Balenciaga is raising eyebrows — and getting trashed — over its “Trash Pouch,” a baffling design “inspired by a garbage bag” with an even more outrageous price tag: a hefty $1,790.
The luxury fashion house’s shiny drawstring bag — which is made out of calfskin leather, emblazoned with a subtle logo and comes in the basic Hefty bag black along with the solid Glad-esque white as well as yellow and blue — is making its way to stores after debuting in the Fall 2022 ready-to-wear collection in Paris last March.
“I couldn’t miss an opportunity to make the most expensive trash bag in the world, because who doesn’t love a fashion scandal?” Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia told Women’s Wear Daily at the time.
Now being sold in stores, the “Trash Pouch” has gone viral thanks to an Instagram post that has garnered lots of trash talk, with reactions ranging from puzzled to outraged to fits of laughter.
“Hmm this is rude,” wrote one commenter, while another called out the brand for being full of garbage: “Balenciaga is a meme designer.”
One person questioned whether it was a “social experiment” and another mused, “This getting out of hand.”
“They really trying to make a joke out of the consumers at this point,” chimed in another.
Someone else not amused by the trashy design even warned, “Please dont let theze brandz play you.”
Still, some found the humor in the wacky design. “I got 40 of those under my sink,” one person commented.
One jokester went for the jugular with garbage bag puns, writing, “It’s a CINCH some will be GLAD to own this bag, but they will have to pay a HEFTY price.”
“Whoever buys this needs to be thrown out in it,” said another.
Several commenters compared it to the 2001 comedy “Zoolander” in which Ben Stiller’s character models a collection inspired by the homeless. “This is ‘Zoolander’ in real life with the clothing line Derelict. Where is Mugatu at this rate?”
But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. At least one person plans to buy the bag, simply commenting, “need.”
But Demna, who goes by his first name, said the collection is no joke, writing in his show notes from Fashion Week that despair over the war in Ukraine informed the mood for his runway show, which was attended by Kim Kardashian wearing caution tape.
As WWD pointed out, guests at the Paris show arrived at the venue, which was covered in manufactured snow made out of bits of paper swirling in the air and covering the seats, where Ukrainian flags were prominently placed atop the front row. Models struggled to walk through the makeshift blizzard as the designer’s voice read a Ukrainian poem about love.
Demna wrote in his show notes that he “became a forever refugee” when his family fled the war in his native Georgia, noting the conflict with Russia has “triggered the pain” from his past and highlighted the “absurdity” of sartorial spectacles.
“I realized that canceling this show would mean giving in, surrendering to the evil that has already hurt me so much for almost 30 years,” Demna said. “I decided that I can no longer sacrifice parts of me to that senseless, heartless war of ego.”