Ordinarily, I would use "purse animal" to describe one of the low-weight-class dog breeds that city dwellers carry around in designer shoulder bags. In this case, though, the animals aren't inside Louis Vuitton purses—they're made of them.
For the opening of a new London store in 2010, Louis Vuitton commissioned British artist Billie Achilleos to create a series of animal sculptures. The creatures would be made entirely from leather purses and other accessories. With the fashion house's blessing, the artist began hacking up some pricey bags.
The first set of animals went into glass dome jars in a window display in the new store. Having been sufficiently charmed, Louis Vuitton commissioned even more purse creatures the next year for the launch of its bag-monogramming service.
Achilleos wrote on her blog about choosing the materials for each animal carefully. A noisy grasshopper was made from "products with zips and poppers that make satisfying noises." To build the pragmatic beaver, she used men's wallets and bags.
Scroll through the complete set of purse animals at Louis Vuitton's Facebook album. There's also a making-of video on Billie Achilleos's blog. She created a zoo's worth of creatures, ranging from chameleon to puppy. This kind of purse dog, though, doesn't yap.
Images copyright Patrick Gries 2010, via Facebook.