With the fifth edition of its Dior Lady Art project, the house of Dior has once again fused haute couture and art, as American artist Gisela Colón elevates the iconic bag to supernatural heights.
Here’s how the story goes: it was back in 1995 when a bag was crafted from the supplest of leathers and stitched to emulate Napoleon III’s chairs, designed by former Dior creative director Gianfranco Ferrè. Gifted to Diana, Princess of Wales by former French first lady Bernadette Chirac, and one year later named Lady Dior in homage to Princess Diana’s irreverent style, this timeless classic has been a hallmark of the couture house ever since.
Forever maintaining artistic ties, the Lady Dior bag is once again the focus of Dior Lady Art – a project piloted by the house’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, who has tasked a new group of artists with reinterpreting the house’s essence through the re-imagination of the legendary bag for the fifth season in a row. Initiated in 2016, Dior Lady Art has become a much anticipated meeting of haute couture and art, and in 2020, a brand new group of artists and collectives from around the world have redesigned the iconic bag as a unique work of art. Hailing from China, Madagascar, India, South Africa and Russia to the United States, artists including Joël Andrianomearisoa, Judy Chicago, Song Dong, Bharti Kher, Mai-Thu Perret, Recycle Group, Chris Soal, Claire Tabouret and Olga Titus have all made their mark this season, after being given carte blanche to inject their own personal style into the classic accessory.
New to join the Dior gang this season is Gisela Colón, a contemporary American artist born in Canada and raised in Puerto Rico who, bridging reality, fantasy, the Earth and the galaxy, envisioned two celestial versions of the Lady Dior, named Stardust and Amazonia. Dubbed ‘bags of the future’ by the artist herself, these Milky Way-inspired masterpieces pay tribute to Christian Dior’s passion for divinatory arts and constellations. Colón is famed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East for her sculptural ‘glo-pods’ of brightly coloured, blow-molded acrylic sculptures that feature irregular, curvaceous contours referencing biomorphic forms such as larvae, amoebae and other organisms. Laminated and layered with iridescent and fluorescent pigments that create the experience of coloured light emanating from within, incredibly the viewer encounters a different object each time they see a piece, since the interior colours constantly morph depending on lighting and the angle from which they are viewed.
It’s these such pods that have made their way onto the surface of the artist’s holographic interpretations of the Lady Dior, which come crafted from innovative materials used in the aerospace industry, making use of a hypnotic palette designed to symbolise interstellar magic and the universe’s undiscovered mysteries. Adding to the out-of-this world effect, the Dior charms are also punctuated with a monolith – an emblem that represents equality, power and beauty – making for a stunning last signature detail.
The fifth edition of Dior Lady Art follows hot on the heels of a portfolio of hugely successful collaborations, most notably its third edition which, for the first time, saw 11 female artists of different generations and nationalities selected to share their visions of the iconic bag. Each artist reinterpreted the bag in medium and mini versions to outstanding effect. From then until now, the project once again reaffirms that the spirit of Lady Dior remains open to myriad interpretations without ever losing its essence, and we expect it will continue to do so for many generations to come.
- Words by Naomi Chadderton