May 3, 2017
Footwear and accessories label Christian Louboutin is looking beyond its native France for a charitable collaboration focused on retaining skill and craft.
The brand’s Mexicaba “treasure tote” bags were created in collaboration with Fundación Haciendas del Mundo Maya’s Taller Maya, which gives artisans a place to gather, helping to preserve time-honored techniques that might otherwise be lost without this community. In addition to commissioning work from these artisans, 10 percent of sales of these handbags through Christian Louboutin's channels will go back to the organization, allowing it to continue its work in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Mexicaba is a follow-up to last year’s Africaba bag.
The brand developed a vibrant tote bag in collaboration with Mr. Louboutin’s friend Valérie Schlumberger and La Maison Rose, a house in Dakar that shelters vulnerable women and their children and educates the mothers in skilled embroidery. Through sales of the Africaba bag, Christian Louboutin is giving back to La Maison Rose’s programs, allowing fashionistas to make a marked difference along with a sartorial statement (see story).
After its collaboration with La Maison Rose, Christian Louboutin has turned its attention to Mexico.
"You only need to visit my house and see all the stuff I’ve brought back over the years to know I really love the diversity of Mexican design,” Mr. Louboutin said in a brand statement.
“The heritage is so rich, from the indigenous side, to the arrival of the Spanish, to the melange when these come together,” he said. “I love the embroideries, the colors, the pagan motifs of wild animals that are a little naive, and all the images of death, taken in such a light way, it isn’t scary anymore."
Taller Maya artisans
Taller Maya works with artisans in remote villages, providing workshops where the mostly female workers can gather to create. Establishing these spaces not only gives them a place to work, but also builds the feeling of community.
Along with preserving and sharing techniques such as cross stitch embroidery and weaving, these workshops act as a livelihood for the artisans. Additionally, workers’ schedules take childcare and family requirements into account.
The Mexicaba tote features panels with detailing such as handwoven cotton, bone beads, Mayan embroidery and wooden beads with painted images of wild beasts.
Even with the focus on Mexico, the handbags also involve production in both Italy and Paris, making this project a global celebration of craft.