of francophone rap music to perform a series of featurings at the Cité de la Musique, on Tuesday 4th of July 2023.
She first performed the haunting beat Lubie with Belgian rapper Damso, then invited rapper Dinos to deliver a sentimental version of Future Nostalgia. After getting the crowd dancing, the artist who released the highly acclaimed album Hiver à Paris (2022) even asked the audience to applaud the stunning outfit worn on stage by Lous and the Yakuza. The ultimate proof that the young woman with the bearing of a royal shone brightly that evening in her Louis Vuitton total look.
Lous and the Yakuza wears a Louis Vuitton total look at the Days Off Festival
A few months after the release of her luminous and intense second album Iota (2022), the Belgian-Congolese singer is now on tour, performing her poignant, energetic pop-soul-trap music in various concert venues and festivals. For her tour, Lous and the Yakuza asked Louis Vuitton, for whom she has been a muse since 2020, to design stage outfits inspired by the Japanese culture she is so fond of. In an interview with Numéro in October 2022, the artist said: “Aside from music, nothing on earth has fascinated me more than manga. I must have 3,000 of them at home”.
At 9pm last Tuesday, the charismatic artist set the stage on fire with a spirited rendition of her track La money. She was wearing the result of her collaboration with the Louis Vuitton workshops – a revisited 3-piece mini suit with a white poplin shirt, including a 70s-inspired pointed collar and wide sleeves, and an orange leather bra. Nicolas Ghesquière, Louis Vuitton women’s creative director, added a few nods to his past collections on that outfit, such as the use of Japanese gabardine, an innovation of the house disclosed after his first show for Louis Vuitton in 2014.
5 questions to Lous and the Yakuza
Numéro: Can you describe the Louis Vuitton outfit you are wearing tonight?
Lous and the Yakuza: Orange is such a vibrant color on stage. It catches the eye in a complex way thanks to the mix of materials, textures, and the asymmetrical design. I like elegance with a punky touch. Nicolas Ghesquière knows me well, so it is the perfect look to illustrate what I want to feel on stage.
How did you and Louis Vuitton come up with your stage outfits? What were your inspirations?
My creative team and I made several mood boards. We drew our inspiration from the Japanese fashion and the manga culture. We shared them all with Nicolas and the Louis Vuitton workshops and they came back with over 50 sketches! I wanted all of them [laughs]! We ended up choosing different colors and variations of the look to make sure it was suitable enough to dance on stage.
Is playing at the Cité de la Musique in Paris different from other concert venues?
This concert venue is so steeped in history and culture. Having the opportunity to perform in a place that is so important to the country is humbling. The sound was incredible tonight, and the energy there was infectious.
According to you, what are the biggest differences between your albums Gore and Iota? Is there an evolution in the way you work on your songs?
With Gore, I wanted to use my voice to address the injustice and pain that some people and I felt in this world. I had the chance to tell a story for the first time and I wanted it to originate from experiences that triggered raw emotions. Iota was softer in the sense that the topics weren’t as heavy as in the previous album. It focused more on the feelings you may have when you’re in love, both positive and negative ones. The way I produce my music is always evolving as I’m looking for new influences and people to collaborate with.
After the success of your second album Iota in 2022, what are the new projects you are currently working on?
I’m thrilled about what’s about to come. I have taken the time to concentrate on different parts of myself. I paint, I write, I draw manga, and I travel – thing that I have never really been able to do before in my life. Discovering new cultures, new people... It’s all part of what will drive me back to the studio this fall, when I will start working on new songs. These adventures are opening new creative horizons for me, and I can’t wait to see how they will translate into my music!