Veteran artist Dr Esther Mahlangu recently turned 85 and to celebrate - the artist who is renowned for her bold, large-scale paintings which reference her isiNdebele heritage - collaborated with Carol Bouwer bags to unveil 50 new custom bags.
The luxurious bags, which each feature the acclaimed artworks of Dr Mahlangu, are crafted from locally and ethically sourced python, ostrich and crocodile skin, with some bags featuring a sophisticated python-ostrich skin hybrid.
“The manufacturing processes are in line with the United Nations' Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora guidelines, and production takes place exclusively in South Africa. Job creation in the manufacturing sector is paramount to us and we promote the value of employment in the luxury industry,” said Carol Bouwer, CEO of Carol Bouwer bags.
On working with Mam' Esther, as she’s fondly known, the Soweto-born handbag designer and entrepreneur said that the collaboration was a testament to Africa’s beauty.
“What an exciting time for us to share this bag with the collectors of Mam' Esther’s art, our bag collectors, and the art world at large. The collection is testament to Africa's endowment and beauty, and tribute to the fact that luxury is not foreign to our land. Each bag is a proud display of African ‘craftswomanship’ and pioneering in the sense that luxury local fashion can now be regarded as a collector’s item,” Bouwer said.
A double winner of the much coveted Mbokodo Award, Dr Esther Mahlangu was awarded with an honorary doctorate by the University of Johannesburg and Durban University of technology, she also holds the French Order of Arts and Letters.
This is not Mam’ Esther’s first collaboration, she’s worked with brands such as Belvedere Vodka, Rolls Roys, BMW and many more to add her unique art to their products.
The collection will be launched at The Melrose Gallery in partnership with Boschendal Wines on Friday 20 November, a week after Dr. Mahlangu’s birthday.