Carol Bouwer and Esther Mahlangu celebrate ‘local design’ in new collaboration

In a collaboration that celebrates the heritage of South Africa, Carol Bouwer Bags and acclaimed artist Esther Mahlangu have come together to unveil 50 custom Carol Bouwer handbags, each featuring the acclaimed artworks of Mahlangu.  

The exquisite collection, curated by these African pioneers, is considered a standout in both the world of fashion and art.

“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,” says Carol Bouwer, CEO of Carol Bouwer Bags.  

About SA artist, Esther Mahlangu

Mahlangu is known for her bold large-scale geometric paintings that reference her Ndebele heritage. A double winner of the much-coveted Mbokodo Award, Mahlangu was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Johannesburg and Durban University of Technology, she also holds the French Order of Arts and Letters. As she approaches her 85th birthday, Carol in partnership with Amanda Dambuza and The Melrose Gallery are thrilled to present the world with a proudly South African treasure.

“To present Mam Esther with a gift she values so dearly has been such a delight. Upon learning of what Carol and the gallery were cooking, I had to grab the opportunity to partake in such a ground-breaking collaboration. South Africa is rich with natural beauty and it is time we shared it with the world,” Amanda adds. 

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Photo: Supplied

The bags are crafted from locally and ethically sourced python, ostrich and crocodile skin, with some bags featuring a sophisticated python-ostrich skin hybrid.

African arts and luxury

Carol adds, “The manufacturing processes are in line with the United Nations Convention on Endangered Species 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”.

The collection will be launched at The Melrose Gallery in partnership with Boschendal Wines on 20 November 2020, shortly after Mahlangu’s birthday.

“We have long been a supporter of African arts and luxury. We recognise this collaboration as one which celebrates craft and heritage – which are two pillars of our 330-year old estate and could not be more excited for the launch event which will feature our most acclaimed wines.” Says Shirley Van Wyk, Marketing Manager of Boschendal Wines.  

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