Bottega Veneta’s $1.9k Brown Bag Ain’t Made of Paper

Under Mathieu Blazy’s creative direction, Bottega Veneta has constantly cranked out bags both killer and clever, ranging from plush shoulder bags that deserve to be taken on the road to totes that look like bookstore shoppers.

Now, the next step in #NewBottega’s legacy of beautiful accessories is… a $1,900 brown bag.

It shouldn’t have to be said, though, that Bottega Veneta’s brown bag isn’t made of paper; it instead upholds Bottega’s recent zeal for remaking quintessential staples out of plush leather.

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Socks, shirts, tank tops, jeans, and, finally, the brown shopper have all been transformed into trompe l’oeil leather masterpieces.

Like, just from photos alone, you wouldn’t be able to tell that this humble shopper isn’t made out of paper. It’s a testament to Bottega’s artisanal innovation that it’s able to create a luxe leather tote that looks all the world like a plain ol’ brown bag.

Even the product photos on Bottega Veneta’s website hardly betray the brown bag’s true nature, until you look inside and see an interior of soft suede.

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Things like Bottega’s brown bag tend to get folks riled up because they’re a rejection of conventional fashion norms. Expensive stuff that not only doesn’t look conventionally “expensive” but actually appears to ape something incredibly ordinary often hits the public’s pain point.

Still, I find stuff like this Bottega bag incredibly satisfying to behold. And, of course, it follows in the footsteps of other ingenious trompe l’oeil handbags.

There’s Louis Vuitton’s paint can, Balenciaga’s internet-dividing leather “trash bag”, and even the leather dust bag that Bottega itself cooked up a couple years back but the most obvious reference point is the insanely prescient brown paper bag that Raf Simons cooked up for Jil Sander back in 2012.

Looking all the world like the kind of paper sleeve you use to stash school lunch, Jil Sander’s soft clutch set the tone for a plethora of plush pouches that followed, including several issued by Bottega Veneta itself.

Could Bottega have issued its brilliantly shapeless Pouch had the world not already been inured to bags that don’t really look like bags?

Even if it wasn’t a spiritual successor to one of the all-time great non-bags, Bottega’s brown bag made of leather is pretty great. It’s both quietly funny and a showcase for exceptional craft — what’s not to like? Just don’t keep your lunch in it.

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