In case you haven’t heard, Paris fashion hit another new low on Sunday (Oct 1) with Balenciaga’s latest crowd shocker: platform Crocs. Yep, the same Crocs that everybody makes fun of – you know, those ‘slippers’ with holes in them “so your dignity can leak out”.
But he isn’t the first to ‘glamorise’ Crocs: last year, Scottish designer Christopher Kane produced a US$590 line of fur-lined and crystal-encrusted Crocs.
This isn’t the first time Balenciaga’s gone a little out of the designer norm. Remember back in April when it hit headlines with its US$2,000 blue leather totes that looked a lot like IKEA’s 99-cent plastic bags? IKEA had a field day with that release.
Balenciaga has designer Demna Gvasalia to thank for seeing the beauty in the banal – or for remaking the clothes of the poor for the rich. Last year, he released a large tote bag – the ‘Bazar’ – that looked uncannily similar to the cheap, oversized striped bags that are traditionally used in Thai markets. The price tag? £975.
Also from Balenciaga is this rather traditional-looking blanket bag – you know, a plastic case that normally holds a gaudily-printed blanket that you may encounter in your grandmother’s closet (or in some Asian homestays). Balenciaga’s Blanket Square tote retails for S$5,420 for the large size here (nope, no blanket included) – prompting many Singaporeans to call it ‘pasar malam chic’.
He’s not alone in drastically marking up the prices of everyday things by giving it a designer twist.
Designer Anya Hindmarch is also into ‘reinventing’ the idea of everyday objects; she makes the humble potato chip packet (or crisp packet if you’re in the UK) into a piece of wearable ‘art’ called the The Crisp Packet clutch – at £1,195.
In 2014, London-based designer Ashish Gupta released a number of designer ‘bags’ that are obviously based on your average supermarket plastic bags. According to the designer, they’re reworked in a flurry of sequins to create distinct sports-inspired wear and accessories for a customer that wants to make a statement. All that for US$500 and above.
In a designer’s world, it’s called ‘art imitates life’, but would you buy into this art that not only ‘imitates’ but inflates the prices of everyday objects?