The Goods

Who Would Buy Maison Margiela’s $350 Single Tag Earring?

A detailed look at Maison Margiela's black-and-silver Single Tag Earring.
Photo illustration by Slate

Maison Margiela is perhaps best known for its $1,000-plus Tabi boots that render the wearer a cloven-footed monstrosity prancing through the streets like some kind of trust-fund Mr. Tumnus. After releasing that particular hoofed nightmare into the world in 1989, the French luxury house could have been content with sitting back and watching the decades of satyric chaos ensue, but no: Always innovating, Margiela refuses to rest on its impractical laurels. The most recent entrant into this lineage of absurdity is innocuously called the Tag Earring.

At first glance the Tag Earring looks like a rather uninspiring pair of silver hoops attached to a leather version of the cardboard paper holder that most earrings come on. For $350—or even the current sale price of $92—that’s a fairly overpriced pair of silver hoops, but in the world of high French fashion that’s par for the course. And hey, the leather simulacrum of the disposable earring card is embossed with the Maison Margiela logo—that’s fancy, right? But then I looked more closely. With a single click the totality of the Tag Earring was revealed, and I haven’t known peace since.

Not only is the Tag Earring just one (1) single earring, the whole thing is the earring. The embossed calfskin leather earring card, the silver-tone brass hoops, the plastic fasteners that keep the hoops attached to the card that I always lose immediately—the whole thing is meant to be worn on a single ear as piece of jewelry. On the model, the earring falls to just below her jawline, with the silver hoops dangling in the wind. She is also for some reason wearing flip-flops with long trousers, but that’s a whole other post.

There are so many nonsensical things about the Tag Earring that it’s hard to focus on just one. What meta-point is being made by transforming packaging into fashion? If the earring card is now the earring, what else can be an earring? An Amazon box? A pair of scissors in a blister case only openable with scissors? Will ring-box earrings with detachable engagement rings become the new way to spring surprise proposals on unsuspecting partners?

But most egregious is perhaps that this entire $350 production is one earring. A calfskin holder and two hoops seem not only an extremely heavy burden for one lobe but a threat to the wearer’s equilibrium. The hoops are detachable, which means the wearer could lessen the load by theoretically putting a hoop in one ear and leaving the other attached to the calfskin tag, but I highly doubt that’s how its intended to be worn. Then again, a week ago I didn’t think anyone would make, let alone buy, a single earring made to look like the vessel by which earrings are transported, so clearly, I know nothing. The interested buyer needs to move fast though, as the white-and-gold Tag Earring is currently sold out. Only the black-and-silver version remains.

Price: $350, now discounted to $92

Who would buy this thing? Ariel from The Little Mermaid before she’s figured out humans don’t comb their hair with forks