Ramesh Nair, creative director of Moynat Paris, master purveyor of luggage, bags and leather goods since 1849, came across the work of Korean artist Lee Wan several years ago. “His thought process, his technique and his fearless engagement with socially challenging issues intrigued me,” Nair recalls. “I could immediately relate to the depth of research and introspection he brings to his art.”
Nair acquired one of the artist’s works, from the A Diligent Approach to a Meaningless Thing series, and the men met and bonded. Nair was particularly struck by Lee Wan’s engagement with the creation process – the journey of its making and the people that contribute to its realisation – and his commentary on the lack of meaning that industrial production brings to our lives. This is something that lies at the heart of the Moynat ethos, and aligns with Nair’s own views of luxury.
The men decided to collaborate – and the Mini Vanity Diligence is the fruit of that partnership. It is a 3D piece of art that pays tribute to the rare craft techniques that have been kept alive by Moynat artisans over the centuries.
Nair explains: “Having seen how Lee Wan works and the level of detail he brings to his art, I wanted to pay homage by taking our own work to an unprecedented level of sophistication. Instead of simply transferring his motif onto the surface of a bag, I decided to work on several different areas of expertise.
“First, we created the motif by using our signature leather marquetry, where each colour is precisely cut out in different leathers and fitted together like a puzzle. The white lines in Lee Wan’s painting are recreated in metal rails that form a kind of frame,” Nair elaborates.
“These rails lie underneath the leather, which means that our artisans have to slice each leather layer to different, very precise thicknesses so that the final result looks like a smooth, unbroken surface. The Mini Vanity uses the angle-stitch, a rare technique to hand-stitch leather panels at right angles but where the needle passes through the two panels at a 70-degree angle so that the stitches do not show on the inside of the bag.”
The name is befitting, given the level of diligence required to create the bag over a six-month period. Because of this, the Mini Vanity Diligence is only made on request and, even then, a very limited number will be produced.