A tiny Louis Vuitton handbag, called the “Microscopic Handbag,” was sold at an online auction for a staggering $63,750, despite its minuscule size. The auction house responsible for the sale, Joopiter, was founded by musician Pharrell Williams. The handbag, smaller than a grain of salt, was created by the art collective MSCHF without Louis Vuitton’s authorization.
MSCHF is known for its controversial and creative projects. In the past, they made headlines for tearing up expensive Hermès Birkin bags and turning them into Birkenstock-style sandals, selling for $76,000.
They also gained attention for selling sneakers called “Jesus shoes” containing holy water and “Satan shoes” containing human blood, in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X.
“There are big handbags, normal handbags, and small handbags, but this is the final word in bag miniaturization,” the collective wrote. “As a once-functional object like a handbag becomes smaller and smaller its object status becomes steadily more abstracted until it is purely a brand signifier.”
The Microscopic Handbag was designed to highlight the trend of micro-bags, which are too small to fit a mobile phone. It measures only 657 by 222 by 700 micrometers and can only be seen with a microscope with a digital screen. The bag was created using 3D printing methods and made of resin, encased in gel to prevent loss.
However, MSCHF faced challenges in the creation of this piece. Some shards of the material were lost during the review process. Additionally, they didn’t seek permission from Louis Vuitton to use their branding, which could lead to potential legal issues.
MSCHF has a reputation for following the “ask forgiveness, not permission” approach. While this mentality has led to success in some cases, it has also resulted in legal trouble, such as the lawsuit with Nike over the “Satan shoes.”
The art collective is currently embroiled in another legal battle with Vans. Vans sued MSCHF for distorting their “Old Skool” sneakers with the release of the “Wavy Baby” shoes. Initially, sales of the shoes were blocked due to the likelihood of confusion with Vans’ trademarked design.
Overall, the sale of the Microscopic Handbag for such an exorbitant price showcases the demand and interest in unique and controversial art pieces, even if they face legal challenges along the way.