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March 27, 2017

Okay, it’s official: the folks over at Balenciaga are officially the biggest trolls of the fashion industry. After making headlines last year with their hilarious Thailand-inspired tote bag, the French luxury house is back at it once again with their recent “Blanket Square Extra-Large Leather Tote”, which — as numerous people have already pointed out — kind of looks like the plastic casing that you keep comforters in. And we’re not even talking about the atas kinds that you get at Robinsons…no, these are straight up the ones being sold at those makeshift stores you see outside the NTUC of a heartland mall.

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(The resemblance is uncanny.)

There might have been the off-chance that the bag was the product of some overlooked design blunder, but it looks like the brand is fully aware of what they’re doing — on the product page of online retailer Net-a-Porter, the description reads “finding beauty in the every day, Balenciaga’s oversized tote is inspired by classic blanket bags.” It goes on to make lofty statements like “crafted in Italy from mineral-tanned textured-leather,” but all the buzzwords in the world aren’t going to change the fact that our grandmothers were already rocking the look about twenty years ago and we probably have several of these lying in our storerooms.

Perhaps what really annoys us is that the tote comes with a whopping $4,900 price tag, and we’re willing to bet that people are actually buying them out of irony or a blind attempt to keep up with the trends (heck, the Balenciaga website is already down to its last piece). This kind of consumer behaviour sets a precedent that luxury brands can slap their name on any common household item, charge us a small fortune, and get away with it. What’s next? Louis Vuitton salt shakers? Gucci grocery trolleys?

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(part of the Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, $4,500)

Of course, this could all be one big, elaborate marketing strategy that we’re all playing into without even realising — it might have been Balenciaga’s plan all along to create products so outrageous that it thrusts the brand back into the spotlight, and it doesn’t hurt to make a few bucks while they’re at it too. Considering that we’re writing an entire article about them right now, you might say that they’ve succeeded in getting our attention, and there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

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What we’re really worried about, however, is that these “joke” products will normalise lazy, questionable designs, and to an extent, they already have — shortly after the release of the “Thailand” bag last year, designer shoe brand Golden Goose unveiled a £275 pair of “deliberately damaged” sneakers, rocking a (very) pre-worn look that’s fashioned with — get this — duct-tape. We certainly can’t speak for everyone, but for those prices we want a product with some actual sartorial thought put into them, y’know? Leave the tongue-in-cheek products to the good folks at Naiise or something.

 

Personally, we can’t justify paying thousands of dollars for what we’re going to call pasar malam fashion, but at the end of the day, who are we to tell people how to spend their money, right? At the very least, the memes on the Internet have provided us naysayers who don’t “get it” with something to laugh about for a few days, so we’re just going to shake it off and hope that this isn’t a trend that’s here to stay.

Header image: Balenciaga Facebook Page