The Story Behind Rihanna’s Custom Dissona Bag

Rihanna for Harper's Bazaar ChinaRihanna covers the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar China and in one of the shots she sports a custom handbag by Dissona. On trend in it’s miniature size, the bag features jade, which has become Rihanna’s favorite gemstone of late. The brand shared some information about the creation of this very special handbag, which was designed specifically for Rihanna by Li Jing.

Jing is in his early thirties, which is unusually young for a traditional artisan in today’s tech-driven and fast-paced culture. He is dedicated to maintaining and passing on such time-honored Chinese crafts, which have been lost to the modern social and political climate.

The bag’s body is white lizard skin and the handle is composed of jasper beads. The lining inside is made of heavy silk that is 30 momme, which is nearly double the weight and durability of the silk of an Hermès scarf. The natural silk comes from the QIANDAO or “thousand lake” area in the south of China, home of the nation’s finest silks.

In keeping with traditional Chinese culture, each design element has a symbolic meaning. For example, the buckle is a cicada, which “chooses to be quiet until it speaks with great volume and power”. In English, you might say “when it rains, it pours”. And the bag is named “sound” to convey this meaning.

The bag features Hetian jade, a Chinese national treasure that contains microelements that stabilize mood and calm the nerves. During the Qing dynasty, it was forbidden for anyone but the royalty and nobility to wear Hetian jade, regardless of wealth.

Sapphire and emerald were also included in the bag’s design. Jing decided to use less jade once he learned that emerald is Rih’s birthday rock. The inclusion of 0.8-1 millimetres pearls instead of diamonds holds specific importance. They symbolise felicity and good fortune and are preferred by Chinese artisans for the gentleness they convey.

Since the bag is only 10.5cm wide, most of body had to be stitched by hand with a line spacing of just 1 inch. But despite its tiny size, this bag signifies a lot of Chinese history and tradition and represents the designer and Dissona’s wishes for her health and happiness.