Many travelling to south-east Asia might bring back a silk scarf or a sculptural figurine as a memento, but not Christian Louboutin. The shoe designer returned from his trip to the Philippines so inspired by the islands’ joyful people and colourful nature, he launched two striking limited edition bags.
“I have always been captivated by the Philippines’ combination of sparkles, mother-of-pearl and shells,” says Louboutin, “but this project started to make sense when I discovered the richness and quality of the country’s craftsmanship.” The iridescent designs stemmed from the designer’s encounter with Manila’s exceptional female artisans. His admiration for their textile skills is reflected in the bags’ amalgamation of traditional symmetrical interwoven patterns with Louboutin’s signature staples, such as spike studs and the embroidery of his name.
The Manilacaba tote (£1,265), available in blue denim and black satin, celebrates Manila’s flamboyant trucks, the jeepneys. Abandoned by American soldiers after the second world war, these trucks were repurposed for city transport and adorned with vibrant local decorations. The archipelago’s marine wonders were the inspiration behind the shimmering Piloutin Artemistrap evening purse (£9,895). Covered with Swarovski crystals, pearlescent shells and fluffy filaments, it evokes a treasure from the coral reef. Only 10 Piloutin Artemistraps will be available.
The bags were made in partnership with Gender Responsive Economic Action for the Transformation of Women, a philanthropic platform supporting the economic empowerment of women artisans in south-east Asia. For every Manilacaba bag sold, 10 per cent of the profits will be donated to GREAT Women.