SIX NOTABLE FIGURES in contemporary art have reimagined Louis Vuitton’s top-handle Capucines bag. The Artycapucines Collection features limited-edition designs by South African artist Nicholas Hlobo and American artist Tschabalala Self, along with Sam Falls, Urs Fischer, Alex Israel, and Jonas Wood.

Self is the only female artist in the group. Inspired by the Louis Vuitton monogram, she deconstructed it. Her mixed-media works address attitudes and stereotypes about the black female body. Her imaginative characters are defined by exaggerated forms and features. The construction of her female forms drove her approach when she considered a design for the Capucines bag.


“TSCHABALALA SELF’s limited edition Artycapucines, is an exceptional patchwork of nineteen types of leather, including colorful touches of precious lizard leather. Based upon her deconstruction of the House’s Monogram pattern, this Capucines PM is composed of 200 hand-cut and painted shapes, making each piece unique.” | Photos courtesy Louis Vuitton


“I started thinking more critically about what’s the most exciting aspect of the paintings and I thought well it’s not so much the figures. It’s more the deconstruction of a form and building it back up again,” Self said in a video about the project. “My idea was to apply that same way of thinking, breaking the logo down to different elements.”

The debut of the Artycapucines Collection coincides with “Louis Vuitton X,” a retrospective exhibition in Los Angeles featuring 180 items from Louis Vuitton’s archives. Described as an “immersive journey,” the two-floor presentation highlights iconic designs spanning handbags, travel trunks, perfume bottles, and silk scarves; celebrity-worn red carpet gowns; and creative collaborations from throughout the 160-year history of the French fashion house.

Louis Vuitton has previously worked with artists and designers Karl Lagerfeld, Takashi Murakami, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, and Frank Gehry on special editions of its monogram bags and original commissions with Alex Katz, Yayoi Kusama, Sol LeWitt, and Zaha Hadid. The exhibition, including the Artycapucines Collection, is on view through Sept. 15, when it will travel internationally to other cities.

“I started thinking more critically about what’s the most exciting aspect of the paintings and I thought well it’s not so much the figures. It’s more the deconstruction of a form and building it back up again.” — Tschabalala Self

THE CAPUCINES BAG was first introduced in 2013. The name was inspired by Rue des Neuves-Capucines, the Paris street where Louis Vuitton opened its inaugural store in 1854. Only 300 of each limited- edition design was produced. The artists participating in the Capucines collaboration are among the some of the most sought after figures working in contemporary art. It’s a diverse group geographically and artistically in terms of the scope and focus of their practices.

A fast-rising, critically recognized painter who has already had a number of solo museum and gallery exhibitions, Self is a Studio Museum in Harlem artist-in-residence (2018-19). Her work is currently featured in “MOOD,” the museum’s annual artist-in-residence exhibition on view this year at MoMA PS1 (June 9-Sept. 8, 2019). Born in Harlem, Self splits her time between New York City and New Haven, Conn., where she earned an MFA from Yale University.


“NICHOLAS HLOBO’s limited edition Artycapucines echoes Louis Vuitton’s Monogram canvas through a flower growing organically from the Capucines PM’s interior. Meticulously attached with hand-laced embroidery, the blue tones and contrasting texture stand out against the bag’s smooth black exterior to create a beautiful, handmade hybrid object.” | Photos courtesy Louis Vuitton


Born in Cape Town, Hlobo earned a fine art degree from Technikon Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He continues to live and work in South Africa’s largest city. His recent solo exhibitions were presented at Lehmann Maupin in Seoul, Korea, and the SCAD Museum of Art Savannah, Ga.

The beginnings of Hlobo’s practice coincided with the end of apartheid in 1994. The state of democracy in his country, the complexities of identity, and the evolving international discourse around art, form the foundation of his work. Utilizing ribbon, leather, wood, and rubber, his biomorphic representations often weigh assumptions about masculine and feminine techniques and materials. His design for the Capucines bag resembles his sculptural and two-dimensional mixed-media works, which prominently incorporate stitching.

“I just wanted to break that clean profile (of the bag). Have things growing out as though it’s a fungus or moss,” Hlobo says in a video about the concept for his bag. “We have things hanging out. This somehow suggests what could be taking place between the lining and the outer skin of the bag. That there might be some life that is hidden there.” CT


FIND MORE about Tschabalala Self and Nicholas Hlobo

FIND MORE about the limited edition Capucines collection


“Tschabalala Self” complements the artist’s first UK exhibition at Parasol Unit in London. “Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa” was published to accompany the exhibition organized by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Nicholas Hlobo was among the 25 artists and collectives featured in the show. Louis Vuitton has published several volumes about its history, designs, and collaborations, including “Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation: New Art, Fashion and Architecture.”



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