Earlier this summer, Balenciaga nearly broke the internet with its ironic handbag introductions. The first was its $2,145 Extra Large Shopper Tote bag, which consumers quickly identified as a rip off of the 90 cent Ikea Frakta bag. The comparison prompted a slew of internet memes and a comical response from the Swedish furniture store itself, explaining how to identify a genuine Frakta. Just two months later, the designer introduced a $1,100 leather shopping bag in collaboration with Parisian retailer Colette. Although the tote looked exactly like a paper shopping bag, it quickly sold out online.
Surprisingly, luxe, leather bags that look like cheap shopping totes have gone beyond an internet infatuation and grown into a full-blown trend. At the recent Coterie trade show, Alice & Olivia presented bags that looked just like plastic grocery bags, wearing statements like “Opening Hours” and “Thank You for Using Me!” Kendall & Kylie also offered an assortment of variations on their Duchess Shopping Bag in satin and sequins. Hayward also has similar, shopping-bag styles that retail for $800 to $1,800.
Similarly, this Marie Turner Lunch tote brings new meaning to brown bagging it, made from plush pebble leather and retailing for $345.
Variations of the trend have been cropping up across spring runways, from totes with a reusable grocery bag feel at Jeremy Scott to simple pouches at Zadig & Voltaire and clutches at Moschino that look like paper envelopes.