Deconstructed: Ironic shopping bags

First made by Louis Vuitton in 2007, other luxury brands have also embraced the irony

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 22:  A model walks the runway at the Balenciaga Spring Summer 2017 fashion show during Paris Menswear Fashion Week on June 22, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Catwalking/Getty Images)
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While fashion likes to think of itself as the originator of all ideas, it clearly did not invent irony, but rather was greatly influenced by it. American artist Andy Warhol was making a fairly good career out of all things ironic in the 1960s, when he faithfully duplicated mundane household items, such as cans of Campbells soup and Brilla pads onto canvas, which people clamoured to buy. In 1962, Warhol made Big Campbell's Soup Can with Can Opener, and decades later someone bought it for more than Dh88 million, proving that irony is certainly profitable.

In spring/summer 2007, Louis Vuitton sent a replica of a plastic laundry bag down the runway, as a statement about globalisation. With the original costing about Dh5, the Vuitton version, made with soft leather, was last spotted on The Luxury Closet resale site for Dh2,530.

In April 2017, Balenciaga launched a large blue holdall (pictured) that bore an uncanny resemblance to the Ikea Frakta bag. Made in the same shade of blue, but this time in leather, and 2,150 times the price of the Dh3.6 original, the Balenciaga pretender-to-the-throne did, however, prompt the Swedish homeware store to issue a guide on how to spot an Ikea original – "If it rustles, it's the real deal."

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Céline appealed to environmentalists by embracing the notion of reduce, reuse and recycle by releasing its own plastic bag. A snip at Dh2,166, it certainly throws being charged for plastic bags in the supermarket into a new light.


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