It seems as though there are few animal-derived materials from which a designer has not attempted to make a handbag at some point. We’ve seen a zillion different versions of leather and fur, comprising almost any animal you can somehow raise on a farm, plus eel and stingray. Missoni makes a bag partially comprised of the skin from chicken feet. There is nothing new under the sun.

Except for maybe horsehair. It’s been used for centuries to make bows for string instruments, but Akris appears to have cornered the modern market on luxury horsehair purses with their line of Akris Ai Tote Bags. As far as I’ve been able to find, other brands have used horsehair to accent their designs, but this is the first bag in a while to use the material as the main attraction. The upside is that using the material doesn’t harm the animals in any way; the downside, unfortunately, is that the medium version costs a whopping $4400.

Horsehair is an interesting material for sure. I played classical strings for the better part of a decade, so I know how even and uniform it can look when treated and pulled tight, and it’s more or less endlessly renewable. The weaving on these bags looks impeccable and the simple style of the bags has already inspired lots of knockoff totes in less interesting materials. For the price, perhaps one of those is your best bet. The idea intrigues me, but I can skip it for that kind of money. With $4400, you’re well on your way to a Birkin. Buy through Saks for $4400.

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