When we stumbled upon an Instagram photo of a gorgeous geode-printed Birkin bag, our jaws fell to the floor. We initially assumed it was the ultimate dream bag we could never actually afford . . . until we took a closer look and realized it wasn't a purse but a real piece of art.
Barbara Ségal (aka our new favorite artist) is known for her expertly crafted sculptures that mimic popular fashion items, from purses and dresses to jackets and gift boxes. She carves and chips away at materials like stone and marble until only the perfect piece of art remains (which can take anywhere from two to six months!). To be honest, a lot of them are so hyperrealistic they'll probably make you do a double take.
In her early 20s, Barbara lived in Europe, where she grew to appreciate the architecture of Italy while learning the ins and outs of carving from the best local artisans. After refining her skills and garnering a wealth of inspiration, she headed back to the States, ready to make her mark. "Returning to New York City in the late '70s, I knew I could create whatever I chose in stone," she told POPSUGAR. So she looked to America's most popular fashion icons and infused them with the Renaissance and baroque techniques she learned in Europe. Let's just say the results are pretty darn impressive; she's certainly found her niche.
Barbara explained how her Birkin pieces specifically have a deeper meaning than what meets the eye. "My sculpture reinforces the bag's iconic status, presenting an object that is, by nature, ephemeral and transforming it into an enduring, almost religious, idol for worship," she told us. Her goal is to create "beautiful things that are culturally significant," she said, and we definitely think she's accomplishing that intention.