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How much would you pay for a brown paper bag? These days, they’re running for five to 10 cents at your local grocery store—unless, of course, what you really wanted was a brown leather bag that just looks like paper, and has the distinction of being from trendy luxury brand Bottega Veneta. In that case, it’ll run you up to $2,500.
It’s not a joke—Bottega Veneta has actually manufactured two leather handbags designed to look just like brown paper bags a store, and it’s selling them for $1,700 at the smaller size and $2,500 for the larger size. They’re described as being made from “paper-like leather” and are lined with suede, with a 4.7″ drop handle also designed to look like the stringy paper handles attached to brown paper bags. Hopefully, these bags are sturdier than their paper counterparts, because aesthetically speaking, they’re exceptionally similar looking.
These bags were designed under the artistic leadership of Mathieu Blazy, another trompe l’oeil design in a series of “wait, what am I looking at” products from the creative director. Blazy has previously spearheaded a whole line of leather-that-doesn’t-look-like-leather products, releasing calfskin socks, jeans, t-shirts, and tanks that look like cotton from afar but up close reveal themselves to be leather goods.
While we love a good leather piece as much as the next shopper, and we appreciate the optical illusion at play here, the brown paper bag does seem a bit like a bridge too far—almost like cosplaying as people who could never afford to spend $1,700 and up on what looks like a shopping bag. If Schitt’s Creek were still airing, the Rose family would own several of these and be forced to explain their value to disbelieving locals. If you’re a Bottega fan, you may appreciate the continuity in Blazy’s vision—but to the casual observer, these are going in the same bucket as MSCHF’s Big Red Boots: entertaining, but not exactly a wardrobe staple.