Are handbags still intended to hold and carry our everyday items? That’s the question we’re asking ourselves after seeing the latest handbag models from major fashion houses.
From Balenciaga to JW Anderson, these labels seem to be transforming this once-practical accessory into a genuine object of art. Let’s take a closer look.
A pack of chips used as a handbag. It could be an amusing joke … that is if it were a joke. The conceptual design comes from Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga, who, since his arrival at the head of the fashion house, has come up with a host of unusual accessories and clothing items.
After the used, hole-riddled sneakers sold for more than 1 000 euros, or the fluorescent yellow parka evocative of road safety gear, now it’s with a bag in the shape of a potato chip pack that Balenciaga is attracting public attention – as well as some criticism.
Indeed the brand known for its nonconformist styles has never been short on audacity in terms of leather goods. Just think back to its speaker bag and its trash bag with adjustable tie handles, both sold at exorbitant prices, and more recently a huge bag with an attached sleeve for the wearer’s arm.
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And that’s just the beginning. And it all makes us wonder whether handbags have a new purpose. Are they still meant to carry our keys, travel passes, wallet and pieces of ID, or are they now exclusively aesthetic – or unattractive – objects depending on one’s taste? Either far too small to hold our everyday objects, or far too big to be practical for finding anything inside them, these new-generation accessories are prompting questions about their utility.
And let’s face it, Balenciaga is not the only brand to offer handbags that are no longer bags.
The potato chip bag designed by Demna Gvasalia, which is actually the result of a collaboration with the brand Lay’s and is set to sell for the modest sum of 1 800 dollars, is not the only such accessory to have made headlines in recent months.
After unveiling a shoulder bag in the shape of a cap, as well as a coin purse in the shape of male genitals, the house of JW Anderson is now making waves with a pigeon bag for the fall-winter 2022 season.
Recently adopted by fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker, the creation not only adopts the shape of city dwellers’ favorite bird, it can also be carried in the hand like a clutch.
And, let’s face it, this bag is far from being able to accommodate several everyday items. But walking around with a pigeon in your arms is sure to get you some attention. Would that be the new purpose of handbags?
A fashion piece in its own right
We can also mention the dog-shaped or even lobster-shaped bags, by Thom Browne, which the house is bringing back in new versions for the spring-summer 2023 season, and which, although larger, and therefore potentially more capable of accommodating the daily essentials of their wearers, remains much more aesthetic than practical. That’s what’s new about these products.
Designers are no longer content to design bags in rectangular shapes, or tote-bag styles, which are far too classic. These new-generation bags are fashion accessories that constitute front-and-center pieces in their own right.
More than just the final touch to an outfit, the handbag can now single-handedly define a silhouette.
More proof can be found among the numerous accessories, each more unusual than the previous, presented on the Moschino runway during the last Milan Fashion Week.
From the inflatable mattress to the crab and the now-famous biker jacket style bag… the brand clearly set itself apart by offering a string of original bags, for which – once again – functionality seems to take second place to aesthetics and creativity. It must be said that the label, led by Jeremy Scott, is an expert in the field, counting a bag in the shape of a hairdryer among its collections.
Of course, it doesn’t take long for brands and ready-to-wear stores to adopt the trends spotted on the catwalks of the biggest fashion capitals.
If there is just one step from the catwalk to the street, there is no doubt that these new kinds of handbags will soon be snapped up by a public in search of ever more extravagant fashion.
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