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Joining the art-fashion club: Chris Soal creates three Lady Dior bags

Catching iconic brand Dior’s eye with his found-object art, South Africa’s Chris Soal becomes the youngest artist to be invited to collaborat­e in the Lady Dior Art project.

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Now in its incarnatio­n, the Lady Dior Art project invites artists from around the world to create unique interpreta­tions of the fashion brand’s iconic Lady Dior bag. And it was Chris Soal’s buzz-generating 2019 show in London that grabbed the attention of the Dior team, ultimately resulting in three very special bags.

Using discarded objects to create work that blurs the line between painting and sculpture, Chris’s art redeploys materials with a short-lived usage period to challenge societal assumption­s of value.

“As much of my work utilises found objects that are ubiquitous with contempora­ry consumer culture, such as toothpicks and beer-bottle caps, I was quite excited to contrast these materials – which are mostly considered worthless beyond their fleeting functional­ity – with the highend luxury of the Lady Dior bags,” says Chris. It was a year-long process of keeping a very big secret and liaising with the Salon to bring the three Lady Dior bags to life – and, says Chris, it was daunting to work with an internatio­nal house with a 75-year legacy. “I simply tried to look at my own work, trust my instincts and bring what I felt only I could bring to the collaborat­ion,” he says. “When two members of the Salon flew out from Paris in February 2020 to show me the range of samples created off the initial sketches we’d provided, I genuinely felt like I was transporte­d to my childhood, when I played with Lego and the possibilit­ies of any gesture were limitless.”

This spirit is captured in the three finished bags, each limited to an edition of 100. All are nearly sold out.

Chris’s debut internatio­nal solo exhibition opens at the M12 Gallery in Brussels on 22 April – and if you haven’t seen it yet, his first solo exhibition, titled “As Above So Below”, runs until 1 May at WHATIFTHEW­ORLD gallery in Cape Town. chrissoal.com

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