Welcome to the Dior Talks podcast series themed around the sixth edition of Dior Lady Art and hosted by Paris-based journalist Katya Foreman. For this year’s event, 12 artists from around the world have participated in a game of metamorphosis by rendering the iconic Lady Dior handbag as a unique piece of art.
In this opening episode we’ll be hearing from Zhang Huan, one of the most prolific and provocative contemporary Chinese artists working today, whose areas of research include the mind/body connection and the cycles of life and death.
For this extraordinary project, the artist, whose past materials have included blood, ice and ashes, worked remotely with the Dior Atelier to transpose two of his works onto five versions of this House icon.
Reflecting on the technical challenges of recreating art in a bag, one of his concepts based on a Lady Dior filled with incense ashes from hundreds of ancient temples in China sadly did not make the cut. Instead, for his large Lady Dior bag, the artist adapted the work Memory Doors from his My Winter Palace series which was presented at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2020. The bag’s decorative features range from woodwork ornamentation to holographic calfskin leather handles.
Fully embroidered with multicolor beads, sequins and glass stones, two mini Lady Dior bags by the artist depict a Sakura field swaying with grinning Buddhist masks, linking the worlds of the living and the dead. A micro holographic Lady Dior with rainbow finish hardware and a medium Lady Dior bag complete the series.
From his studio in Shanghai, Zhang talks to us about the inspirations and processes behind his Lady Dior.