A timeless icon perpetually reinvented; Lady Dior has enjoyed an extraordinary destiny. Its architectural lines exalting the cannage pattern encapsulates the 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 worldwide. Through a fascinating detour, the Lady Dior is thus transformed into a unique oeuvre, merging heritage and creative visions.
For the seventh edition of the Dior Lady Art project, Ghada Amer, Brian Calvin, Sara Cwynar, Alex Gardner, Shara Hughes, Dorothy Iannone, Minjung Kim, Zhenya Machneva, Bouthayna Al Muftah, Françoise Pétrovitch, and Wang Yuyang – from Egypt to the United States, from Qatar to China – have each risen to the challenge of reinterpreting and transforming the iconic bag.
A meeting between Dior and the world’s cultures, this new inspiring carte blanche showcases virtuoso techniques and craftsmanship 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.
Canada-born and a New Yorker at heart, artist Sara Cwynar’s work questions the mediatization of daily life through the ever-accelerating circulation of images.
Using myriad forms of expression – ranging from photography to collage, from performance to book creation – she shines a spotlight on this “idealized world of images” that hovers above the real world. Combining vintage spirit and daring modernity, she develops a series of visual anachronisms made from innovative creative techniques. Still lifes, more alive than ever, that question banality, beauty, consumerism, flow, and life itself.
Wishing to capture the sensation of time passing, she 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 – in a theatrically flamboyant red, 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 dream and reality.
Multidisciplinary Chinese artist Wang Yuyang’s work questions the contrast between tradition and technology, artificial reality and historical perception, earth and space. He reinterprets 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.
Born in Cairo, Ghada Amer is a committed feminist, questioning the body and the place of women in the art world and contemporary societies through her hybrid oeuvre. Based on the simultaneous use of painting and embroidery. Her Lady Dior bags are 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.
At the crossroads of archaeology and modern history, Zhenya Machneva’s captivating, colourful tapestries notably retrace the industrial era’s grandeur, decline and breakdown but also highlight the dreamy melancholy of deserted landscapes and abandoned places around the world. For Lady Dior, she wished to reflect on the place of women in society – through their strength and the weight of the demands placed on them. All of the iconic bags’ insides, as well as their outsides, are enhanced by embroideries.
Inspired by her many travels and a variety of different cultures, Dorothy Iannone borrows from Eastern religions their pictorial universe, regularly referring in her creations to Buddhism and Indian Tantrism. For Lady Dior, she offers her very personal vision of the Statue of Liberty, which is presented as a trio of little figurines – all dressed thanks to multiple techniques differently – embellished with sequins, beads and embroidery, transforming this favourite accessory into precious jewelry.
Fascinated by the simplest details of everyday life, Alex Gardner captures with grace and authenticity the emotion of the instant, sublimating moments of exchange and tension between individuals. Anonymous figures, imbued with gentleness and sensuality, with whom everyone can identify. For this project, he transposed one of his iconic pieces onto the Lady Dior, transforming it into an entrancing painting with multiple effects, playing with colours and materials. A piece striking a perfect balance of elegance and audacity, in a poetry of contrasts.
Minjung Kim’s practice is a quest for beauty in serenity. Sharing, transmitting, discovering, and contemplating, the Korean artist’s work is an invitation to explore oneself and the world in a constant search for tranquillity. Out of the experimentation of her art is born a collective meditative action nourished by the effects of materials, transparency, and colour gradations. Her repetitive, minimal aesthetic is illustrated by a superposition of collages that give life to abstract compositions. Combining the grace of her art with the virtuosity of the Dior ateliers, Kim’s reinterpreted the iconic Lady Dior through four dreamlike journeys.
As a multidisciplinary artist, Qatari artist Bouthayna Al Muftah uses multiple media to honour her country’s cultural heritage through archiving elements from past traditions. For her reinvention of the Lady Dior, 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 silk chiffon.
The work of Françoise Pétrovitch is first and foremost felt, bringing to light the tentative freedom of adolescence. The interim, a space of all possibilities, suspended between childhood and adulthood, fascinates the French artist. Her sure, captivating strokes trace the dualities of existence. The bird, a recurring motif in her work, is featured in the artist’s three reinterpretations of the Lady Dior.
Shara Hughes invented landscapes, combined with elaborately detailed interior scenes, reconcile dream and reality, and depict the multiple facets of the human psyche. She 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 in red velvet or embroidered with a thousand coloured muslin flowers.
The sun-drenched palette of American artist Brian Calvin’s portraits expresses the youthful energy of his Californian origins with strength and naivety. Beautiful, ambiguous and almost melancholic, the close-ups of women, represented figuratively, verge on a form of abstraction. For Dior, 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 experience through threads, beads and sequins; all delicately hand-embroidered on a raffia base.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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