Dozens of people have taken to social media to accuse creative director Demna Gvasalia of “legal theft”, describing “high fashion [as] a joke at this point” after the aptly-named accessory was made available on the label’s website.
The shiny drawstring bag, made out of calfskin leather, is emblazoned with a subtle logo (to differentiate from … the ones us commoners buy off the shelves of Coles) and comes in black, white, blue, red and yellow.
Asked about the bags backstage in March, where they debuted, Demna joked to balenciaga/review/?sub_action=logged_in” title=”wwd.com”>WWD that he “couldn’t miss an opportunity to make the most expensive trash bag in the world, because who doesn’t love a fashion scandal?”
Given the furore on Twitter, he certainly got his wish.
“A trash bag purse – @BALENCIAGA deliberately sells ultra expensive signals of low status,” one user wrote.
“The rich buy them to differentiate themselves from the middle class, who are afraid to wear them for fear of being mistaken for low class.”
“I’m convinced Balenciaga is a social experiment because there is no way they are charging 1.8K (US) for a trash bag???” said another.
“Idk how to feel about @BALENCIAGA and their new ‘Trash Pouch’,” tweeted a third.
“I’ve been wearing this exact look for YEARS taking out the trash Sunday nights. Winter ’22 my right eye!”
“What is Balenciaga gonna do next? Bottle up some air and sell it for $999. They’re doing too much with those trash bags,” said another.
“Whoever buys this needs to be thrown out of it.”
At Balenciaga’s March show, models trudged through a fake winter storm lugging the bags, with Demna writing in his show notes that the despair over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine informed the mood of it.
He wrote that he “became a forever refugee” when his family fled the war in his native Georgia, noting the war in Ukraine had “triggered the pain” from his past and highlighted the “absurdity” of fashion week.
“I realised that cancelling this show would mean giving in, surrendering to the evil that has already hurt me so much for almost 30 years,” he said.
“I decided that I can no longer sacrifice parts of me to that senseless, heartless war of ego.”