Given the musical chairs currently happening throughout the fashion industry, with designers quickly transitioning from one house to the next without so much as a final bow, it was only a matter of mere seasons before Balenciaga got a brand new creative director of its very own. After Alexander Wang put his youthful twist on the brand with sculptural silhouettes and boxy bags, deciding to part ways with the house in 2015, Balenciaga has continued to court a luxe millennial audience, hiring the designer behind cult-favorite Vetements, Demna Gvasalia, to give his tongue-in-cheek take on the French label’s traditional aesthetic. And if the Bernie Sanders-inspired jackets and neon spandex boots-cum-pants he’s sent down the runway weren’t proof enough that Gvasalia is the industry’s foremost fashion troll he’s now bequeathed the world with his very expensive take on Ikea’s traditional 99 shopping bag.
As his interpretation of the DHL shipping uniform-inspired shirts, Champion-esque sweatshirts, and Juicy Couture collaboration velour jumpsuits for Vetements have proven in the past, Gvasalia is all about playing a high fashion joke at the expense of your bank account. Sure you could buy the regular old affordable version of these items, but they wouldn’t quite have the same frantic, hypebeast appeal, which seems to be half of the fun of copping one of these instantly recognizable (and Instagramable) pieces. That and over drafting your credit card, of course, which is where his latest riff off of Ikea’s signature blue tote comes in.
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While anyone who’s ever purchased something from the Scandinavian superstore has likely gotten one of these bad boys to carry home their various Riggas and Färgriks, little did you realize you were in fact carrying the prototype for one of the hottest new handbag designs. Balenciaga may call their new giant blue bag the “Arena Extra-Large Shopper Tote Bag,” but there’s no mistaking that oversize trapezoidal shape, short and long side straps, and glossy blue veneer.
While the luxury brand’s iteration is obviously made out of glazed leather rather than polypropylene, really, all that it’s missing to make it the spitting image of the homegood brand’s bag is their name printed in yellow repeatedly across the handles. That and the quiet, seething rage directed at the person who’s been asking you if you really need another sheepskin throw rug all day that inevitably accompanies the purchase of that bag.
What do you think of the bag? Would you buy the Balenciaga version or are you satisfied with your thrifty Ikea purchase? Sound off below!