Microscopic Louis Vuitton knockoff bag
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Microscopic Louis Vuitton knockoff bag "narrow enough to pass through the eye of a needle" sells for more than $63,000

May 22, 2023

By Li Cohen

June 29, 2023 / 8:08 AM / CBS News

A handbag bearing Louis Vuitton's signature monogram has sold for thousands of dollars – and you can barely even see it with the naked eye.

The bag, dubbed the "microscopic handbag" by its maker, the Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF, measures at just micrometers. It was sold in a Joopiter auction this week for $63,750 – a high escalation after the initial bid of $15,000 – and comes with a microscope that has a digital display so that its buyer can enjoy the bag's design.

"Smaller than a grain of sea salt and narrow enough to pass through the eye of a needle, this is a purse so small you'll need a microscope to see it," MSCHF said in a post about the bag. "There are big handbags, normal handbags, and small handbags, but this is the final word in bag miniaturization."

A post shared by MSCHF (@mschf)

The bag is made of photopolymer resin and was created with a 2-photon polymerization, a form of 3D printing, and appears to be a knockoff of luxury designer Louis Vuitton. The microscopic bag is a fluorescent green tote and features the iconic LV in its center and a design similar to that of the luxury label's OnTheGo bags, which retail for between $3,100 and $4,300.

"As a once-functional object like a handbag becomes smaller and smaller its object status becomes steadily more abstracted until it is purely a brand signifier," MSCHF said.

Kevin Wiesner, MSCHF's chief creative officer, told The New York Times earlier this month that the group did not seek permission from Louis Vuitton to mimic its brand.

"We are big in the 'ask forgiveness, not permission' school," he said.

That rule applied even in this auction. The house hosting it was founded by Louis Vuitton men's designer Pharell Williams.

"Pharrell loves big hats, so we made him an incredibly small bag," Wiesner said.

CBS News has reached out to Louis Vuitton for comment and is awaiting response.

Tiny purses and bags have emerged as a star in the fashion world, with celebrities showing them off on red carpets. In 2019, Lizzo famously arrived at the American Music Awards with a tiny Valentino purse.

"Previous small leather handbags have still required a hand to carry them — they become dysfunctional, inconveniences to their 'wearer,'" MSCHF says in its auction listing. "Microscopic Handbag takes this to its full logical conclusion. A practical object is boiled down into jewelry, all of its putative function evaporated; for luxury objects, useability is the angels' share."

Li Cohen is a social media producer and trending content writer for CBS News.

First published on June 29, 2023 / 8:08 AM

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