The brand has released an acid-green handbag that can only be seen under a microscope
Each and every product that MSCHF launches is an attempt to out-random the last. The $76,000 Birkin-stocks gave rise to Lil Nas X’s blood-infused Nikes, which gave rise to those Big Red Boots, which has now given rise to a speck-sized, acid-green handbag that can only be seen under a microscope. A minuscule version of Louis Vuitton’s OnTheGo tote, the creation is narrow enough to pass through a needle and is “the final word in bag miniaturisation,” according to the brand. Framed as a commentary on fashion’s ever-shrinking accessories (“it has basically become jewellery”) the Microscopic Handbag will be sold at an online auction organised by former Colette founder Sarah Andelman on June 19.
There’s a tendency to overintellectualise MSCHF’s sensationalist approach to fashion – as if its products haven’t been designed with the explicit intention of sparking debate – like all those TikTok futurists who position the Big Red Boots as an example of something called hyperrealism. “It captures the inability to distinguish reality from its representation,” as one forecaster explained. “In a world in which nothing feels real, we’re opting for cartoonish fashions.” It’s not enough that MSCHF should be trading in mischief! It is about AI! It is hyperstitious! It is a radical send-up of consumerism! It is about microplastics! If anything, what we’re seeing is the emergence of fashion as content, where clothes serve no real purpose other than going viral online. The Miscrocopic Handbag serves no practical function. It is near-invisible to the naked eye. It is just a meme.
Kevin Wiesner (the chief creative at MSCHF) didn’t ask for permission from Louis Vuitton to scale down its signature handbag and remains unbothered by the prospect of a potential lawsuit. “We are big in the ‘ask forgiveness, not permission’ school,” he explained. “Pharrell loves big hats, so we made him an incredibly small bag.” The whole thing rides on controversy, using irony to comment on the absurdities of capitalism. But, as Twitter’s favourite cultural commentators would parrot, “satire requires a clarity of purpose and target, lest it be mistaken for and contribute to that which it intends to criticise.” Quite how successful MSCHF’s products have been in criticising the fashion system is questionable – they’ve certainly engendered their own level of consumer desire – but perhaps this doesn’t require much thinking. It is, after all, a bag so small that it barely exists.