CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN'S AFRICABA BAG - CHARITABLE STYLE
TRIBAL JOY AND INVENTIVENESS
In a quest to mix new creative avenues with a good deed, Christian Louboutin has teamed up with his longtime friend Valerie Schlumberger, whose charity project La Maison Rose assists and supports the most vulnerable women and children in Senegal. The result is the stunning handmade Africaba tote, a colorful and exclusive expression of Western African inventiveness, tribal artisanship and artsy handiwork blended with the wit and artistic flair of Louboutin. “In Africa, it’s natural to make beautiful things simply from what is around you, it is necessity which drives creativity,” muses Christian Louboutin.
The bag’s colorful beaded panels, worked in patchwork form, and straps are counterpointed by Louboutin’s iconic spiked details, which also adorn the Grigri bag charm, or a miniature doll wearing traditional dresses from the region, enriched with a distinctive leather-and-spikes Louboutin touch.
The proceeds from sales of the bag will support the foundation. “Developing this project was very different from the normal Christian Louboutin process where we have a sample made and then replicate it perfectly,” says Louboutin. “Here instead we had an idea but we made it very clear that it had to be the artisan’s interpretation to create the final design. It is not about perfection. The charm is in the idiosyncrasies and slight differences which emerge when you are working with people who make things by hand.”
The two longstanding friends also shared insight in their relationship, the project and vision:
Christian on Valerie
What particularly interested you in Valerie’s work?
The selling of the products to raise money for charity is fantastic but with Valerie it was also a way to give a bigger contribution by giving wider exposure to Africa and their tradition of artisanal craftsmanship. Her interest is very much with the fate of these artists, appreciating and nurturing their unique talent.
What do you think of the work produced by the artists and artisans?
I have admired the color and graphic expression in African art and crafts for a long time. Artisanship and art are quite linked in Africa, the artist is surrounded by discarded things and with a child-like instinct, they see how you could use it to create something new, a natural sense of ecology, of reuse and repurpose.
Valerie on Christian:
When did you first meet Christian?
“I met him over 30 years ago and it was a real thunderbolt. Christian attracted me both for his intelligence, boundless creativity and exceptional sympathy.”
What would you like to achieve for La Maison Rose through this project?
Firstly a beautiful bag - each panel is different, every detail stunning, each bag unique. However this collaboration will also allow us to strengthen our professional training structure as we will open a much larger workshop, which will train more women, ensuring them a trade and employment.
What is the purpose of La Maison Rose?
It helps young women and girls in severe difficulty, often with small children or pregnant. La Maison Rose offers them a welcoming home, listening and care.