There are the pieces in your wardrobe that have their own allure, but what about one that literally sparkles and shines? Thanks to the latest collaboration by designer Lisa Perry and artist Leo Villareal, you can now have a bag with an aura all its own. The two have worked together to create Scintillator, a clutch that is encoded and powered by LED lights to create a dazzling sequenced and illuminated light display.
“Who wouldn’t want to carry a bag that you can turn on and off!” Perry told us of Scintillator, which contains 120 individual lights. Powered by Villareal’s signature computer algorithms, the clutch cycles through a variety of light patterns and designs, all reflected in mirrored nickel-plated brass.
The collaboration was a first for both Perry and Villareal, merging the worlds of technology, art, and fashion. Perry has long been noted for her affinity for clean lines, geometric shapes, and bold colors, while Villareal’s light-based installation pieces can be seen in the permanent collections of museums around the world and in various public settings. The joint venture is one that pushed the boundaries for both.
“Creating new platforms for people to interact with art is an important aspect of my practice,” Villareal said. “Both my monumental public art commissions and this small, functional sculpture create opportunities to connect with a larger audience.” The artists also drew parallels between the clutch and his previous—though much larger—works, including the installation he did on the Bay Bridge. “I often refer to my 1.8 mile long The Bay Lights as a digital campfire that brings people together. Scintillator functions in the same way, but at a more intimate scale. The collaboration with Lisa resulted in an artwork that can be held in one’s hand and transported as its owner travels with it.”
Created in a numbered, limited-edition of only 75 pieces, a portion of proceeds will support the CFDA’s Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, an investment fund to nurture and support fashion manufacturing in New York.
We recently spoke with Perry get the inside scoop behind the clutch and the design process that led to it. Read on to learn more about the bag, then head over to Barneys to bring this wearable art piece to your own wardrobe or gallery—or both!
The Window: It’s no secret that you’re a lover of art—what draws you to Leo’s pieces?
Lisa Perry: I have been a collector of Leo’s work for quite some time. I’m not a huge fan of light art in general, but since his patterns are random, I can stare at them for hours without getting bored. They are hypnotic and mesmerizing, and the way he uses color and light sequenced by a computer program is genius.
What was the jumping-off point for this collaboration?
Leo created a wall piece in my home, and I had been staring at it thinking how cool it would be to do a mini version of it for an evening bag that could double as a sculpture.
Were there technical elements Leo brought to the table that you hadn’t considered from a design point of view before?
Definitely! The whole process is very complex and took about two years from our first conversation to finished product. There are a lot of mechanics, including creating a printed circuit board inside the bag.
Did you have a muse in mind when creating this piece or is there anyone you’d love to see carry it?
I have no particular muse in mind, but I would like to see it on a modern woman who appreciates the beauty and uniqueness of wearable art.
We often see bright colors in your designs, so how was the all-white color for the lights decided upon?
All white and silver is actually very “Lisa Perry.” Maybe there is a colored version in our future
Why the name Scintillator? Did this title come from you or Leo?
This brilliant title came from Leo! He is always on the look out for interesting words that describe light.