At today's Balenciaga show, designer Alexander Wang presented an unexpected new range of accessories; models walked down the runway carrying a bundle of ultra-luxurious shopping bags, cut in crocodile and patent leather. At first glance, the bags seem like clever commentary on the luxury fashion model: High-end brands like Balenciaga might show clothing on their runways to much fanfare, but in fact these companies make their billions by selling handbags and other accessories.
However, when asked to comment on the items by critic Suzy Menkes backstage at the show, Wang telegraphed simpler intentions: “I love the idea that something as simple as a shopping bag can come in croc!”
Whatever Wang was thinking, it's easy to read meaning into his Balenciaga 'shopping bags.' They appear to play on both the 'it' bag thing and inherant status conveyed by carrying a shopping bag from a luxury store. Fashion companies invest plenty of resources into producing packaging which delivers on the sumptuous, exclusive quality associated with blue-chip brands. In fact, upscale packaging is such an effective marketing tool that in China, shoppers are even known to buy and carry fake shopping bags printed with iconic high-end logos.