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SOUTH AFRICAN ARTIST, ATHI-PATRA RUGA IS COLLABORATING WITH DIOR TO REDESIGN A CLASSIC

It’s literally the time for African creatives to shine. Just a few months ago, fashion designer, Thebe Magugu became the first African to win the highly coveted Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) prize. More recently, South African artist, Athi-Patra Ruga was selected to collaborate with iconic fashion house, Dior, to create two signature handbags.

Every year, Dior hand-picks a few artists from different corners of the world to redesign the iconic Dior Lady handbag, bringing their own personal touch and infusing their culture and heritage into the brand.

Ruga’s first design for Dior will be a three-dimensional textured self-portrait, intricately made up of pearls, finished off with crystals, fabric and metal flowers, embroidered on a black background. The other is a blue lambskin leather bag, layered with a quilted scallop motif, reportedly inspired by founder Christian Dior’s famed Junon gown.

Speaking on his collaboration with Dior, the artist-designer says, “For me, I find that there’s something so punk about high fashion and high craftsmanship, which is one of the cornerstones of both my studio and the Dior studio.”

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Is fabric art? It’s been a hotly debated topic for decades, but it seems this “women’s work” is finally being recognized as a legitimate form of fine art. Right on cue, artists such as @athipatra, @mickalenethomas and @joana_vasconcelos_official have deployed a variety of techniques – including quilting, embroidery, patchwork and printing – to customize the Lady Dior handbag. Here, @rinabanerjeestudio’s design featuring a “third eye” motif embroidered with beads, feathers and shells. “Art was very removed from fashion, and I think those two arenas have really not only come together, but are clearly talking to each other and supporting that kind of tradition of textiles, which is probably as ancient as the caveman,” she said. For the full story, head to @wwd #linkinbio #dior #diorladyart #ladydior #bag #handbag #limitededition #art #textileart #fabricart #rinabanerjee #athipatraruga #mickalenethomas #joanavasconcelos #artbaselmiami (📷: Courtesy of @dior)

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Amongst the creators exhibiting their work for Dior, this year are Rina Banerjee, Maria Nepomuceno, Mickalene Thomas, Jia Lee and Eduardo Terrazas. Their signature designs will be revealed for the first time in November in Shanghai, to be followed by a presentation in Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach in December.

The bags will officially be available for sale online and in store in January 2020.