Louis Vuitton Collabs with South African-based Artist Billie Zangewa

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Piotr Stiklosa

Five prominent contemporary artists, namely Billie Zangewa, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Liza Lou, Tursic & Mille, and Ziping Wang, infuse their distinctive creative perspectives into Louis Vuitton’s 2023 Artycapucines Collection.

Since the first collection in 2019, the Capucines bag – named after Rue Neuve-des-Capucines, the Parisian street where Louis Vuitton opened his first store in 1854 – has provided a perfect blank canvas for 29 contemporary artists to create an Artycapucines.

This new collection sees artist Billie Zangewa – born in Malawi and based in South Africa – employ intentionally imperfect patchworks of raw silk to craft landscapes and portraits. Her Artycapucines showcases her 2020 masterpiece “The Swimming Lesson,” which features her son Mika.

The original image’s bronze background was reproduced by scanning a piece of raw silk, including its creases and natural imperfections, and transferring the resulting image to soft leather with high-definition printing. This was attached to the bag with deliberately uneven handcrafted stitching. The swimming pool in the original work was reproduced using a variety of threads and embroidery techniques, with hand-stitched beads to create sparkling reflections. The figure of Mika was achieved through meticulous embroidery with metallic thread.

Billie Zangewa for Louis Vuitton
Artycapucines by Billie Zangewa

Long interested in female identity and its suppressed role in the Western canon, Polish painter Ewa Juszkiewicz transferred her characteristically striking and surrealist 2021 work “Ginger Locks” to a Capucines using a high-definition print, set off by a string of golden pearls.

American artist Liza Lou embossed subtle and beautifully textural bead work into the soft leather, which she then delicately printed in pastel colours and draped around the Capucines bag like a sculptural second skin.

Franco-Serbian artistic duo Tursic & Mille reinvented the bag in their signature flower shape which they used as a frame for a richly embroidered and coloured version of their 2021 painting “Tenderness”, accompanied by a charred cedarwood handle and inlaid LV logo.

Chinese artist Ziping Wang’s mini Artycapucines is the smallest bag in the collection so far; a delightful confection of leather patchwork and marquetry in bright vivid colours and candy-sweet motifs, and a powerful comment on our visually saturated and self-reflexive world.

The Artycapucines Collection contains a total of 29 distinctive designs by celebrated artists from across the world. Each special bag is further proof of how for over a century Louis Vuitton has continuously placed its innovative spirit and artisanal expertise at the service of artists and their creativity, from Louis Vuitton’s grandson Gaston-Louis commissioning work back in the 1920s to collaborations with legends such as Sol LeWitt, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Prince, and Takashi Murakami, to the opening of the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Vuitton in 2014.

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