Cape Town-born Nicholas Hlobo is the only African - out of six contemporary artists - who worked closely with Louis Vuitton's ateliers to add their creative touch to the signature Capucines PM leather handbag.

These six bags form part of the ARTYCAPUCINES limited edition collection, which sees the iconic Capucines leather bag possibly becoming an even more highly coveted collector's item than its monogram counterparts.

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The ARTYCAPUCINES PM Nicholas Hlobo bag is poetically described by the luxury French brand as one which "echoes Louis Vuitton’s Monogram canvas through a flower growing organically from the Capucines PM’s interior. Meticulously attached with hand-laced embroidery, the blue tones and contrasting texture stand out against the bag’s smooth black exterior to create a beautiful, handmade hybrid object". 

And honestly, it's such a striking piece of fashion art that it ought only to be ornamental. 

In an interview with Louis Vuitton, published on Sunday Times Lifestyle, Nicholas revealed that this handbag design is an autobiographical artwork fusing "[Nicholas'] rapport with SA, ethnicity and gender identity". 

The Joburg-based artist also explained the following about his personal interpretation;

"I wanted to mirror the ways I use different materials in my work. I stitch on my paintings and drawings, and my sculptures are created by layering found materials such as leather, tyre tubes and copper pipes.

"I started by looking at the Louis Vuitton motifs, in particular the flower. I felt that I could interpret it as something growing from the bag, literally emerging from it. Bags tend to have clean lines and I wanted to break from that, to introduce bulging elements that do not have a conforming sense, and that are growing from beneath the bag's surface". 

Nicholas Hlobo x Louis Vuitton

Screenshot: Back view of the ARTYCAPUCINES PM NICHOLAS HLOBO 

The limited edition of Capucines bags have not yet reached South Africa's LV stores, but even so, this highly acclaimed artist maintains that seeing his work "walk the streets of places across the world" is both "scary and exciting".

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Other artists who were handpicked alongside Nicholas Hlobo by the French fashion house to reinvent the Capucines, include U.S. artists Sam Falls, Tschabalala Self (below), Jonas Wood (below), Alex Israel and Swiss artist Urs Fischer.  

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