For the fifth edition of Dior Lady Art, ten artists and collectives from around the world participate in a game of reinterpretation and metamorphosis, approaching the iconic Lady Dior like a unique work of art.
My favorite Dior Lady Art bags from this season are the ones by Judy Chicago…
From one horizon to another, from China to Madagascar, India to South Africa, and Russia to the United States, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Judy Chicago, Gisela Colon, Song Dong, Bharti Kher, Mai-Thu Perret, Recycle Group, Chris Soal, Claire Tabouret and Olga Titus have taken the bag to new heights, infusing its architecture and charms with their imagination and inspirations.
… which are available in three different sizes.
In an exceptional symbiosis that surpasses boundaries and mixes past, present and future, these artists’ captivating universes bridge nature and the cosmos, poetry and life’s mysteries.
There is even a little surprise when you turn the bag around.
Shaped by its extraordinary destiny, The Lady Dior becomes, more than ever, an object of art and desire, a virtuoso celebration of freedom and excellence. In selected Dior stores now, including the Zurich one where I took the photos.
The limited edition bags have all their own label.
Below you can read more about the different artists and the inspiration behind each bag:
An emblematic founder of feminist art, Judy Chicago has made her work and her research a means of combatting patriarchal ideas. This multitalented personality has never ceased to develop a singular aesthetic questioning male domination and celebrating the success of women, often forgotten or relegated to the sidelines despite their important contributions. Instead of the clean, angular lines her contemporaries favored, she prefers generous, sensual, colorful and suggestive curves, where spirals and shells evoke symbols of feminine power, like the paintings she chose in revisiting the iconic Lady Dior.
Thanks to a dichroic treatment, a testament to the innovative savoir-faire in the ateliers, her three reinvented bags are adorned with fascinating pearly, metallic or iridescent effects. Hypnotic motifs reprising her paintings come to life through captivating and unexpected plays of light, in glittering reflections. Each of these exceptional pieces is signed with a caption representing the work depicted, the better to let their creative source shine; an ultimate ode to pluralistic femininity that extends the passionate and committed dialogue with Dior that began with Maria Grazia Chiuri’s S/S 2020 Haute Couture collection.
«Windows»: Song Dong perceives and reinvents the Lady Dior as an object of desire on the edge of existence and redefines it; puts it on the outskirts of «inside» and «outside» the world and the spirit, and reconstructs the inseparable mutual «parasitic» relationship between users and it, as both a bridge and a reflection of their multiple facets. Driven by a yearning for infinite freedom, the artist wished to reveal the ephemeral nature of human behavior and explore concepts that are both complex and fascinating, such as idleness, uselessness and the absence of limits. His childhood in china, marked by a traditional education amidst the cultural revolution, instilled in him an even greater passion for painting that can be «freely expressed». At that time, he thought of painting as synonymous with escape and a space for «free breathing».
Later, the «painting» he was interested in was replaced by a broader «art life» and it became the true source and resource of his creative energy. Having grown up in the 1980s during china’s reform and opening up, «window» is a symbol of «freedom» and «openness» for him, where it is a philosophical object that drives thinking. He revisited the Lady Dior with refined graphics and colorful compositions mixed with a play of mirrors. This abstract reinterpretation is called “Windows Bag”, which gives the traditional concept of «bag» a «window» attribute. It seems to metamorphose according to light, shadows, places and faces. A dazzling icon, in perpetual movement, that calls for the (re)discovery of oneself. «the «windows bag» puts the world it is in outside of it and coexists with the world in the bag,» he said.
From Bauhaus to dance, and tantric yoga to literary modernism, the Franco Swiss artist Mai-Thu Perret explores the boundaries between disciplines. Her installations – mixing video, painting and sculpture – favor raw and handcrafted materials such as ceramics, embroidery or rattan. Her process represents a way of reconsidering, through techniques often judged as being merely decorative, the place of women in western art. Through her striking works, she explores the utopias of our civilization and the notion of community, notably through the prism of feminism. Fascinated by imaginary languages, she created a mysterious alphabet composed of abstract signs inspired by an educational method applied in 19th-century German kindergartens.
At the crossroads of cuneiform writing, painting and Mondrian’s aesthetic, these letters unfold in the form of a tapestry on the Lady Dior bag, and on miniature versions elevated by precious glass bead embroidery. The creations feature handles and enameled metal “Dior” charms, reproduced after ceramics hand-shaped by the artist, questioning the fashion lexicon and the symbolism of the logo. A virtuoso celebration of savoir-faire and the beauty of the gesture that are dear to both Mai-Thu Perret and the house of Dior.
In the United Kingdom, where she grew up, and in India – her parents’ home country, where she now lives – Bharti Kher explores issues of identity and culture through captivating works. In reinterpreting strong symbols, her pieces weave links between the past and modernity, in the manner of the bindi, the common thread of her universe. This circular marking, which Indian women apply to their forehead, can be both a sophisticated fashion accessory and a symbol.
The artist transforms the bindi, diverting and transcending its social meaning. Fascinated by this «third eye,» the feminist artist has made it her signature; an emblem revisited through creations that mix painting, collage, photography and sculpture. On the Lady Dior, this singular motif appear as delicate snakes forms (looks a lot like sperm to me :-)), incarnations of a life force, transformation and healing. Enhanced by a warm chromatic palette, they blossom in hypnotic movements over Dior’s iconic handbag.
Influenced by the cultural identity of his native South Africa, where he is based, Chris Soal questions the close and complex relationships between urban life, intimate environments and ecology. A creative approach that incorporates salvaged materials reflects his sensitivity to textures, forms and light. The artist creates engaging sculptures composed entirely of everyday objects, the ephemeral and functional nature of which is transformed into a lasting work of art. For Dior, he plays on the striking contrast between these trivial elements, so many symbols of consumer society, and the Lady Dior, which is imbued with a powerful heritage and virtuoso savoir-faire.
In this way, he covers the iconic bag with folded bottle caps bearing the «Dior» signature, suggestive of cowrie shells, unfurling in enchanting colors. Like an ode to his artistic signature, the «o» charm in the Dior name takes the form of an elegant bottle opener. Meanwhile, a version is adorned with toothpicks, worked, painted and embroidered by hand, a unique expression of the ‘petites mains’ infinite skill. Illusory effects hover between imagination and reality, duality and symbiosis, offering a new perception of the world and of fashion.
Inspired by life forces, universal energies and the planetary system, Gisela Colón has developed a singular language, deploying a fascinating lexicon of geometric forms and organic figures. Minimalist and futuristic, her iconic monoliths and biomorphic cells – wall sculptures that seemingly mutate, like promises of the future – stand at the crossroads of art and science. Conceived using the latest technologies, her works feature innovative materials used in the aerospace industry, emitting holographic reflections that shift according to the light.
Bridging reality and fantasy, the earth and the galaxy, her surprising works reinterpret the shades and architectural lines of the Lady Dior, giving life to two unique creations. Baptized Stardust and Amazonia, they symbolize, through their hypnotic colors, interstellar magic and the world’s enchanting mysteries. In a last signature detail, the «Dior» charms are punctuated with a monolith, an emblem that for Gisela Colón represents equality, power and beauty. These «bags of the future», as the artist calls them, combine the enchanting spirit of the milky way and nature, paying tribute to Christian Dior’s passion for the divinatory arts and constellations.
Landscapes, bodies embracing or confronting one other, children in costumes, young debutantes, group portraits, migrants at sea… Highlighting the vulnerability of human relationships, Claire Tabouret’s subjects enchant for their sensitivity, singular perspective and disconcerting mystery. Illustrating herself in figurative art, the French painter adopts a unique color palette mixing natural hues with artificial, synthetic, almost acidic shades, bathing her paintings in an instantly recognizable atmosphere. Approaching the Lady Dior as a blank canvas offering her imagination free rein, she transposes her self-portrait, enlivened by bold, expressive brushstrokes, onto one of the bags, where she appears in the guise of a vampire with a blood-stained mouth, devouring the iconic bag’s charms.
At once surprising and romantic, this version of the bag is accentuated by a white lace collar, a subtle evocation of Dracula’s phantasmagorical costume. Her painting depicting a round of dancers gracefully unfolds on another version in faux fur, like an echo of the hypnotic, liberated discipline dear to Christian Dior and Maria Grazia Chiuri. An ode to the house’s virtuoso attention to detail, these creations are adorned with phosphorescent linings, glowing reflections of the artist’s chromatic signature.
Having grown up together – both the children of artist parents – and collaborated years later on the exhibition Recycle, Andrey Blokhin and Georgy Kuznetsov – a creative duo positioned on the frontiers of reality – founded Recycle Group in 2008. Through subliminal messages, they question the paradoxical nature of the future and explore the concept of «virtual immortality» in order to highlight the powerful and complex relationship between man and machine.
Their obsessive and hypnotic works incorporate tangible materials, media and augmented reality, plunging art into a new, freestyle and daring dimension. For the Dior Lady Art project, their take on the iconic bag symbolizes a shifting vision of the world, shaped by the contemporary digital frenzy, with wave and vortex effects deconstructing and re-sculpting the legendary cannage motif. Resembling an immaterial object, the Lady Dior metamorphoses and opens itself up to multiple perceptions. Bridging the past and a digitalized future, these exceptional creations reflect dazzling realms from which emerges our own relationship to existence.
From Antananarivo to Paris, Joël Andrianomearisoa cultivates a fascination for the city, that mysterious entity, that «everything» where his prolific inspiration culminates from sounds, fragrances, textures, beings, and even architecture. His creative research is woven from the infinite diversity of emotions that he strives to materialize in the name of sweet melancholy, an inevitable absence that all understand yet cannot name. His elusive and magnetic works makes the fragility and intensity of desire an essential life force. «Take me to the end of all loves» chants the labyrinth of Lady Dior, like a testament to passions already sated, promises of new love stories.
On the surface, superimposed materials, like delicate millefeuilles, reproduce heartbeats, while inside, an immaculate lining symbolizes love’s whirlwinds. The story begins with the packaging, a showcase and a unique artwork in paper. In black embellished with leather or radzimir silk, both versions are adorned with embroidery and cut-outs, as well as words, whispers and caresses, like living works in perpetual motion. As a final poetic surprise, a small book accompanies them, spanning memoir, a journal of this project, and a diary of their future lives. An ode to sentiments, and a sensitive reading of the world.
Each of Olga Titus’s plural, magnetic works is a celebration of the world and its infinitely rich customs. Inspired by the heritage of her grandparents, who were of Indian and Malaysian origin, as well as by her many travels, the swiss artist weaves precious links between civilizations through eclectic creations. Her territory of experimentation is an ‘elsewhere’, a cosmos, an encounter between self and other: an imaginary place where a new culture comes to life, in the image of the «third space» theorized by Homi K. Bhabha.
Open to multiple readings, her work hovers between material and digital realities, allowing the proliferation of individualities and singular expressions to blossom. Her sequin paintings, which extend the field of possibilities, are born of a will to go beyond digital realizations by making them tangible. Adorned with delicate kaleidoscopic beads, her reinterpretations of Lady Dior, which she sees as «a little cosmos», reveal thanks to their double-faceted finish, a hybrid ornament in perpetual movement that, to the touch, gives rise to two distinct universes. On the miniature version of the iconic bag, decorative masks embody Olga Titus’s unique signature and pay homage to the arts of the world, from Africa to Asia, an allegory for her own cabinet of curiosities that transcends everyday objects.
Photos: © Dior and © Sandra Bauknecht