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Thursday August 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday August 22, 2013 MYT 7:35:26 AM
London-based puppet artist Billie Achilleos has created an animal kingdom using material from Louis Vuitton bags and leather goods.
A WHITE tiger is rare, but a white tiger creation that wears Louis Vuitton is probably even rarer.
This cool dame, stretching 1.8m long, must be the envy of every girl or guy who dreams of owning a LV bag – its sleek body is entirely cloaked in Damier Azur luxury.
Crafted from 160 designer bags, wallets, pouches, bracelets and belts, the White Tiger drew more awe than fear from fashionistas and international press, who were invited to celebrate the inauguration of Louis Vuitton’s newest global store at Seoul Hyundai Coex.
A masterpiece of London-based puppet artist Billie Achilleos, the White Tiger was unveiled in the gallery of Horim Museum in Gangnam in conjunction with the store opening and to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the creation of Damier Canvas. Also on display were visuals of other meticulously crafted animal art works by Achilleos.
To date, the master puppet maker has crafted over 20 animals from Louis Vuitton leather goods, including a frog, porcupine, koala bear, hare and crocodile which have been exhibited in London, New York, Paris, Australia and China.
Not exactly your conventional artist, Achilleos described her work as making “thingamajigs”, light-hearted, fun and a bit strange.
“I’m the type of person who sees pictures in clouds in the sky, or in soap bubbles in the bathtub,” she once said in an interview. “I quite often think I see faces in the flower patterns on the wallpaper. When I started this project, I went into a Louis Vuitton store and looked for animals in the bags.”
For her, a glimpse of a Damier Graphite key holder is enough to conjure an image of a beaver paw while a monogram coinbag can immediately take shape as a grasshopper.
“There are so many interesting shapes to be found when you start folding and manipulating the bags. It’s like handbag origami!” she enthused.
“When I saw a bundle of vivid green vernis purses, I instantly knew they had to be a frog. It was the very first one I made ... and it happened so naturally,” said Achilleos, who personally thought it was the best piece she had made as the products had not been manipulated too much.
For her, crafting huge animals like the White Tiger posed a bigger challenge.
“The larger animals are very puzzling, as they need a good support structure inside to help them stand up. I have to work together with a team to build a good skeleton underneath the bags.”
Achilleos confessed she initially did not see her works as pieces of art.
“I didn’t think that art could be as fun and light-hearted as these creatures have turned out to be. But when an artist I admired spoke to me at the event, I realised that if another artist appreciates what I do as art, then it is art.”
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