Louis Vuitton microscopic handbag
More and more often in the fashion industry we see brands experimenting with their products. We hear, among other things, about record sales of the now famous Balenciaga “Full Destroyed” model – simply a pair of dirty, worn-out sneakers. We are witnessing how the boundaries of what fashion actually is are constantly shifting. One of such innovations that we have recently had the opportunity to experience is less than 0.03 inches wide, a microscopic Louis Vuitton handbag. The bag, although controversial in its format, was sold at auction for over $60,000. So, a debate has flared up in the media once again about what is still a fascinating novelty and what is a false marketing trick?
A creative experiment
Louis Vuitton, wanting to create a product that has never existed before, started cooperation with an American creative company known for creating unconventional and innovative designs. MSCHF, as the company uses an abbreviation, combines elements of art, fashion, pop culture and technological innovation in its activities. Their projects are often provocative and spark discussion in the media world. One of the most famous was the “The Holy Bible” project. As part of it, the group created a limited series of Nike Air Max 97 sports shoes. The shoes differed from the classic model only in that they had pages of the Bible glued to the soles.
The choice of this artistic collective is undoubtedly an interesting move on the part of the luxury fashion house. Kevin Wiesner, creative director of MSCHF, himself stated that he considers “the bag” to be “a fun object because it comes from something rigorously functional”. The brand explains that it wanted to change the traditional concept of a handbag and reduce it to a jewelry function. In fact, the microscopic size of the Louis Vuitton bag resembles jewelry, but what about its functionality?
Louis Vuitton microscopic bag – what was the process of creating it?
The MSCHF group named their creation “Microscopic Handbag” (Luis Vuitton microscopic handbag), claims that it is narrow enough to pass through the eye of a needle and is smaller than a grain of sea salt. Barely visible to the human eye, the fluorescent yellow-green bag is based on the popular Louis Vuitton design, the famous OnTheGo bag. It was made using two-photon polymerization, a production technology used to 3D print plastic parts on a microscale. It was specially sold together with a microscope equipped with a digital display, through which it was possible to see the bag in a slightly larger format. Only then did the characteristic “LV” monogram appear on its surface.
The “OnTheGo” bag model itself has the structure of a tote bag, i.e. a large bag worn on the shoulder. Characterized by rectangular shape and made of high-quality leather or material monogrammed with the Louis Vuitton brand. The bag has a spacious main compartment closed with a zipper and often also has internal pockets that help organize the contents. It is popular due to its capacity, stylish design and recognizable Louis Vuitton brand details such as characteristic monograms, Damier patterns or details made of natural leather.
Small bag, big price
The ‘OnTheGo’ bag currently sells in its full size for between $3,100 and $4,300. However, its microscopic version, put up for auction by Joopiter, an online auction house founded by Pharrell Williams, was sold for $63,750. The difference in price caused quite a storm on the Internet. Internet users were outraged by the absurd amount for such an impractical item and expressed unfavorable opinions in the media about the latest concept of the fashion house.
“As a once functional item such as a handbag becomes smaller and smaller, its status as an object becomes more and more abstract until it becomes solely a brand mark. Previous small leather handbags still required a hand to carry them – they became dysfunctional, inconvenient for their “user”. The Microscopic Handbag takes this to its logical end. A practical object is reduced to jewelry and all its supposed function evaporates; in the case of luxury items, utility belongs to angels” – wrote the brand in response to all negative comments about the new product.
It seems that the microscopic bag is a nod to innovation and technological novelties. It has certainly become the subject of a lively discussion on the functionality of fashion, which has been ongoing for a long time. Perhaps Louis Vuitton wants to show with this product that the boundary between what is fashionable moves along with consumer preferences. And finally, someone bought this tiny bag and paid a considerable amount of money for it.