Extraordinarily lucky ladies might have artwork commissioned in their honor once or twice in a lifetime. Then there’s Lady Dior, which the house of Dior asked seven artists to use as a canvas for their creative visions as part of the limited-edition Dior Lady Art collection, launching Nov. 29 in Miami during Art Basel. Granted, the Lady Dior is a handbag, not an actual lady, but as the brand’s signature, top-selling style it’s the subject of a major creative and commercial push timed to the prime holiday shopping season.
Mat Collishaw, Ian Davenport, Daniel Gordon, Chris Martin, Jason Martin, Matthew Porter and Marc Quinn — all British or American — were invited by Dior to design versions of the classic top-handle Lady Dior style based on their work. The project actually began in June with Quinn, who created a limited-edition run of bags for the opening of the brand’s Bond Street store in London.
Dior expanded the project, approaching the other artists to submit drawings and images to the atelier, which determined what could be realized within the parameters of handbags and accessories. A back-and-forth exchange ensued, pushing the artists’ boundaries and those of the Dior studio. The result is a bold, visually distinctive collection of handbags and accessories (evening clutches, key chains, scarves, bracelets and some smaller leather goods in addition to the top-handle) that take the Lady Dior, with its understated architectural shape and classic cannage motif inspired by the Napoleon III chairs that Monsieur Dior used for his shows, out of its refined comfort zone.
Prices range from $360 for a card holder to $11,500 for a mink bag, with most bags priced between $3,500 and $6,000. With a maximum of 100 of each style being produced, the bags are basically collectors’ items.
“The iconic Lady Dior bag, which launched in 1995, has already inspired internationally renowned artists such as Olympia Scarry, Nan Goldin, Mounir Fatmi,” said Sidney Toledano, chief executive officer of Christian Dior Couture, referencing the Lady Dior “As Seen By” exhibition that launched in 2011. “When the idea came about to make limited-edition Lady Dior bags for people to own, we approached artists, like Marc Quinn, who were very excited to create something that people can collect as art.”
On December 6th, Dior hosted a cocktail party to celebrate Dior Lady Art and the opening of its only pop-up boutique solely dedicated to the collaboration in Los Angeles, California. The in-store cocktail event was followed by a private dinner at Spago. The pop-up store, located on Rodeo Drive, references its iconic Los Angeles setting with an interior walkway of Hollywood star symbols and a statue which mimics the Oscar trophy. Dior Lady Art installations are displayed throughout the store, showcasing the full range of product from the collaboration including handbags, small leather accessories, scarves, and bijoux. The pop-up features a large interior digital screen offering an immersive visual experience. The limited-edition collaboration will be exclusively available at Dior’s pop-up boutique here in LA, with additional global celebrations in Korea, London, China, Dubai and Paris.