Fashionista twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have extended their sartorial reach to the art world with an exclusive collaboration with Damien Hirst. The sisters have teamed up with the British artist to design a range of luxury backpacks for their label The Row. This one-off collaboration marks the first in a series of “curated artistic partnerships” conceived of by online fashion retailer Just One Eye. Commenting on their latest venture, the Olsens said: “Their unique approach to artistic collaborations is inspirational.”
Hirst has reimagined the Olsens’ famous black patent leather Nile crocodile rucksack in twelve unique designs, maintaining the original body of the bag though treating it to his unique twist (or twisted aesthetic depending on your perception), embellishing the designs with an assortment of prescription pills and his iconic spot motif in gold, black, grey and multicolour. Due to be produced in limited quality, each bag will also feature the added trait of the artist’s own signature on a designer-stamped gold plated brass hardware. It’s like The Valley of the Dolls meets Sex and the City in a bag; excess in every element.
Just One Eye co-founder Paola Russo asserted her admiration for the Young British Artist whose fascination with death has dominated his career from the controversial taxidermy farm animals on show at London’s Tate gallery to his choice of medicinal drugs strewn across this style series. “We are long-time admirers of both Damien and The Row’s work,” said Russo. “Our main focus here is to nurture work between artists working in different mediums. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better way to debut this series of partnerships.”
The simple spot-strewn canvas has become something of a trademark of Hirst, as have the use of pills in a selection of his works including most famously Lullaby Spring. The work, a steel cabinet containing over 6,000 pills, set the auction record for the most expensive work of art by a living artist when it was purchased by the Emir of Qatar for $19.2 million in 2007. As high prices go the original Nile bag, sold out online and in-store despite its $35,000 (£21,800) price tag, however the Hirst range is said to be priced at $55,000 though some sources affirm it will be priced on application, with a percentage of each sale going towards UNICEF.
The collection will be produced in Italy and each bag will feature small gold-plated feet at the base, zips, pockets and straps as well as an internal detachable handle, making them the ultimate coveted works of wearable art.