Louis Vuitton presents the fourth edition of its art project, reinventing the iconic Capucines bag.
Louis Vuitton celebrates its iconic Capucines bag through an artistic collaboration. In the fourth wave of Artycapucines, the brand collaborates with six contemporary artists who were invited to create their own version of the Capucines. The six artists were given complete creativity and freedom to reinterpret the bag in a way that expresses their style and personality and captures the femininity, modernity and timelessness of the bag. Each bag in the exclusive collection will be limited to 200 pieces and will be available in Louis Vuitton stores worldwide. Turn the page to discover more about the artists and their unique designs.
Known for her bright and bold imagery, French contemporary artist Amélie Bertrand combines abstract motifs of chains, camouflage, tiles and tropical plants, all in bright and gradated colours. Combining nature with fantasy, she creates images that feature almost mystical landscapes. Her design for the Artycapucines collections features a rainbow of colour and a phosphorescent handle.
“I immediately thought, a bag’s an object, so let’s treat it as a sculptural work.” She explained. “This made me consider how the light would hit its surfaces, and how the bag itself would throw light back, perhaps onto the owner’s clothes. I wanted a bag that illuminated the night, like a nightclubbing bag, or like those scooters that people “pimp” using those bright artificial-light panels. You could say I wanted to pimp my bag! The bag’s phosphorescent handle and surface components “charge up” using daylight in order to lighten the night, evoking the internal light that a computer emits.”
She explains the process of working with Louis Vuitton on this project: “It was like a highly creative laboratory. The process itself mirrors my own work: the gradual adding of different layers, finding the best possible application of those elements to the surface. As an artist you can be quite free form, whereas the Louis Vuitton artisans are more structured, so we pushed each other in different directions and landed on a final product that feels unexpected and exciting.”
Park Seo-Bo is one of South Korea’s most celebrated artists. He is the founder of Dansaekhwa, a movement that began in the early 1970s and altered the course of Korean art with its ideas of the purposelessness of actions and the spiritual benefits of endless repetition. In the late 1960s, Park began working on his ongoing Écriture series, originally composed of pencil lines drawn on paint-covered canvas. Since the early 1980s, the work has used the specific properties of Korean Hanji paper, which Park soaks for weeks, applies to canvas, and works on in pencil and acrylic paint. He considers his painting method as a creative meditative exercise.
His now iconic methods are used as the inspiration for his take on the Louis Vuitton icon for which he bases the design on a red painting of his. He explains: “When I later started using colours in my painting, I did so by searching for “natural colour” instead of “ideological colour”. One time, I was looking at a valley by Mount Bandai. The valley was aligned with the sun, so it appeared to be almost neon red. The colour was so intense that it felt like I was looking at a flame that was chasing me to my death. That moment acted as a reminder that I’m only a tiny being in front of the vastness of nature. As the wind blew the clouds and the sunlight shone, one side of the valley remained neon red, while the other side became shaded and much darker. I thought I should paint this “harmony of nature”; my red painting came from this moment – from nature.”
The artist enlisted the help of his grandson a fashion graduate in order to adapt his work for the bag. “My talented grandson is a graduate of London College of Fashion, and he was instrumental in adapting my painting to the Artycapucines’ bag design. When I received the first prototypes, I was in awe of the incredible leather craftsmanship, achieved by the hands of Louis Vuitton’s artisans. Honestly, I think it is impossible not to respect Louis Vuitton for its level of savoir-faire.” He continues; “ultimately, I think this bag collabo- ration and my original artwork should be exhibited together, as a whole, as one object.”
Architect Peter Marino founded his New York-based architecture firm in 1978 and has since worked on some of the most recognised architectural projects of the modern day. As a confessed art lover, Marino has commissioned more than 300 site-specific artworks that have been integrated into his architectural designs, and in 2021, he opened the Peter Marino Art Foundation, based in a restored public library in Southampton, New York.
His Artycapucines design is a solid black creation, inspired by a 14th-century Venetian building. “I’m chairman of Venetian Heritage and we were raising funds to restore a 14th-century building in Venice called Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista. One time when I was visiting, I noticed a medieval box near the monumental staircase designed by [Italian architect] Mauro Codussi. This box had straps and a medieval key. I was inspired by these elements, which I translated into this new Artycapucines bag.”
French artist Daniel Buren has had a career spanning over 60 years. His works explore the relationships between art and its physical and intellectual structures, and our perception of light and space. His works feature graphic lines and often use his now-trademark vertical stripes. Showcasing his works at over 3,000 exhibitions throughout his career Burren has become one of the most successful contemporary artists of his time. ln 2016, he created Observatory of Light at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, a large-scale, in situ work that covered every other panel of the building’s 12 glass “sails” with brightly coloured transparent self-adhesive vinyl sheets, following a rhythm of every 10 glass panels alternating white stripes and empty spaces of 8.7cm each, all the way long.
His Artycapucines designs feature bold colours, graphic lines and his trademark stripes. The unmissable designs are timeless yet modern. “The subject of this work is not a specific space or precise environment, which are usually at the heart of all my work; rather, it’s a fixed object with which I “compose”. The Artycapucines has a really simple design: a trapezoid as a base and the arc of a circle as a handle. Everything starts from there. My initial sketch was rather abstract, but the object’s function was still clear. By making the handle an exact semicircle, and transferring it to the body of the bag itself, two shapes emerged: a trapezoid and a circle.” He said of his creations. “I was so impressed by the Louis Vuitton artisans’ ability to implement such high-quality solutions in such a record time. They constantly amazed me. Just three weeks after showing them my thumbnail sketch, they presented me with a prototype, which became the basis of our shared reflections on improvements.”
Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone is known for his ability to give new light to the vision of human nature through a wide range of two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, installations, videos, and performances. His hybridised forms, which borrow from ancient and modern cultural sources alike, exude pathos and humour, going straight to the heart of the most pressing issues of our time, where modernist achievement and archaic expression intersect.
His colourful design for Louis Vuitton is bright, vibrant and joyful and with a clear inspiration taken from the circus. “I knew the bag had to please and chose to use colour as the main attraction.” He said. “So I took two archetypal symbols that I often use in my work: the clown and the rainbow. The clown with its recognisable nonbinary character and outlandish costumes, distinctive make-up, colourful wigs, and exaggerated footwear, is designed to entertain large audiences. In my work, though, I have turned it into a character who doesn’t entertain, but instead just sits in contemplation. The rainbow is a communal archetype of unity and peace, while also referring to the gay-liberation movement. For example, in my first public work, in 1996, I made an illuminated neon rainbow sign that spelled out “Cry Me a River”.”
The artist saw the process as a collaboration between himself and the brand. “The collaboration was amazing. The team at Louis Vuitton’s ateliers really made sense of what I wanted, and then went out of their way to develop the ideas even further, and so create different possibilities. Working with a bag requires an appreciation of the functional “end use” that my artwork never does.” He said.
American artist Kennedy Yanko offered a more abstract take on the accessory. Her artworks are found in metal and “paint skin”, a material she makes by pouring large amounts of paint, letting it dry, and using the sheet-like form to create new sculptural compositions. The flowing, yet solid result is described by the artist as an “abstract expressionist-surrealist work with an anthropomorphic quality”.
By replicating the “paint skin’ in her design, the Capucines bag is giving an extraordinarily unique identity. “When the Louis Vuitton team first came in, I shared an idea of what I wanted to do. The next time I saw them they presented me with so many different options to choose from. It really expanded my mind of what this bag could be. Once we’d figured out the colours and style and how to create the bag itself, I was particularly interested in making something that was functional. I wanted a bag that you could use at any event and with any outfit; for example, the handle comes off, and there’s a pouch underneath it, so you can slide your hand and then carry the bag as a clutch.”
“They [the Louis Vuitton team] were super experimental about recreating my paint-skin effect; it actually incorporates a rusting process that takes place using bacteria. They also experimented with over 20 different colour samples, using a spectrometer to get the exact shade. It was an intensive process, which I enjoyed a lot. It gave me new ideas of how I could sculpturally add volume and texture to my own work using different materials.” The artist spoke of her excitement to see the bag in stores. “I’m excited to see it out in the world, like seeing a lady at the airport who’s chosen to take the bag on a trip with her. You’d never get that with a piece of work on a gallery wall.”