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Chanel’s latest handbag? Think again

Concordia alumna’s performance artwork tricks New York fashion community
December 8, 2014
By James Gibbons

Chanel Bagel Bag Chanel Bagel Bag, by Chloe Wise, BFA 13

A handbag, thought to be Chanel’s latest, took the designer’s New York red carpet event by storm. Except for one thing — it wasn’t by Chanel.

The handbag was actually a painted urethane sculpture by Concordia grad Chloe Wise, BFA 13. The creation — which looks like a bagel with a loopy shoulder strap — was worn by actress India Salvor Menuez at the October event.

“I was photographing India with the artwork for an advertisement that would accompany the bag,” says Wise. “We thought it would be funny if she wore it to the Chanel event she was going to, as a sort of performance piece.”

Wise had no idea it would cause such as stir. She explains that websites were posting about Chanel’s new line-up, unaware it was a tongue-in-cheek artwork.

“They were claiming my sculpture was the newest trend for spring,” says Wise. “I found it intriguing that the target of my satirical humour came to accidently embrace the critique of itself.”

Wise says that the work is a comment on fashion, art and consumer culture.

“Bread is a symbol of status and wealth — as are these tiny designer purses from the early 2000s,” she says. “They’re beautiful, though ultimately functionless.”

The New York-based artist — who grew up in Montreal — has done a series of food-related artworks with playful names like Croissant Dior and Louis Vuitton Baguette.

“My work deals with prodding at the art world,” says Wise. A recent series, Literally Me, examines selfie culture. “It’s a magazine of photos of myself posing next to self-portrait paintings.”

Wise’s advice to fellow artists? “Intern and assist artists, that’s where I learned the most” says Wise. “Also, don’t be afraid to make what you want to make.” 

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