These artists are putting their stamp on the ‘Lady Dior’ handbag

Now in its seventh edition, ‘Dior Lady Art‘ invites international artists to reimagine Dior’s Lady Dior handbag – one of the house’s most memorable styles

Lady Dior handbag by Alex Gardner with painting of hands on it
Lady Dior handbag reimagined by artist Alex Gardner, part of the seventh Dior Lady Art project
(Image credit: Photography by Harry Eelman, courtesy of Dior)

The ‘Lady Dior’ handbag – a miniature style in Dior’s signature cannage quilting, designed to be held in the hand – remains one of the house’s most memorable accessories, largely due to its patronage by Princess Diana who was first gifted the design in 1995 by then-French First Lady Bernadette Chirac. In various iterations and colours, she wore the Lady Dior numerous times in the years that followed, including to attend the Met Gala in 1996. It has been synonymous with French savoir-faire and elegance ever since – ‘a timeless icon, perpetually reinvented’, as the house describes.

Its latest reinvention lies in the hands of 11 international artists – hailing from Egypt to the United States, Qatar to China – who have each put their distinct stamp on the style as part of the seventh edition of Dior Lady Art. Inaugurated in 2016, the ongoing project has seen numerous art-world luminaries reinterpret the style with vivid prints, textural details, or intricate embroideries, from Marc Quinn and Mickalene Thomas to Judy Chicago and John Giorno. The resulting designs are part collector’s item, part sculptural object, though remain intended for Lady Dior’s original use – to be carried as a handbag. 

Dior Lady Art: 11 artists reimagine the Lady Dior handbag

Person embroidering a colourful pattern on a handbag

An artisan works on artist Wang Yuyang’s design for the seventh Dior Lady Art

(Image credit: Photography by Andrea Cenetiempo, courtesy of Dior)

This year’s participants include Ghada Amer (Egypt), Brian Calvin (United States), Sara Cwynar (Canada), Alex Gardner (United States), Shara Hughes (United States), Dorothy Iannone (United States), Minjung Kim (South Korea), Zhenya Machneva (Russia), Bouthayna Al Muftah (Qatar), Françoise Pétrovitch (France) and Wang Yuyang (China). ‘A meeting between Dior and the cultures of the world,’ say Dior of this latest chapter, with each artist given ‘carte blanche’ to transform the original design as they wish. ‘A tribute to singularity and savoir-faire... a celebration of jouy and freedom.’

As such, each of the 11 designs offers a distinct riff on the original Lady Dior bag – from Hughes’ ‘miniature cabinet of curiosities’ (the cannage is adorned with various images gathered from the internet, reimagined in prints and embroidery) to Gardner’s transposition of one of his paintings onto the bag, made three-dimensional with the use of figurative stitching across the quilted exterior. Others utilise the savoir-faire of the Dior atelier to create various effects across the designs – delicate muslin flowers, hand-embroidered chiffon evocative of pages of a manuscript, or patchworks of stones and sequins – which often draw inspiration from the artists’ previous works. Inside the bag, Dior promises ‘poetic surprises’. 

Person working on a Lady Dior bag design

Bouthayna Al Muftah’s design for the seventh Dior Lady Art

(Image credit: Photography by Marion Berrin, courtesy of Dior)

The various designs will launch globally this month (January 2023) in selected stores and online, following teasers during the ‘Art ‘N Dior’ exhibition at Shanghai’s West Bund Art & Design in November 2022 and a pre-launch event in Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach. The global launch is accompanied by a special podcast series ‘Dior Talks: Dior Lady Art’ hosted by Paris-based journalist Katya Foreman, in which the artists discuss their wider body of work and ’the game of metamorphosis’ of redesigning the Lady Dior.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.