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Walker’s Crisp Bag

March 5, 2017



The object of the handbag, bedazzled with the Walker’s crisps logo on it, made by fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, I found particularly interesting. In the 20th Century section, Room 76, case 14, it is on a lower shelf underneath other items, with the title “Style as Statement”. I think this is particularly prevalent when discussing the ‘voice’ of the museum and it’s exhibits, as this particular display box is occupied with the statement of clothing. By including it in a museum such as the V&A, with it’s grand statues the first thing you see as you enter, this item appears more jovial and less serious but I think it shows something far greater about this museum. It shows it can recognise the relevance in the modern item, something that would not be deemed important enough for a historical museum or a standard art museum, but something that expresses something about society at that time and the historical actions in the current day to day. Made in 2000 this item portrays a brand, a junk-food brand to be exact, as something fashionable and stylish. In contrast to the message of most fashion companies, emphasising skinniness and demonising these sorts of ‘junk’ behaviours, I find this collaboration especially thoughtful about what it decorating it. I think the museum would justify this choice of display as the title of the exhibit states, it is a statement piece, implying something far greater than just a handbag. It is also then necessary to discuss the choice of Walker’s crisps packets as said decoration. One would normally throw away an empty crisp packet, deeming it useless and an annoyance once the actual crisps are gone. They litter the street, from people too lazy to hold it until they reach a bin, so by having this trash item shown on a fashion item it gives this empty packaging far more meaning and significance. As if to imply that this packet should be so much more. There is also to consider that by using such a widely known branded item for the decoration, it makes the item more marketable and fun for the potential buyer, as these bags were mass produced. This object was hand made by the Hindmarch, using wide flat beads, small sequins and paillettes, the majority in a vibrant green hue, applied to plastic. This kind of fashion object, a handbag, is used by women and men alike to express some part of themselves, or in a simple case, to portray themselves as quirky or fun with this bright Andy Warhol esque accessory. Hindmarch has made other bags with other branded logos on them as well, so it is also interesting to think that the V&A specifically chose the Walker’s crisp bag, to make their comment on “Style as Statement”, rather than the Maltesers or Dairy Milk. One must also consider that it is surrounded by a Bowie poster and other more novelty items in the cabinet, as it is showing that this item is meant to be an expression of a statement of style as the tagline reads, and could be superficially seen as a fun novelty item but actually to have made it into the V&A expresses something deeper.


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