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The Margin: This Lay’s x Balenciaga potato chip bag reportedly costs $1,800. Who’s biting?


Betcha can’t afford even just one. 


Frito-Lay’s potato chips has tongues wagging over its handbag collaboration with luxury fashion line Balenciaga. Why? Well, the floppy leather clutch that looks exactly like a $4 bag of chips reportedly costs a jaw-dropping $1,800. Talk about inflation…

Frito and Balenciaga were not immediately available for comment. But Lay’s shared images of its pricey potato sack being carried by models during Balenciaga’s recent Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023 runway show on its official Twitter and Instagram accounts. Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, also posted pics of the kitschy clutches on Instagram, writing “The Lay’s x Balenciaga leather chip bag” on the Oct. 11 post

Hypebeast reports that the bags designed by Spanish artist Santiago Sierra are crafted from leather with a graphic representation a Lay’s bag, but with “Balenciaga” written where the chips’ flavor would normally be printed. Each clutch is also embellished with a metallic silver lining, and a zip closure at the top. The bags come in Lay’s signature yellow, or blue and light green, as well as a black and red version. And they are rumored to cost $1,800, and would hit shelves next spring. 

So it should come as little surprise that the images and the reported price tag went viral this week, with many marveling over paying all that for a bag of chips (and without the actual chips!) The bags began trending on real-time Google searches on Thursday, the same day that the latest economic data report revealed that the core consumer price index jumped to 40-year high.

“Holding a bag of air,” snarked one follower on Lay’s Instagram page.

Comments on Gvasalia’s post included remarks like, “leather never looked [so] cheap,” “the lowest depths of crass commercialism” and “at this point I think Balenciaga is a social experiment.” 

Others argued, “This is art and humor nothing more. They will go down in history for making a joke which I think is pretty fun.” 

“It’s simply amazing that these are leather bags. Love them,” commented another person drooling over the look.

Or there were plenty of jokes to be had, such as the name mashup “Ba~Lays~iaga” suggested under Gvasalia’s post.

This isn’t the first time that Balenciaga has raised eyebrows with a scandalous accessory, of course. The luxury fashion house also just rolled out a $1,790 “Trash Pouch” for its Winter 2022 collection that the label said was literally “inspired by a garbage can.” 

Yes, it’s an oversized shiny black drawstring bag that would look right at home on any curb on trash collection day, but it’s crafted with calfskin and has the Balenciaga logo on it. 

Or who could forget when Balenciaga also designed a $2,145 extra-large shopping tote made of wrinkled blue leather for its Spring/Summer 2017 collection that was an “homage” to Ikea’s signature 99-cent shopping bag. 

It should be noted that high-end fashion houses have long experimented with the “trashion” trend of creating expensive garments that look like garbage. 

“Deconstruction is the ultimate climax of fashion — it’s the end, the resurrection, that’s about to rise up,” celebrity stylist and tastemaker Phillip Bloch previously told MarketWatch. “People are drawn to ugly things in life if they themselves are feeling tortured or taken apart, so-to-speak.”

Or, as Balenciaga’s creative director told Women’s Wear Daily about the recent trash bag-inspired pouch,  “I couldn’t miss an opportunity to make the most expensive trash bag in the world, because who doesn’t love a fashion scandal?”

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