When it comes to fashion, trendsetting is a serious business. Brands and designers constantly strive to outdo each other in the race to create either downright genius fashion statements (that even non-fashion enthusiasts would be interested in) or head-scratching ones that would make you go, “What was the fucking reason?”
But just when you thought you’d seen it all, MSCHF (a.k.a. the American art collective behind the “Astro Boy”-inspired Big Red Boots) comes along with its latest stroke of (questionable) creativity: The Microscopic Handbag. Uh-huh, we’ve officially reached a new pinnacle of fashion madness, and it comes in the form of a bag so minuscule it’s practically invisible to the naked eye.
It’s MSCHF’s extreme take on the mini-bag trend with a ridiculous size of 657 x 222 x 700 micrometers. To put things into perspective, this handbag is roughly the size of a crumb—and it can only probably fit one of these things: a speck of dust, a piece of glitter, or my patience.
Some argue that this is just another ploy to stir controversy and generate buzz. And they aren’t exactly wrong. After all, MSCHF has always been a provocateur in the fashion realm. According to the brand, it’s not meant to be a functional accessory. Oh no, it’s way too avant-garde for that. It’s an art piece—a profound statement about our obsession with luxury bags (and the absurd lengths we go to showcase them) disguised as a bag. “As a once-functional object like a handbag becomes smaller and smaller, its object status becomes steadily more abstracted until it is purely a brand signifier,” said the art collective in a press release.
Here’s another tea: The Microscopic Handbag was patterned after Louis Vuitton’s OnTheGo tote bag, but MSCHF reportedly didn’t ask permission from the French fashion house. (Although it wouldn’t be the first time that the brand would be embroiled in a trademark lawsuit, if ever.)
But regardless of the controversies, this tiny handbag will be displayed at 8 Avenue Matignon Gallery in Paris, France from June 20 to 24—encased in a sealed gel case and mounted beneath a microscope. It will also be up for grabs at the Just Phriends auction at Pharrell Williams’ auction house JOOPITER from June 19 to 27. Starting bid remains shrouded in mystery, though.
Anyway, if you’re someone who relishes in the absurdity of fashion and has a deep pocket to own a piece of irony, the Microscopic Handbag is calling your name. Just make sure you won’t misplace it or (God forbid) inhale it accidentally. Now, that would be a statement.
Photos from MSCHF on Instagram