Maison Margiela’s Subversive Adaptation of the ‘It Bag’

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We examine the phenomenon of the trophy accessory through the luxury house’s famously divergent lens

TextHannah TindlePhotographyMax CornwallPhotographic EditorHolly Hay

5AC Shoulder Bag, Maison Margiela

Grained calf leather, 27cm x 42cm

The conversations surrounding ‘It bags’ are, more often than not, dominated by ideas of elegance; their designs traditionally take inspiration from the agonisingly glamorous Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, or Jane ‘I exude effortless Parisian chic’ Birkin. It is less common, however, that a bag possessing such potential for ‘It’ status take its references from an obscure counterculture bordering on the ultra-geeky – unless such a piece hails from the always-subversive house of Maison Margiela.

Named after the French word ‘sac’, but written out in “L33t speak” – a tech language pioneered by online gamers and messageboard aficionados – the 5AC is a sci-fi take on a calfskin classic, distorted through the lens of cyberspace (although still possessing all of the aspirational elegance that one would hope for from a handbag). As for the woman who would wear it, princesses and ingénues are left by the wayside; we imagine Angelina Jolie’s character Kate Libby in the 1995 film Hackers (if she studied at Antwerp’s fashion department and had a penchant for avant-garde design) would nestle this bag in the crook of her arm. Whether an It bag obsessive looking to modernise your collection, or a total n00b wanting to invest in your first, the 5AC has all bases covered.