Picking the perfect bag is one of life’s many decisions that are at once highly important and ultimately inconsequential. Does it have enough pockets for the 23 tubes of lip balm that you will lose in a week? Will it fit your laptop? What about that copy of the Book That Everyone Is Currently Reading? Does it have the New Yorker’s logo on the side? Will it cause you to develop scoliosis? In a truly inventive move, the French brand Jacquemus has preempted all of those questions, removing the guesswork of deducing whether its “Le petit Chiquito” bag does any of those functions by doing none of them. Released as part of its fall/winter 2019 collection, the petit Chiquito is elegant, tiny, and absolutely useless.
Of course, the microbag trend is nothing new; there is something refreshing about forcing yourself to pare down dozens of crumpled receipts and half-melted Kind bars to the absolute essentials. But that is not what the petit Chiquito is for, because the petit Chiquito looks like it can hold exactly one Tic Tac—perhaps two, if the buyer is determined. Crafted out of calf leather, the nanobag features a J in gold lettering that I had to zoom in to see. Confusingly, its strap is of normal purse-strap length and width, meaning that even if one bought the bag for the appropriately sized target—a baby, say, or an ant—the strap would be far too long for their small bodies. And it costs $258. But those in need of a gentrified pill pouch must act fast: At the time of writing, of the three colors the petit Chiquito comes in (white, pink, and a rather lovely orange), one is already sold out.
The petit Chiquito is not only the microbag reductio’d ad absurdum. In a way, it’s the logical endpoint of the minimalism movement that spawned it. After all, microbags are but one of many ways you can performatively show how little stuff you need, how decluttered your life is. Like Instagramming a video of an apartment mid-KonMari, the microbag wearer demonstrates such a passionate commitment to a lack of things that she purchased a thing too small to carry any other things. But of course, the petit Chiquito fuels the same fashion waste cycle that minimalist acolytes purport to want to avoid. For many, minimalism is nothing more than an aesthetic—no more or less moral than any other trend.
Who would buy this thing? Tinkerbell after watching Tidying Up on Netflix. She would end up donating it after her wings repeatedly got tangled in the strap.