When the Capucines bag was originally unveiled in 2013, it was notable for eschewing Louis Vuitton’s traditional monogram canvas for just one bold italicised LV on its front, set into plain, full-grain Taurillon calf leather. Clearly, it had a certain air of discretion and sophistication—the logo gets completely obscured when the flap is tucked outwards. Call it stealth wealth if you want.
Six years on, the Capucines remains well-loved. The restrained, minimalist design keeps it beyond the realm of trends. Plus its modern shape and skillful construction make it easily adaptable to anyone’s style. It is perhaps this blank-canvas quality that inspired Louis Vuitton’s latest art project: A collaboration with six visual artists who lent their singular, distinctive styles to the Capucines, to produce six brand-new iterations of this enduring classic, now available as limited editions.
Below, discover the six reinvented Capucines bags, as well as the artists behind them.
Los Angeles mixed media artist Alex Israel is fascinated with all things Californian—from celebrity obsession to the unwavering faith in the American Dream. But for this project, he was inspired by something simpler: L.A.’s beach and surf culture.
Fittingly, his Capucines bag features graphic, sorbet-toned waves and detachable shark fins that double as a comb and a mirror. Israel’s design derives its aesthetic from some of his earlier work like his paintings of Pop Art waves, and a short film centered on surfing.
While the bulk of her art centers on the cultural positioning of black womanhood in the United States, painter and print-makerTschabalala Self’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton veered into new territory.
Instead of her usual motifs, Self concentrated on the technique of deconstruction, putting the elements back together in a completely new form. For her Capucines, she focused on the LV monogram flower, recreating multiple versions of it in skewed shapes, different fabrications, and varied colours, before patch-working them onto the bag for a truly hand-made, artisanal quality.
Nicholas Hlobo works with materials like discarded ribbon, copper pipes, and tire tubes, melding them together to create two- or three-dimensional hybrid objects. His work is an exploration of the dichotomies of modern-day South African society and his own place within it. For his Capucines, Hlobo’s goal was different.
He wanted, in his words,“to ‘cut’ through the Louis Vuitton bag and make beautiful things grow out of it”, which stemmed from his desire to uncover what lies underneath surface-level beauty. To that end, he used floral appliqués and made them “flow” across the sides of the bag and protrude in sections, making for a bag that is as visually prominent as it is tactile.
Boston-raised painter Jonas Wood is known for the use of overlapping textures, saturated patterns, and disorientating compressions of space in his works, which he often composes by layering and collaging photographs and drawings.
In a similar fashion, Wood designed his Capucines by transposing his art—sections from three of his paintings—onto pieces of stained leather. These were then sewn together to create the outer shell of the bag, which is also intricately detailed with bundled thread that sits on top of the surface of the bag, creating texture and contrast.
Sam Falls is best known for his work using nature. One of his most well-known techniques is to cover his canvas with natural materials like flowers and leaves from a particular area, before dusting the arrangement with pigment and leaving it exposed to the elements. Once the foliage is removed, the end product is an enigmatic, wispy artwork filled with the overlapping outlines of varied flora.
For his Capucines bag, Falls created a piece with smaller flowers and plants to fit the scale of the bag. His work was then recreated on the bag with painted linen, cotton, and multi-layered embroidery, culminating in a piece filled with a captivatingly soft, powdery aesthetic.
NewYork-based Urs Fischer is known for his large-scale sculptures and installations which often feature everyday objects in completely inventive and visually surprising ways—like a painted aluminium sculpture of a gigantic packet of cigarettes intersected by half a dining chair, for example.
For his Capucines, Fischer decided to veer into the realm of surreal, as is his calling card, for a fun, eccentric rendition. Leaving the surface an unadorned, pristine white, he added hanging objects instead: An egg, a banana, a green apple, a carrot, a strawberry, and a mushroom take turns to adorn the bag, attached by a thin, gold-plated chain to either the handle or more unusually, the base.