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Dior Lady Art Celebrates Women Artists With Artisan Handbags


September 2022 Sales (LATEST)

Works of art are not limited to what we see painted on a canvas. Occasionally, they can be in the form of wearable items, such as a Dior bag. But for most, it would take much more for a bag to occupy such an elevated space. In the case of the Lady Dior, which proudly featured the brand’s Cannage design and was preferred by fashion icons of which Princess Diana is perhaps the most notable, the European luxury brand invited female global artists—the accomplished women reinvented the handbag from iconic to bearing more character, something that could be subjected to both artistic and cultural scrutiny.

Earlier this month, Dior introduced the Lady Art #3 during the Art Basel in Miami, Florida. As the number indicates, the installment will be the third of its kind since the bag’s launch in 1995—in the past, the maison has invited artists to transform one of their best known pieces. This year’s version is special from the rest though because Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri desired to exclusively work with women artists. Such move is unprecedented in Dior’s history.

The 11 women artists come from different cultures and are of separate artistic movements, all delivering in creating a bag that is for keeps for Dior collectors as well as a piece not at all unlike a painting or a sculpture that one can marvel at if spared some time. Besides perhaps the limiting nature of the silhouette they have to work with, the artists were given complete artistic control over the Lady Dior, allowing them to work with their choice of materials and execute their own style.

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Chinese artist Li Shurui futuristic work is an extension of her prior exhibitions that play with space, and so is Japanese Haruka Kojin’s vision-distorting “contact lens” bag. French sculptors Isabelle Cornaro and Morgane Tschiember both came up with an accessory that made one rethink the relationship between us and what could be an everyday item, although the two are executed differently. Mickalene Thomas, known for her work exploring intersectional systems such as gender, ethnicity, class, and sexuality, beautifully translates her vision to the Lady Dior. Fellow American Polly Apfelbaum’s version will appeal to those currently digging the retro aesthetic, although her masterful work with shapes and colors raises the style.

Janaina Tschäpe’s bag recreates flora and fauna, while Colombian veteran artist Olga de Amaral gives hers a metallic finishing that reminds us of our collective fascination with gold. Pae White’s architectural bag does something similar while also prompting us go deeper with how we approach the item. South Korean Lee Bul’s work inspires us to question conventions, just as much as her previous work did. Finally, Burçak Bingöl from Turkey works with the bag to reveal her heritage against a modern backdrop.

The Lady Diors are limited editions, just as we anticipated, and is currently only available at the Miami Design District. It will not stay that way for long though, as the bags will be opened for wider distribution in the approaching new year. The special collection can then be bought at select boutiques worldwide, so hopefully that’s not too long a wait. The prices of the limited edition bags will begin at US$5000.

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Image credits: Flaunt, Dior

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