Alexander Fury: Supermarket chic? No, just a weakness for stupid bags
Wear, what, why, when?
I have a fetish for bags. Which, as far as fashion confessions go, isn't terribly sensational. Whole dynasties have been built on that kind of fixation, in fact. But my hankering is rather more specific. I like stupid bags. Not stupidly expensive (though, usually, they wind up being that too), but bags that, generally, look like exactly what they aren't.
I have a bag that looks like a scrunched-up carrier bag, in white vinyl by Maison Martin Margiela. I have another, in pale-green PVC from Jil Sander, that closely resembles the kind you get almost-free at Marks & Spencer. I used to have one in Sainsbury's orange plastic. I have a leather one, too, by Prada – but it's simply cut, like Tesco's Finest.
I'm by no means alone: those Jil Sander bags, designed by Raf Simons and dubbed “Market” bags – because they look like something a market stall would put your wares in, rather than something you would buy on one – are ubiquitous. 10 magazine's executive fashion director, Garth Spencer, had one, until his flatmate threw it away in the assumption that it was an especially sturdy but not particularly valuable supermarket number.
That is part of the appeal of these bags for many. There's a knowingness to them, the assumption that you have to be part of the fashion world really to “get” them. There's a lot of hyper-intellectualising about inversions of luxury that could be thrown at my propensity to tote a lump of plastic imbued with cultural capital rather than, say, a lump of crocodile with actual worth in concrete sterling.
But I don't really believe that, especially as my No 1 bag-that-isn't-a-bag choice would be a bejewelled Judith Leiber gewgaw. Perhaps a rhinestone-encrusted aubergine, or a cupcake, or a hinged apple minaudière? I'm not suggesting I'd tote one about. It's neither practical nor attractive for me (alas, I'm not Alexis Carrington), but it would be one hell of a conversation piece. Unfortunately the apple alone is a cool £2.5k. Cultural capital meeting cold, hard cash.
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