While fashion devotees might be concerned with the treatment of the industry’s garment workers, others are distracted by the latest releases from the major houses and 2017 has been the year of the ridiculous luxury release.
With the idea of ‘cost’ denoting a range of possibilities, these products are priced a lot higher than their already extortionate price tags. Monetary cost against environmental and social tolls becomes an obviously outweighed balance– in favour of those lucky enough to wield bills instead of sewing needles. Forking out thousands of dollars to enter into an unofficial league of Supreme-toting fanatics helps accelerate streetwear culture, but it simultaneously affects those at the very low end of the supply chain.
What’s more, the releases of these have-to-have-but-could-never-afford products also tap into the idea of fashion’s infiltration in everyday life. You only have to look at Gucci to see this: from their logo cotton t-shirts (that were gracing the chests of everyone, it seemed), to its release of maximalist homewares, and the news of a travel app launch. Gucci is on people’s bodies, in their homes and is now accompanying them on family holidays.
Nonetheless, here are the luxury products that circulated this year.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>In a Venn diagram of extra and problematic the Chanel boomerang exists in the centre.<a href=”https://t.co/dnoHizYvDO”>https://t.co/dnoHizYvDO</a> <a href=”https://t.co/n56C954Sgl”>pic.twitter.com/n56C954Sgl</a></p>— Acclaim (@acclaimmag) <a href=”https://twitter.com/acclaimmag/status/864024313791262720″>May 15, 2017</a></blockquote>
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- Chanel’s boomerang
It wasn’t just the price tag on this Chanel boomerang that had everyone in a frenzy. Priced at $1,930, Chanel released the black wood and resin boomerang as part of its luxury sports collection. Jeffree Starr, Youtube personality and cosmetics mogul, posted his luxury purchase to social media. He received heavy backlash for buying, sporting and using the ‘accessory’.
Many contested Chanel, complaining the boomerang was an appropriation of Indigenous culture. The matter went so far as to involve Bob Katter. As the federal member for Kennedy, Katter raised concerns to the Australian Government to increase its protection of Indigenous artists. As told to the ABC, “it remains to be seen whether there’s any Indigenous qualities to the [Chanel] boomerang whatsoever”. Chanel released a statement in response to the criticism, stating the house was “extremely committed to respecting all cultures and regrets that some may have felt offended”.
2. Balenciaga’s ‘Arena’ Tote
Balenciaga’s release of the year made headlines for obvious reasons; the ‘Arena’ calfskin tote looked suspiciously similar to an IKEA iteration. The luxury item was basically the IKEA FRAKTA bag rebranded and marked up. The Balenciaga carryall retailed for over $2,000, while the IKEA version sits at a humble $1.
Balenciaga’s move has sparked attention surrounding the Swedish furniture giant. This post outlined the greatest items crafted from the humble blue plastic bag, from wallets to bucket hats and even face masks.
If you didn’t already love IKEA for their meatballs and relationship-crushing flat packs, you’ll love their marketing team. The Nordic powerhouse released their own response, offering a four-step guide to identifying the original FRAKTA. You’ll never make a fashion faux pas again.
Via: High Snobiety
3. Raf Simons’ duct tape
If ever there was a designer to take a household good and weave it into a high ticket, high fashion desirable, it would be Raf Simons. The former Dior creative director, now directing his own menswear line, sent models down the 2017 spring/summer runway with duct tape-cinched waists. The rolls featured the reddened slogans “RSYP YOUTH PROJECT” and “WALK WITH ME”. Dazed commented the item was an attachment to fashion’s “appropriation [of] the banal”.“But it’s a reimagination of the belt,” called the collectively exasperated streetwear fiends. Innovative it may be, as its core, it’s also just black and white polyurethane.
What’s more, the tape hasn’t been promoted as reuseable. This release not only contributes to the ever growing consumerism in 21st century fashion, it also speaks to the idea of ‘throwaway’ fashion usually resided to the high street. If high fashion is adopting throwaway culture, what’s there left to be said of luxury?
4. Nike’s Swarovski sneaker
Each day a baby is born, and a new sneaker is released. Labels are continually creating new colourways and iterations to stretch sneaker styles to their limit. At some point, however, brands are sure to have exhausted drops in ‘millennial pink’ (or is it Gen-Z green?).
So what was Nike’s sneaker addition? The Swarovski crystal Air Max 97 LX. Encrusted in 55,000 crystals, to be exact, to celebrate 20 years of the Air Max 97. Though it may be a birthday release, it’s an expensive present for anyone needing to pay for rent/food/basic necessities. Unless you can give up avocados for a year in favour of regular toast toppings. Yeah, me neither.
5. Hermès’ skateboard
A new set of wheels can set anyone back a hefty few thousand. But that sort of price usually denotes a set of wheels, rims, engine, interior, sound system…and the list goes on. So what of $2,900 for a skateboard?
Hermès’ latest release offered luxury skateboards and longboards at a very luxury price. Sure, it played to streetwear and skate culture. But what also played on the mind is to which ‘street’ they were targeting. Brooklyn’s Main St Or Paris’ Rue Saint-Honoré?
The boards didn’t serve just one purpose, however. HighSnobiety reported the pieces were also “a form of art comprised of high quality materials”. The French fashion house described the boards were constructed from “light beech wood with a noble maple veneer.” Moreover, designs from the archives were rolled out for the release. Artistic director Henri d’Origny noted the use of the ‘Bouclerie Modern,’ ‘Cavalcadour,’ and ‘Sangles en zigzag’ designs.
Wood, veneer and wheels does not maketh a $3,000 skateboard. But a Hermès wooden, veneered and wheeled skateboard sure does.
6. Supreme’s chopsticks
It’s a great contradiction– dollar ramen noodles eaten with Supreme chopsticks. Is this the new idea of mixing high and low?
The enamel chopsticks have no set retail price, but all bets are on they’ll be in line with previous Supreme releases. But they come enclosed in their own case, so of course any price is justified. Refinery29 posted an article cleverly titled “Supreme Made Chopsticks & A Sake Set For Skaters Who Sushi”– hint: a very niche target market.
The latest lifestyle release follows the 2016 Supreme brick. Originally priced at $30, the red clay is now fetching over $1,000 USD on eBay.