5 designer bags that beat functionality with their fashion quotient

From JW Anderson’s pigeon clutch to Coperni’s air bag, would you buy any?

Harper's Bazaar India

Ever so often we come across a fashion item so outrageous, so unreal, that we just can't help but feel strongly about it (be it love or hate). Bold accessories have especially had a knack for going viral lately—making them practically inescapable. A few examples that come to mind? MSCHF’s big red boots, Supreme’s thirty-dollar Brick, and the list goes on. Below are some of the most talked about bags in fashion. 

Coperni Air Swipe Bag

Coperni sure knows how to design things that go viral, be it Bella Hadid’s spray-painted dress, a robotic dog on the runway, or most lately a bag made air! For their fall 2024 ready-to-wear collection, one glowing accessory totally stole the show: the Air Swipe bag, made from the lightest solid material on planet Earth. Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, with the help of researcher and professor Ioannis Michalous, created the Aerogel Air Swipe Bag. It is a bag basically made of air. Prior to becoming fashion’s latest breakthrough, silica aerogel was used by NASA to collect cosmic dust, because the material can withstand extreme heat and pressure of 4,000 times its weight. It’s been described as very delicate yet not fragile—and we immediately need one!

Balenciaga Trash Bag Pouch

Thanks to Balenciaga, the phrase "you're trash" may actually come off as a compliment—especially if the person's carrying the brand's new trash bags. In 2022, Balenciaga launched its infamous "Trash Pouch", a handbag that Demna seemingly admitted is directly inspired by the humble garbage bag. Coming in blue, black, and white colour options, Balenciaga's latest handbag looks almost identical to the trash bags I pass by during my city commutes. Made out of calfskin leather and emblazoned with a subtle logo, the pouch has certainly been subject to a fair share of trash talk (pun intended). 

Microscopic Handbag by MSCHF 

Experimental brand MSCHF took the micro bag trend to the next level with this microscopic Louis Vuitton bag. It’s so small it’s only slightly bigger than a crumb. The itty-bitty bag is made of photopolymer resin that it’s comparable to about a speck of dust. The miniature bag is modelled after Louis Vuitton’s monogram OnTheGo handbag– however, MSCHF reportedly did not get permission from the French house, so it’s not an official collaboration. Sounds like a silly investment? Maybe it helps to know that the bag is more of an art piece than a wearable accessory. The brand is releasing the item as a statement on luxury bags and the extremes people will go to wear them.

JW Anderson Pigeon Clutch

Often referred to as the rodent of the sky, who would have thought that a pigeon could receive a high-fashion makeover? Well JW Anderson did exactly that when he put out his Pigeon Clutch. With no gems or frills, the 3D-printed clutch presents pigeons exactly as they are. That might also be why people are so bemused by its existence. Even Carrie Bradshaw was famously spotted with the bag in Season 2 of And Just Like That… Anderson presented the bag in his Fall 22 collection, admitting that the inherent lack of glamour surrounding the pigeon was what made it a spectacle on the runway. It was undoubtedly funny to see a pigeon turned into a functional object like a clutch—so it’s safe to say I was beyond amused when my friend saw someone carrying this clutch on the London tube last week. 

Valentino Micro Bag

When Lizzo carried a white micro Valentino bag to the 2019 American Music Awards, she truly made an impact that paralleled the allure surrounding Jacquemus’ Le Chiquito bag. Mini bags were officially welcomed into the world of fashion. The little purse bore a V monogram and dangled gently from her fingers—perhaps it looked even smaller in size as compared to Lizzo’s long acrylic nails. It looked as though it could fit a breadcrumb, a single mint, and maybe a single coin. Though it required a magnifying glass to see it, her fellow accessories were still made to match the viral bag. The internet can’t get enough of this macro trend of micro bags!