Black Givenchy Antigona Bags aren’t exactly a tough sell; not only has the brand been moving them briskly for seasons, but the ultra-expensive exotic versions sell out before they even hit the sales floor. It’s the kind of bag every designer dreams of creating, because it more or less enables a company to print money for a couple of years. There are limitations to every mega-popular bag, though, and Givenchy might have found one of them when it remade the Antigona in glossy fish skin.

When you think about it, bag designers get their materials from lots of weird animal sources: snakes, lizards, ostriches, sting rays. Logically, using a fish skin with large scales isn’t any different. In the case of this Givenchy bag, the fish is a pirarucu, which hails from the Amazon basin in South America–that’s exotic in every sense of the word. In the past, Alexander Wang has used perch for a selection of bags and shoes, which sounds a little less exciting.

Ultimately, though, the idea of “fish skin” may just not be luxurious enough for high-end consumers. Most people think of fish as smelly, slimy and not entirely pleasing to the touch, which are not exactly the associations a brand wants to create between customers and its leather goods, even if the finished, processed product is aesthetically pleasing.

Despite my more logical instincts, I don’t think I could get my emotional reaction to “fish skin,” as a phrase, in check. I’m not going to be buying this bag, but if you do’t mind the idea of a fish purse, you can have an Pirarucu Antigona of your very own for $3,596 via SSENSE. (My reaction may not be isolated; the bag has been discounted from an original price of $4,495.)

Let us know in the comments how you feel about fish skin as an exotic leather.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Stina Sias

    I would like to know more about these fish- are they raised in captivity and skinned alive like some exotic animals are for their pelts and skins? Or are the skins sold as a byproduct after they’re killed for their meat? I think this bag is gorgeous and I’d love to carry it, but I would have to avoid it out of principle if it was the former :/

    • Guest

      I agree. It doesn’t sound like a byproduct of the fish industry. And the aesthetic is horrible. Looks like a cheap pleather version of a croc embossed bag gone all wrong!

      • Stina Sias

        yeah you’re kind of right

    • Amazona

      I wouldn’t mind carrying one – the Finnish company Viona Blu makes gorgeous bags and accessories! The bags have been seen at the hand of our 1st Lady Jenni Haukio who’s known for her conservative and classical style.

      At least Viona Blu uses the leftover fishskin from food industry. Instead of just chucking the skins away, it’s more ethical to honor the animal by using every bit of it. It kills me to know f.e. goatskins are buried with the animals up here where the leather industry isn’t our forté; the things a talented designer could do with such a gorgeous material!

      Before you hate on me, I’d like to share with you that I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 yrs and prefer ethical choices to anything else. With accessories, there just isn’t much choice so I feel we should embrace every opportunity to make better choices.

      • Tara

        I’m a vegetarian as well, I’ve been so since I was nine years old and I totally agree on byproducts. Out of curiosity though what’s your opinion on calfskin and lambskin? I’m quite conflicted over both…

      • Stina Sias

        I don’t carry either one but I feel okay carrying leather. I don’t eat veal or lamb so I don’t feel right carrying calfskin.

      • Amazona

        I don’t have anything in calf or lambskin so I’d say they are things I can live without and that’s an ethical choice. Especially veal/calf production is so inhumane that I don’t want to support it in any way.

        Forgot to mention that I agree with the earlier commenter – the Antigona looks horrid and cheap!

  • Givenchy Lover

    I like the look, but I wonder how fragile the skin is.

  • Guest

    I’m really into exotic leather – snakeskin, python, stingray. But I don’t like this fish skin. Maybe it’s the pattern, maybe it’s the association of the smell…

    • INMA

      It looks like snake skin. Exactly the same. They don’t smell at all as there is no organic matter to degrade. I don’t like this design but it is my personal taste…Lamb meet is very strong but the handbags don’t smell. That is all prejudice. It is shiny and as strong as from cow or sheep and if from sharks, 5 times stronger than any other. There are some fishes like eel with no scales. They can be treated and be non shining. This is just one example only.

  • FashionableLena

    I would be more worried about the durability of a fish skin.

  • Lea

    Yes. Why not?
    I have shoes made with fish skin like the one called, “Tilápia ”
    From a shoe designer Franziska Hubener.
    She’s a luxury shoes designer who used do have her criations seld by famous departements stores and boutiques around the world

  • jburgh

    Jimmy Choo has been making small leather goods and shoes for a while with salmon skin. I would also be concerned about the durability of fish skin in a large item, unless it is somehow glued to a leather base. I’m not creeped out by fish skin. When you think about it, snakes and gators are way creepier and feared by many. However, I feel the price point should not be as high as python. That is what is preventing the purchase. It should have been priced closer to the high 20s.

  • Crystalicious

    I actually saw the bag at the SSENSE store yesterday. I am not a big fan of exotic leather but I thought it looked quite nice. I didn’t touch it though so can’t comment on the skin.

  • anon

    That’s hard to answer because that bag looks terrible.

    • Sophia

      this comment is life

  • Mel

    NOPE. This is definitely where I draw the line when it comes to exotic bags. No fish bags for me thank you very much.

  • rigidmink

    Yay you did the story! I still think it’s super cool and innovative using something that could potentially be super delicate (since we’re talking about the skin here, not scales). I wonder how it would hold up over time and what care/precautions you would have to take to prevent it from drying out.
    But alas, at the end of the day, I agree with you Amanda! I don’t think I’d be able to get over my gut reaction to the phrase “fish skin”, so I’d probably pass on it despite the iconic structure and intriguing choice of material.

  • mary

    crocodiles smell too, you know

  • JJp

    This bag is a mess.

  • anonymous

    We are alread over-fishing the ocean and due to climate change the ocean is getting warmer&lower pH which causes fish death and death to the great coralriffes. So I think it is unethical to ue fish for handbags. I do think you can do leather, becease we can ‘produse’ animals ourselves and we can give them a good live, and they are not in danger of being consumated to much where to fish do. Sorry for the bad english xD

    • Amazona

      Do you think it’s ethical to produce millions of fish on fish farms every year and throw their skins away? Fish are mainly grown and caught in the wild for food purposes.

  • Dagbjört

    looks cheap…”If you´re not buying recycled products, you´re not really recycling”

  • shueaddict

    I am not Vegan, I am Transylvanian; I strongly believe in using up the entire animal as a way to pay respect for taking its life … having said that, this looks like Czech Carp Antigona, you know, after you soak up the huge carp in your bath tub for 3 days to get rid of the mud stink, cook it for St. Nicholas and then say … hmmm, I wonder what I can do with the skin ?

  • Aliza Zibkoff

    I think the Chutzpah is in charging over 4 grand for fish skin!! Just because you can make leather out of anything means you should!

    • Amazona

      Fishskin requires a laborous process to get it in the shape where it can be used for bags etc so it’s understandable that it costs more than basic leathers. Having said that, I do agree the Antigona is hideous in both price and looks.

      • Aliza Zibkoff

        Understood about the processing cost. But still ITS A FISH!! A stinky, scale covered fish. Even certain snakes skins are not that expensive.

  • Flaw

    I think the glossy finish makes it look sort of cheap and slimy to me, in a matte finish I might think of it differently

  • Mari

    This company has been making beautiful eel-skin wallets and purses for a long time, very popular in Scandinavia at least! I would love a bag in a fish exotic, feels very exclusive!

  • Why not? What’s the difference with eel, stingray, croc or python? I guess I’m the only one who would carry this bag. I really like the large scales. But would I pay this much for an Antigona? No.

  • Jason Wan

    I rather have the skin deep fried so I can eat it with the fish… is it salmon or is it barramundi?