This year, and since 2008, the Lady Dior has shared the spotlight with Marion Cotillard, its Oscar-winning muse, photographed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino in the new advertising campaign unveiled this week. It's just a few kilometers outside Florence that the legendary bag is made, and entirely by hand. From the most timeless models in lambskin to alligator or hand-painted python, everything begins with the choosing of the skins. The precise process of selection always follows the same ritual; touching, examining, scrutinizing and then circling each imperfection with a finger-raced mark. The leather has to be perfect. Next comes the cannage or grid pattern step, taking up the pattern from the Napoleon III chairs - present in the Dior salons for the first show on the 12 February 1947 - which is stitched into the bag leather. Firstly, the craftsman assembles the handles, glueing the leather to the cork, fixes the edges together, and skillfully taps the whole with a round-headed hammer. The Lady Dior is then assembled around a wooden form made to its exact proportions, then its sides are reinforced with bands of leather, ensuring it maintains its perfect shape. Now it's the turn of the metal pieces which serve to finish off the bag: the charms (the four letters spelling D-I-O-R), the zipper, the grommets, and the feet (so that the leather never touches the ground). Each detail, however minute it might be, contributes to the beauty of the whole; the "Christian Dior" stamped in gold on the leather circle hanging next to the charms is a perfect expression of this. Before being approved, cleaned and protected, the bag is methodically checked and quality controlled. One hundred and forty-four pieces go into the making of a Lady Dior, matched by a correspondingly high level of patience, passion, precision and excellence.