Broccoli, Bananas, Rotary Phones: We’re Entering the Era of the “Gag Bag”

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Gag Bag

DAVID SPECTOR, Courtesy of Yanran Xiong

New York Fashion Week bravely asked: What if broccoli was a bag? How about a loaf of bread? A box of cookies, perhaps? Or a phone? If this past season at the shows has told us anything, it’s that we are entering the era of the gag bag.

On runways across the city, models walked with shades of purse-objects in hand. Some were trompe-l'œil clutches designed to look like snacks; others, actual bags affixed with realistic figurines. And others still were in no way bags, but food and household items dressed up with faux clasps and straps.

Before the week had even officially begun, Susan Alexandra set the tone off-runway with a comedy showcase of her latest collection. With silliness and levity baked into her brand from the beginning, the accessory designer could arguably be credited with kickstarting the trend years ago — her beaded champagne-glass and watermelon bags being early examples. Her latest show was perfectly in step, this time delivering us a bejeweled denim purse in the style of the butt of a pair of jeans — a “jurse” if you will.

The following day at Collina Strada, the offending broccoli, which was simply that, made its instantly viral appearance on a runway circling a monarch butterfly preserve. Dangling on a shiny green chain, the “bag” could hold neither phone, nor keys, nor wallet, but would have made a fine meal if steamed and covered in shredded cheddar.

With our appetites whet, Dauphinette served the next course: croissants. The French breakfast food, likewise dangling from a delicate chain, was an imposter. The realistic pastry, unlike the broccoli, was an actual fashion item that could be carried without worry of the typical flaky explosion we’re accustomed to alongside our morning cappuccino.

But nowhere was this trend more evident than at Puppets and Puppets. Having already enjoyed success with its cookie bags — smart black leather totes with lifelike chocolate chip or black and white cookies affixed to them — the brand returned to the runways with a parade of food and figure-adorned bags of all varieties. More cookies, bananas, and an old-school home phone were among the realistic 3D items to be attached to next season’s bags. One model even walked the runway grasping an actual box of SnackWells.

The “gag bag” trend is a big one to look forward to come spring, but what’s lucky is that these designers, plus a handful of others, already have such styles on the market. Which is to say there’s nothing standing between you and a purse that looks good enough to eat, or at least pay homage to life’s mundanities with.

Puppets and Puppets Black and White Cookie Patent Leather Top-Handle Bag

Black & White Cookie Patent Leather Top Handle Bag


Shop now: $475;

Puppets and Puppets Carrot Leather Apothecary Bag

Carrot Leather Apothecary Bag


Shop now: $825;

Simone Rocha Micro Imitation Pearl Top-Handle Bag

Micro Imitation Pearl Top Handle Bag


Shop now: $715;

Anya Hindmarch Crisp Packet Metal Clutch Bag

Crisp Packet Metal Clutch Bag, Golden

Bergdorf Goodman

Shop now: $1,695;

Tory Burch Tory the Toad Pouch


Tory Burch

Shop now: $329 (Originally $498);

Loewe + Paul's Ibiza Watermelon Printed Leather Pouch

Paul's Ibiza Watermelon Printed Leather Pouch

Mr Porter

Shop now: $550;

Poolside the Madison Conch Crossbody Bag

The Madison Conch Crossbody Bag

Neiman Marcus

Shop now: $345;

Betsey Johnson Betsy’s 80th Phone Bag


Betsey Johnson

Shop now: $118;

Marine Serre Ball Zip Pouch

Marine Serre Ball zip pouch


Shop now: $262 (Originally $472);

JW Anderson Midi Cap Bag

Midi Cap Bag


Shop now: $690;

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