Artist and designer collaborations are nothing new, but the Pathos Compass project is striving for a slightly deeper conversation about the handbag on one’s arm. For, displayed in the handbag’s minimal side panel, is an original artwork.
The central concept is one seldom seen in luxury fashion. Here, fashion is being used as a “fun, playful” channel to encourage and democratise conversation around art outside of the traditional gallery spaces it’s normally experienced (let’s be honest, quite a few people will still be shut out of the conversation here – but it’s a definite improvement). And, as Sandra Mardin has written for Libertine, the handbag has always been a powerful cultural symbol, whose evolving design carries hidden meaning about gender roles and social status.
In this case the bag is a unisex, deceptively minimal conduit to the art which renders it unique. The idea of generating chatter and discussion through a glamorous, more mainstream industry is a very clever one indeed (for further discussion on the power of glamour, see here).
Seen at the Venice Biennale this year, it’s also been spotted around London, where last month the international art crowd descended for Art15 and Photo London, the new photography fair at Somerset House. The gallery will be launching at London Fashion Week in September.
Photography Samantha Johnston.