Luxury fashion house DIOR presented the seventh edition of the Dior Lady Art project, where Ghada Amer, Brian Calvin, Sara Cwynar, Alex Gardner, Shara Hughes, Dorothy Iannone, Minjung Kim, Zhenya Machneva, Bouthayna Al Muftah, Françoise Pétrovitch and Wang Yuyang reinterpreted and transformed the iconic bag. A timeless icon perpetually reinvented, the Lady Dior has enjoyed an extraordinary destiny. With its architectural lines exalting the cannage pattern, it encapsulates the very essence of Dior style, its audacious elegance.
Season after season, this emblem’s aura shines on, at the crossroads of modernity and excellence. It has become, more than ever, an object of art and desire, revisited by artists from around the world. Through the most fascinating detour, the Lady Dior is thus transformed into a unique oeuvre, merging heritage and creative visions. A meeting between Dior and the cultures of the world, this new inspiring carte blanche showcases virtuoso techniques and craftmanship, driven by a spirit of innovation and limitless inventiveness. Each detail, thought out with infinite meticulousness by the eleven artists, is a tribute to singularity and savoir-faire, opening the doors of the imagination. As a final touch, each of the exceptional reinventions extends the artistic expression to the inside of the bag, revealing several poetic surprises. A celebration of joy and freedom. – from DIOR
For Dior, Alex Gardner he transposed one of his iconic pieces onto the Lady Dior, transforming it into an entrancing painting with multiple effects, playing with colors and materials. The drawing represents the contact between the palm of a hand and a fabric of infinite suppleness that seems to be completely at one with the holographic leather of the bag. The emblematic cannage gives way to a delicate pattern of figurative stitching, giving rise to the artist’s work in three dimensions. The ultimate surprise, the interior of this unique object of desire is dressed in a flamboyant red, “The Color of Life“, as Monsieur Dior used to say. A piece striking a perfect balance of elegance and audacity, in a poetry of contrasts.
Bouthayna Al Muftah
For her reinvention of the Lady Dior, Bouthyana Al Muftah calls upon the art of typography and the creation of conceptual artist books to represent a poetic landscape related to her land and Arab authors onto delicate shapes of chiffon. Hand-embroidered, these specifically designed pieces of fabric evoke the pages of history and memory etched onto a manuscript. Though not linguistically based, Bouthayna Al Muftah’s design brings together narratives symbolizing nostalgia and identity linked together by suspended threads underlining the intimate and universal character of art and fashion.
For Dior, Brian Calvin has translated his iconic designs onto two Lady Dior models – one mini and one medium – with the desire to add a new, tactile, sensorial dimension to his creative process. Threads, beads and sequins, delicately hand-embroidered on a raffia base, revisit the artist’s paintings in a mesmerizing interplay of textures. These fascinating sketches unfurl across the front of the bag, while on the back of the medium model, an azure sky hosts a giant eye, evoking the “Eye of Truth“, an emblem of good luck, a tribute to the lucky charms that Monsieur Dior cherished. A delicate secret: the insides of the bags are adorned with pink cotton, as if an appeal to gentle tenderness.
The bird, a recurring motif in her work, is featured on the artist’s three reinterpretations of the Lady Dior. Like a line on a sheet of paper, the first version is drawn on the matt white leather, playing with the pattern of the cannage. A bird escapes and is as if frozen in flight, protruding slightly from the bag. In an interplay of light and shadow, this object of desire is also dressed in black, welcoming a sleeping bird. Then the totemic creature is transformed into a lucky charm on a small tie-dye version that exalts the palette and light of her paintings. The final twist is tucked inside: a fabric with a mirror sheen completes this creative journey, a delicate invitation to self-exploration.
This rebellious vision is revealed through two new reinventions of the Lady Dior, inspired by Ghada Amer’s 2000 plant sculpture women’s qualities and her series of ceramics sculptures entitled thoughts, created in 2013 with her left hand, even though she is right-handed. The leather of the bag is adorned with a patchwork of embroidery, precious stones and sequins, or a hand-woven tapestry, each time allowing the words Strong, Loving, Resilient or Determined to be perceived, evoking the qualities attributed to women, according to interviews with Ghada Amer. An essential detail, the interior of these objects of desire is dressed in bold tones – from fuchsia pink to shocking orange – while on the back of each model, the D.I.O.R. charms borrow the letters of the artist’s first name to become G.H.A.D.A.
Combining the grace of her art with the virtuosity of the Dior ateliers, she reinterpreted the iconic Lady Dior through four dreamlike journeys. Printed directly on the bag, her painting the street is punctuated with flowers in organza tulle, reflecting exceptional savoir-faire. In turn, her cration the story is revisited in mink, while an embroidered version that combines couture and sportswear elements adorns a micro-bag. Finally, this Dior icon is preciously crafted and reinvented using excellent craftmanship inspired by the ancestral art of hanjie paper – displaying, in relief, a mountain range illuminated by bewitching red hues in the colors of dawn.
Wishing to capture the sensation of time passing, Sara Cwynar conceived her two reinterpretations of Lady Dior as complicit witnesses of their era. House of Dior icon cannage thus becomes the precious backdrop for an exhibition of photos gathered from the internet. Drawing from multiple effects from prints to realistic embroidery, these emblematic images – which span the eras from the 19th to the 21st century – punctuate a theatrically flamboyant red leather, in the manner of a miniature cabinet of curiosities. A second version sees them encapsulated in transparent PVC on a bright yellow base. The shoulder strap extending the bag is itself adorned with these novel paintings. The ultimate surprise is inside the bag: a poetic reproduction of a cloudy sky, a subtle invitation to escape between dram and reality.
Shara Hughes reaffirms this experimental approach with her reinterpretation of the Lady Dior, through two models on which enchanting optical, material and perceptual games are played out. Alternately dressed in red velvet or embroidered with a thousand colored muslin flowers, each of the two bags is adorned with hand-cut Windows offering a glimpse of a dreamlike garden – an ode to nature, which was so dear to Christian Dior. A poetic invitation to interact with the iconic bag, to discover the inner world of infinite possibilities it could contain.
Wang Yuyang once again summons this fascination to reinterpret the Lady Dior, through five artworks that reflect as many facets of the heavenly body. In an interplay of textures and sensations, each bag is adorned with representations of his works, reinvented using traditional embroidery methods, and combined with new creative techniques. Thus, the craters are embodied by a profusion of gems and sequins, or through a woven jersey fabric of bewitching, 3D-like relief, while one of the models features the motif of the moon printed on iridescent leather morphing from grey to orange.
For Dior, Zhenya Machneva wished to reflect on the place of women in society – through their strength, and the weight of the demands placed on them. Taking on the appearance of sculptures, her three variations of the Lady Dior are adorned with architectural forms exalting its geometric lines and reflecting the idea of an additional burden, with no true functionality. One of the models is unveiled on a spectacular, removable pedestal composed of large resin needles. All of the iconic bags’ insides, as well as their outsides, are enhanced by embroideries, on the inside or outside of the bags, made with an innovative savoir-faire echoing the designer’s passion for craft techniques requiring time and the beauty of the gesture.
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