‘Dior selected the painting,’ Betty beams with pride, presenting the Lady Dior bag on which resides one of her stunning artworks: Betty Mariani, that is, one of the ten uniquely talented artists with whom the fashion house has collaborated for Dior Lady Art 2. It’s a big ask for a young, unestablished artist - Betty only honed her craft around 2 years ago when she put paint to canvas, having experimented with street art for some years. But therein lies the beauty of this second installment of Dior Lady Art: you may not have heard of the artists, but that only makes it more special.

What’s in a collaboration, anyway? The sharing of ideas? The platform for young creatives? A collectors’ item for the buyers? All of the above, according to Betty. ‘The artists had a lot of freedom - it was specified that we should have a lot of input,’ she says. ‘It really surprised me because it’s Dior, you know?’ We do know, yet this is a Maison built on art and creativity, famed for historic moments fueled by innovation, so perhaps less of a surprise than you’d imagine.

It might also surprise some that the Couture House should opt for a graffiti artist to feature amongst their handpicked roster of talents, but to Betty, it was a challenge that she relished whole-heartedly. ‘Combining these worlds was so interesting to me,’ she says thoughtfully. ‘It was important for me to stay true to street art yet incorporate the elegance of Lady Dior.’ And the woman on the bag? ‘She is one of my friends who played model for my painting two years ago - she’s pretty happy about it now!’

She’s in good company as one of the ‘stars’ of the collection, which features diverse artists from around the world including German-born, LA based Friedrich Kunath, whose bag features an image of a couple kissing. The artist, who draws inspiration from song lyrics to show titles, reimagined one of his best known works - a thick oil paint rainbow stretched in front of an eerie watercolour landscape - on the handles of the bag, with the words ‘Fuck It, I Love You’ written on the bag of a charm resembling a cloud.

Seoul-based Lee Bul, whose incredible installations investigate how visionary notions of progress affect the structure of our world, is rather more experienced in this field: her work is on show at Dior boutiques in Seoul, London and Los Angeles. For this collaboration, the artist took an altogether more conceptual approach, applying dozens of tiny plexiglas mirrors so that the bag would appear a pane of shattered glass. Incredibly, it took over sixty trials to get right, and the result is an exceptional piece of art.

Collectors will be the first to snap these up - Dior Lady Art pt. 1 sold out, so no doubt they’ll be back for round 2 - but others will be rallying to celebrate the coming together of two creative worlds. But are they so separate, after all? ‘For me, fashion is an art, too. When we see Haute Couture shows, the creativity is incredible, and for me that’s an art,’ Betty enthuses. ‘I remember Galliano’s shows: they were crazy, and his clothes were art forms. For me art and fashion are the same thing.’

And Finally x Dior 'Lady Art' from Lucie Beecham on Vimeo

Directed by Lucie Beecham
Colourist Danny Wood @Envyadvertising
Flame Artist Benjamin Horvath Acosta
Edited by Jennifer Tividad @Stitcheditorial
Camera assistant: Toby Edwards