For the second edition of its Dior Lady Art Project, fashion house Dior found ten artists to work individually on customizations to the iconic Lady Dior handbag. One artist, Jamilla Okubo, was approached via email to design her version. Naturally, she thought it was a scam.
“I just never thought that, out of all brands, Christian Dior would reach out to me to do an artist collaboration. I think it’s amazing. I went to school and learned about this brand and watched their runway shows for inspiration, so this is like a big deal,”
Okubo, born in North Carolina and raised in Washington, D.C., incorporates African textile patterns into her designs, marrying fine art with fashion. She is one of ten designers to have been chosen. The artists chosen are Jamilla Okubo, Betty Mariani, Lee Bul, John Giorno, Jack Pierson, Hong Hao, Friedrich Kunath, Nansa Leuba, Spencer Sweeney and David Wiseman. The designers come from diverse backgrounds, including South Korea, China and France.
Designers are tasked with customizing the best-selling handbag to their hearts’ content, playing with the signature cannage quilting pattern and letter charms. Materials used include mink, velvet, sequins and multicolored thread.
Jack Pierson based his designs on drawings he did during his stay in the French capital: “They came out of me spending a month riding a bike around Paris and just soaking it all up and seeing everything from shop windows to museums…It’s all just graphic and line and motion and things like that, but I feel like I just let a Parisian sensibility seep into it somehow.”
Pierson will reproduce his version of the smaller Lady bag, choosing to use black satin, gold and silver threading, sequins and pearls, adding his trademark studded metallic charms.
“I think that boundary between fashion and art is getting less and less defined lately,” Pierson added. “Part of my enthusiasm toward it is, I feel like all of the Parisian artists of the early part of the century collaborated: Man Ray and Picasso and Salvador Dalí.”
While Wiseman opted for gray lambskin stitched with various cannage and floral patterns, Giorno chose rainbow metallized calfskin etched with lines from his own poetry, one reading, “We Gave a Party for the Gods, and the Gods All Came.” Okubo blended African textiles with couture beading techniques, one from orange lambskin embroidered with flowers and with blue satin handles.The collection of bags will be launched on November 30th along with a cocktail at the Dior boutique on 57th Street in New York City. Other events will include an appearance with Lee on Dec. 8th at the House of Dior flagship in Seoul, and an appearance with Hong on December 9 at the Dior store in the China World Mall in Beijing.