“Normally, I don’t take this kind of stuff on,” says L.A.-based visual artist Friedrich Kunath. He’s talking about the “Lady Dior” handbag (above) he designed for the fashion house. Born in Germany, Kunath was among ten artists from around the world who took part in this, the second limited-edition collection of classic leather purses.
While Beijing multimedia artist Hong Hao’s version channels his own work with scanned objects—a collection of buttons, pins, and beads—French artist Betty Mariani took a street art approach, splattering an image of a graffiti mural with paint, as if it had been tagged.
Kunath, meanwhile, looked to a sun-soaked ’70s-era Venice Beach for inspiration. “I’m drawn to sunsets and rainbows—empty un-corrupt images,” he says. “I like the juxtaposition of luxury with kitsch and whimsy.” For the handle, the artist alludes to a previous work of his, in which he placed a thickly applied rainbow across the image of a large stain.
“It’s a handbag,” he says, “so you can’t take it too seriously.”
Friedrich Kunath for Dior “Lady Dior” bag, $7,200, at Dior, Beverly Hills, 310-859-4700.