Featuring artists like Alex Israel, Beatriz Milhazes, Urs Fischer, Vik Muniz, Paola Pivi, and Henry Taylor, one could mistake Louis Vuitton’s Artycapucines collaborations for the roster of an epic exhibition of some of the best contemporary art talents working today. Launched in 2019 and now in its fourth edition, the Capucines-as-canvases initiative allows a select group of creatives to reimagine one of the fashion brand’s most iconic bags. This fall, six more global artists have introduced nine new limited-edition designs to the ongoing collection. For these 2022 Artycapucines, craftsmanship shines and materiality reigns: hand-stitched beads, 3-D printed leather, and embellished calfskin prove that when creativity is encouraged to flourish, flourish it does.
French conceptual artist Daniel Buren has long played with shapes in his practice. His 2022 Artycapucines design is no exception. This special piece—available in four colorways, each a limited-edition of 50—is a geometrical composition that engages the artist’s signature vertical stripes. “My initial sketch was rather abstract, but the object’s function was still clear,” says Buren. “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.” In its coloring, art aficionados will recognize an allusion to one of the artist’s most spectacular recent works: Observatory of Light, which wrapped the exterior of the Louis Vuitton Fondation in Paris in 2016.
Korean artist and Dansaekhwa movement co-founder Park Seo-Bo found his inspiration in one of his own paintings, a 2016 work from his "Écriture" series that boasts an intense red color. The bag’s textured surface was achieved with the assistance of his designer grandson, Park Jifan. A 3-D printed rubber injection recalled the artist’s sensory memory of a vibrant colorscape in Japan’s Mount Bandai valley: “The color was so intense that it felt like I was looking at a flame that was chasing me to my death,” Park explains of the experience. “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.’”
Celebrated architect Peter Marino has a longstanding relationship with art and fashion, as a seasoned art collector and the designer of many boutiques across the world, including Louis Vuitton flagships in London, Los Angeles, Seoul, and Paris. His architectural practice often revolves around designing for artworks, while his 2022 Artycapucines edition was inspired by a singular piece: the all-black locked and studded design found its inspiration in a medieval box Marino saw in Venice while fundraising for Venetian Heritage, the preservation organization he heads. “We were raising funds to restore a 14th-century building in Venice called Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista,” Marino recalls, “and I noticed a medieval box near the monumental staircase designed by Italian architect Mauro Codussi.” Its antique straps and closure motivated the exclusive design of a newslide-bolt closure for the Louis Vuitton bag.
Born in Cannes and based in Paris, Amélie Bertrand’s club-ready Artycapucines design is the first-ever to glow in the dark. Spray-painted and ornamented with floral charms, the artist’s assemblage edition brings art out of the gallery and onto the street. “I immediately thought, a bag’s an object, so let’s treat it as a sculptural work,” says Bertrand, noting that she approached her Artycapucines with light in mind. “I wanted a bag that illuminates 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!"
One of today’s most exciting and sought-after young artists, Brooklyn-based Kennedy Yanko uses found metal and dry sheets of paint to sculpt abstract large-scale works that, often, seem to defy gravity. For her Artycapucines design, however, she thought about the utility of the bag, and the person who wears it. “I was particularly interested in making something that was functional,” explains the artist, whose fashion-forward sensibility makes her a fixture at shows, both on the runway and off. “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.” Referencing her own work, the bag’s body was patinated via 3-D printed rust.
Though playful and color-forward, artist Ugo Rondinone’s harlequin-inspired, rainbow-handled 2022 Artycapucines bag has an important story to tell. “I knew the bag had to please and chose to use color as the main attraction, so I took two archetypal symbols that I often use in my work: the clown and the rainbow,” says the Swiss-born, New York-based artist, whose 2-D and 3-D body of work composes meditations on humanity and our most pressing contemporary issues. “The clown, with its recognizable, nonbinary character and outlandish costumes, distinctive makeup, colorful 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.”