Let me begin this dramatic soliloquy by admitting that luxury fashion surprises me every single day. I’m not naive to the fact that some price tags are so steep, they’re nearly unfathomable. Nor have I ever personally invested in an item more expensive than the monthly rate of my studio apartment. All that said, I won’t be one of the people to purchase the now-viral yet not-yet-released Louis Vuitton Airplane-Keepall, which is currently making headlines for its asking price of $39,000—plus tax. Even so, I can’t sit here and lie to you, GRAZIA reader, and say that I don’t find the aviation-inspired bag delightful—because I most certainly do. And I refuse to believe that I’m alone in this sentiment.
Fashion aficionados got their first look at the monogram-canvas handbag during Virgil Abloh’s multi-disciplinary artistic performance presenting his Fall-Winter 2021 menswear collection this past January. Per the house, the silhouette “pays homage to the paper plane,” which Abloh describes as “the eternal un-designed object of boyhood.” The designer explores this concept in his latest show by making the plane a recurring symbol. For example, the artistic director’s show invitations took the form of a wooden airplane that show guests had to put together with a handy manual. And in addition to the Airplane-Keepall, the runway also had hard-to-miss coat buttons in the shape of jetliners.
While watching the Louis Vuitton show from home, I found myself enamored of Abloh’s affixation with aviation, particularly that double-take-worthy keepall. Perhaps it’s the bag’s resemblance to the Barbie airplane I owned as a child or my dream of jetting off with friends post-pandemic, but everything about it brings me joy. As aspirational as the Airplane-Keepall is, it’s also an era-defining symbol, which may or may not have been intentional on Abloh’s part. It was, after all, presented amid the ongoing coronavirus health crisis, during a time in which the traditionally thrilling topic of travel feels taboo to discuss.
My symbolism tangent aside, $39,000 is undoubtedly a lot of money. Social media users quickly pointed out that you can purchase a brand-new car or a single-engine plane for the same price as the LV Airplane-Keepall. Likewise, a brand-new Louis Vuitton Keepall Bandoulière goes for around $2,000. Comparatively, it’s hard—if not impossible—to ignore the fact that the airplane-shaped design is 20 times the price of the label’s signature silhouette. At the time of writing, the French fashion house has neither to elaborate on the bag’s construction nor how many of the airplane-shaped are available, and how these factors contribute to its hefty price tag.
If the price wasn’t nearly equivalent to a year at a private liberal arts college, I think it’s fair to say that we’d be having a different conversation right now. And if the label dropped a miniature crossbody version, I’d be all over that. Louis Vuitton, if you’re listening, help a girl out.