Over the past several years, we’ve noticed a lot of notable people doing something a bit controversial: embellishing designer bags with drawings, paint splatters, graffiti—you name it. Some people (including some of you guys) take exception to what they see as being careless with a very expensive piece of fashion, but others (including me, usually) are pretty into it. After all, at a point in the industry where pretty much everything is mass-produced, personalizing a bag yourself seems to me like a totally reasonable way to make a piece seem less generic, especially if you’re artistic and it’s a bag you’ve had for a while that could use a second wind.
Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia also took notice of this trend, apparently, and he’s decided to skewer it (as he so often does with trends that spring up from consumers organically and without marketing from brands) by releasing the Balenciaga’s own graffiti-covered version of the iconic Balenciaga City Bag.
This bag is the small size of the design, and it includes plenty of multicolored “customizations” that look as though you might have taken a set of paint pens to the thing yourself while emboldened by the consumption of a medium amount of wine. The bag loses its appeal for me because the thing I like about graffiti-covered bags is that no two are alike, but standardizing a design to look like those bags means that the trend has simply been commodified. And that seems to be the point Gvasalia is makes: there’s nothing fashion can’t metabolize, nothing it can’t pluck from the individual and produce at scale. It’s a smart commentary, but not necessarily one I’d want to carry on my arm.
If you feel differently than I do, shop this bag for $1,995 via Neiman Marcus.
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