I get the joke but also the joke is quietly driving me insane
I have been doing my best to ignore the Jacquemus La Chiquita Bag. On a certain level, that’s not great, because at least until the end of this week, it’s my job to exhaustively cover the accessories industry, and this bag keeps popping up in famous hands—Priyanka Chopra, Dua Lipa, Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Selena Gomez, and Emily Ratajkowski have all carried the bag, and the list goes on. On another level, I have to safeguard my own mental health in a world that seems hell-bent on stressing me out, and this bag stresses me out.
If you’re unfamiliar with Jacquemus, it’s an experimental French label designed by 28-year-old Simon Porte Jacquemus that has garnered a wider following than brands of that description usually do. A not-insignificant part of its success has been how well the brand plays with traditional ideas of scale and proportion, but in a way that often feels more wearable than you’d expect. In general, Jacquemus doesn’t sacrifice the woman in the clothes in favor of whatever large creative or intellectual point the clothes are trying to make, which is probably why the La Chiquita bugs me so much—it feels like it crosses that line by failing to meet the primary function of a handbag, which is to hold stuff.
Instead, this bag posits an alternate primary function of the designer handbag, which is to adorn an outfit and nothing more. At four inches wide, four inches tall, and two inches deep, this bag will hold about as much as my small wallet does (but not the wallet itself), as well as the two keys required to get into my apartment from the outside world. At that size, it’s nearly two inches more narrow and a half an inch shorter than the Fendi Micro Peekaboo, the last micro bag to give me this kind of agita. But what can go in the bag is irrelevant, because that’s not what it’s for.
A fair number of celebrity stylists really hate having to dress their clients for events and include a bag, because the presence of a bag is a nod to the necessity for function during a moment where they’d prefer a tableau of pure fantasy. A bag this tiny allows bags as a concept to be distilled down to their ornamental essence, which means it’s more of an idea than a useful accessory. And that’s why you see so many celebrities carrying it: for the aesthetic. That, and because they always have a personal employee just off camera, holding their phone for them for the duration of the evening. The ability to carry a bag this tiny implies the ease of wealth that its price doesn’t entirely telegraph by itself. (One of the bag’s redeeming factors, in my mind, is that costs well under $1,000.)
For the rest of us without assistants and security details to carry the stuff that actually goes in our bags every day, the bag is basically a nonsensical fashion object made to remind you of the more inane parts of the industry that most actual consumers try to ignore. That’s part of the joke too, though—that the bag takes an idea to its logical extreme, to remind us how often that happens in fashion. The bag was probably designed, at least in part, to make me feel like I’m going a little bit nuts for participating in any of this. And if that’s the case, it’s doing its job.
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