19 Apr Balenciaga’s Ikea-bag knockoff is even dumber than it looks
Generally, you hear about fast-fashion brands like H&M and Zara copying looks from the Paris and New York runways. But Balenciaga has done the opposite.
“Today” reports that the fancy French label — considered the plus ultra of chic, fashion-forward design — has a new bag, and it looks an awful lot like the big blue carryalls one gets at Ikea.
The Arena extra-large shopping tote is the same blinding blue color, has the same short handles and comes in a “wrinkled, glazed leather” that resembles the Ikea bag’s crinkly material.
The biggest difference? Balenciaga’s homage to cheap Swedish design costs $2,145, which is about $2,144 more than Ikea’s 99 cent bargain.
Of course, this is the kind of thing fashion brands do all the time. Since Yves Saint Laurent brought countercultural hippie flares and bohemian caftans to his couture runways in the 1960s, high fashion has been obsessed with “the street,” or the kinds of things the hoi polloi wear and consume.
John Galliano took this trend to its apex — or maybe nadir — with his 2000 haute couture show for Christian Dior, inspired by actual Parisian hobos.
More recently, Jeremy Scott’s collections for his own label and for Italian luxury brand Moschino have cribbed motifs and designs from mass, non-fashion brands like McDonald’s, Hershey’s and Barbie.
But lately, designers have gotten particularly lazy.
Instead of infusing their collections with the stuff of “the street,” they’re pretty much offering the same things you would get at the mall or — in Balenciaga’s case — at Ikea.
In 2015, Givenchy released a pair of black lace-up clunkers that looked like a rip-off of the iconic Dr. Martens worker boot.
Meanwhile, 2016 was the year of the Teva, with brands ranging from Prada to Chanel to Dion Lee coming up with their own (much pricier) spins on the sport sandal.
This year, Vetements — whose main designer is also Balenciaga’s current creative director — has collaborated with Hanes to create a series of barely distinguishable versions of the brand’s classic undershirt at wildly inflated prices.
It’s not clear whether the Ikea shopping bag directly influenced Balenciaga’s new tote. But the idea of a luxury tote that mimics the kind of carryall that shoppers schlep around at the market or hardware store isn’t new. Ten years ago, Marc Jacobs, then designing for Louis Vuitton, created a high-fashion knockoff of the checkered nylon shopping bags once offered at Chinatown’s Pearl River Mart for $5.
So, Balenciaga isn’t even originally derivative!
At least Ikea doesn’t seem to mind. The company told “Today” that it was “deeply flattered” by the comparison, adding, “Nothing beats the versatility of a great big blue bag!”