The Ikea Frakta bag sells for just 70c in Ikea Ireland
Fashionistas with a penchant for flatpack rejoice, being on trend with this season’s most important tote bag simply means making a trip to Ikea.
Luxury French fashion brand Balenciaga has raised a few eyebrows by releasing a very expensive accessory that shares more than a passing resemblance to a similar product flogged at every Ikea shop worldwide.
The Frakta blue bag, billed as "easy to keep clean – just rinse and dry," sells in Irish Ikea stores for just 70c, with the website letting savvy consumers know it is “also suitable for waste sorting.”
The ‘Balenciaga Carry Shopper’, on the other hand, is made of lambskin dyed "bleu sulfate."
And for an extra €1,694.30 (plus €6 delivery), Balenciaga throws in a pair of calfskin handles, zip fastenings, a matching pouch and an embossed logo.
Imitation, according to Ikea, is the sincerest form of flattery, with the Swedish furniture giant quipping to the Today show: "We are deeply flattered that the Balenciaga tote bag resembles the Ikea iconic sustainable blue bag for 99c. Nothing beats the versatility of a great big blue bag."
As a fashion house, Balenciaga has made a name for itself with headline-baiting designs, with the Ikea knockoff entirely on brand. Since Demna Gvasalia was appointed creative director, Balenciaga has taken an increasingly whimsical approach to its catwalk accessories.
"Finding beauty in the every day," to quote Balenciaga, the brand released earlier this year its ‘Blanket printed textured-leather tote’, designed to look like a plastic carrier case for bedding.
Those without such deep pockets can opt for the ‘Bazar Bag’ instead, which at €1,995 resembles something seen on Moore Street from which rolls of wrapping paper are sold at Christmas.
In February, Balenciaga also paid tribute to American politics in general and failed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in particular when it modified his presidential campaign logo during an Autumn/Winter men’s fashion show.
Asked to comment on becoming a style inspiration, the Vermont senator told CNN: "Of my many attributes, being a great dresser or a fashion maven is not one of them."