On Luka Sabbat and Lil Uzi Vert, Margiela’s pillow-like bag makes the hustle look luxurious.
Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed some of your favorite advanced style icons wandering around with a giant leather pillow. Earlier this month, paparazzi caught Luka Sabbat on the streets of New York, dressed in his finest communist pajama party chic: a baseball hat embroidered with a hammer and sickle, a face mask printed with Dracos, a leather suit, and a milky electric blue tufted leather…pillow.
And a few days ago, Lil Uzi Vert posted a carousel of outfit photos emblematic of his classic luxury Hot Topic style: a teen mall rat’s denim jacket (but of course, it was Vetements) with dirty white sneakers (but of course, they were Maison Margiela), big silver wallet chains (but of course, they were Dior), and a stack of friendship bracelets (but of course: Dior and Cactus Plant Flea Market). He was carrying that same leather cushion in a surgical white, like he’d just gotten off the bus for his volleyball team’s overnight trip to the Mall of America.
These aren’t pillows, though—they’re a handbag. The Maison Margiela Glam Slam, specifically, the standout women’s accessory from the palace of conceptual fashion, Maison Margiela. The bag, which starts at $1,675 in a “small” iteration and goes up to $2,775 for the version seen on our guys, debuted back in the fall of 2017 as a part of the house’s Spring 2018 womenswear collections. That collection was the beginning of creative director John Galliano’s obsession with “dressing in haste”—knits and scraps of fabric thrown together, puffers and big coats pulled halfway on, and bags shoved haphazardly under arms. It also spoke to our ongoing obsession with travel and our desire to make the inhumane tyranny of plane trips somehow chic, a feat actually accomplished by the likes of Virgil Abloh and Sabbat himself. Early editions of the bag even came with luggage tags marked “PRIORITY.” In other words, it’s the perfect send-up of the influencer lifestyle: it makes you look like you just hopped off the nicest private jet on the planet and are headed towards the next one. It’s basically a less literal equivalent of a tote bag that says, “EVERYDAY I’M HUSTLIN.”
(An important aside: Uzi may not be an influencer per se, but he’s started dedicating his Instagram to slideshows of his designer-packed daily style, and tags the brands who make each of his items, and recently updated his display name to remind us all that he manages his wardrobe with “NO STYLIST.” Sounds like an influencer to us.)
What makes the bag even more unusual, though, is that it began life as a women’s bag. Indeed, the idea of women flexing with a brand-new must-have handbag on Instagram or “on the street” has been a tried and true (and much criticized) part of women’s fashion marketing for almost a decade now. Now, it seems, men are getting folded into that scheme.
Once men started driving the bag market with their fanny pack obsession, fashion houses responded by tweaking their women’s bags for guys, issuing the Fendi Baguette and the Dior Saddlebag in less delicate materials, or on less precious scales. But while Maison Margiela is selling this particular style, introduced this season, as “men’s,” it’s really just added the ability to wear the bag as a backpack—a feature none of the wearers seem to be taking advantage of thus far. This seems consistent with the fact that the house has been shifting toward a gender-fluid vision, showing men’s and women’s collections together beginning with January’s couture season.
Margiela seems to be ahead of the trend, though, by basically declaring its women’s it-bag as a men’s must-have. (It’s safe to say the bag was gifted.) This weekend, Uzi posted photos of himself with Chanel’s LED Boy bag, which scrolls the brand name across the bag’s front flap. (It was part of the brand’s Fall 2017 Space collection, meaning he bought it second-hand.) Gunna, another rapper with influencer potential, has been carrying a jumbo version of Chanel’s 2’’55 handbag from Pharrell’s gender-fluid collection; after his followers mocked him for carrying a women’s bag, he went on Hot97 and said, “That ain’t for y’all to like. If it were for them to like, I woulda gave them the bag.”
In that case, it seems to be a sense of scarcity that’s driving interest in the bag. But with Margiela’s Glam Slam, it’s just classic influencer appeal: it’s weird, it pops in photographs, it’s a zillion dollars, and no one else has it—yet.
(Words by RACHEL TASHJIAN for GQ Magazine)