HIGHArt is Highsnobiety's ode to all things artistic. From our “museum store” pop up in Miami, a print magazine, and exclusive content and product with collaborators like Chito, Honey Dijon, Parra, Matt McCormick and more, we’re going deep on the art world. Explore HIGHArt here.
Artistic merit isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind when buying a new handbag, but with nicchi, art is firmly engrained within the brand's DNA.
Boomblaster Infinity Pool Dragon Toes Bag
Nora Turato x ECCO Leather x Nicchi x Highsnobiety
Launched in September of this year, the Amsterdam-based brand was born from its founder Nicholas Riis' malais with the art world. "I come from a sculpture background. But I got sick of days alone in the studio making one-off fragile works of art, most of which would come back to storage after a few months in a group show," he explained. "With nicchi I can still make beautiful objects, but be in charge of the context." Instead of being beholden to the whims of curators, Riis can still create work, but have it be on his own terms. An added bonus is that he gets to step away from working alone, and focus on finding exciting collaborators, "working with people is so much more fun than the solo artist practice," he explains."
For HighArt, Riis did exactly that. Officially called "the Highsnobiety x Nora Turato x Ecco Leather x Nicchi - Boomblaster Infinity Pool Dragon Toes Bag," the hard-to-say name underscores the collaborative effort to make this piece. Working with Nora Turato (who happens to be Riis' wife), Riis, alongside nicchi's Art Director Sam de Groot and Illustrator Nicolai Schmelling, created an alter ego based on the artist — Nonora the Ambitious Dragon. As Riis describes her: "A boney, ambitious, clumsy creature who rarely looks up from her phone. A sweet soul who can’t help but express herself brashly. Crushing cocktail glasses and breathing fire."
"We created a few short comics, with sentences we found in Nora Turato’s Pool, a series of books, the 5th title being released soon during her MoMA show in New York in January," he continues. "In the comics we find her lying by the pool of the luxury hotel The Last Resort. Talking to bellboy nicchi, humblebragging about her upcoming show at the MoMA. Or rehearsing her performance out loud for everyone to hear."
"The same way we created a nicchified version of Nora, we made a nicchified version of Nora's work. This was digitally printed by Ecco Leather onto a pure white hide. To then be cut up and made into Boomblaster Infinity Pool."
Moving from sculpture to hand-crafting leather was a big jump for Riis who previously had no pattern making or leather training. "When I first had the idea of moving from sculpture to making bags, I was sure I wanted to learn how to actually make a ‘proper’ bag. Not just draw one and send it to a manufacturer/factory. It seems to me that in order to design something unique, you should understand the limits and possibilities of the material you work with."
Each limited-edition, handmade bag is made with Ecco Leather and features a custom-printed cow leather with pigskin lining and all-leather handle. The project brings to mind the large hand-painted Birkin collection Ye gifted to Kim Kardashian (including the infamous one painted by an infant North West) and funnily enough, the brand's founder describes the piece as "if Hermès and Pokémon had a baby." Safe to say, we're obsessed.