What they have now, exactly, involves a medium that Koons has never worked with before: handbags. Specifically, about a dozen Hermès Birkins of varying sizes and colors. These are no "ordinary" Birkins (if such a thing exists)—they have been donated by Marc Jacobs, Sofia Coppola, Diane von Furstenberg, and others, and will be incorporated into Koons's works for the auction. "I wanted to have people participate so that it's not just about writing a check," says Kuzmicheva-Uspenskaya, who was born in St. Petersburg and currently lives in Paris with her husband, businessman Alexey Kuzmichev, and their five-year-old son. "It's about people giving something tangible and significant, that they have an attachment to," she explains. "The Birkin bag is a symbol of luxury that everyone recognizes."
"I wanted to make a work of art that could be in a museum and that I could be proud of." —Jeff Koons
For Kuzmicheva-Uspenskaya, November's event is only the beginning: She will soon enlist more artists for Project Perpetual's donation-led initiatives. "People could give lipstick—I don't care," she says. "When you give up an object of value and then an artist transforms it, I believe it will touch people." Or, with Project Birkin, they can carry it.