The world of digital audio technology moves at breakneck speed and it is often possible to discover curious and highly intriguing partnerships – think Maserati and Sonus faber, Philips and Bowers & Wilkins, Dirac and Nio or Devialet and premium entry-level flight seats .
Sometimes these burgeoning relationships bear strange but beautiful fruit (see the Maserati Cielo or Razer’s green-sneaker collaboration with Cariuma). And sometimes you get a metal pouch-shaped Bluetooth speaker with an Italian lambskin-lined storage compartment inside.
What has happened is that luxury clothing brand Balenciaga and Danish audio specialist Bang & Olufsen have released a bag that can play music – something I’m sure neither music lovers nor fashionistas put at the top of their birthday list. .
The Speaker Bag (as it was predictably called) is milled from a solid block of aluminum and has a lambskin-lined storage compartment inside. In another highly predictable moment, B&O described it as “part bag, part Bluetooth sound system.”
The Speaker Bag was showcased at Balenciaga’s 51st Paris fashion show, during which models (including American celebrity Kim Kardashian and British supermodel Naomi Campbell) carried the bag down the catwalk while playing music to a likely unsuspecting audience.
The limited-edition collection comprises just 20 bags in total, each of which has been pearl-blasted, anodized and hand-polished at Bang & Olufsen’s aluminum factory in Struer, Denmark, to a satin finish. The bag was then shipped to Balenciaga’s studio in Italy, where its interior was completed.
Opinion: at least it will take the sound very well…
Sorry guys. Either way, that sound can apparently be tweaked via a set of controls under the handle, while the battery life is 18 hours – and naturally, the Balenciaga and Bang & Olufsen logos have been laser-etched across the top. of each Speaker Bag, which comes in your choice of black or silver.
Models at the Balenciaga show also wore striking, hand-painted, hand-molded, futuristic black face shields made in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz (a company clearly in a friendly climate – the automaker recently collaborated with Master & Dynamic to produce F1-esque headphones) to hide his identity.
Why am I so… disappointed? Sounds very kitschy for Bang & Olufsen; an aspirational brand known for creating some of the most intriguing and talented audiovisual products on the market. See the splendid Beoplay H95 headphones, a beautiful book-shaped wireless speaker, a stunning 48-inch OLED TV and the unforgettable Beosound Edge, a stunning speaker that takes its inspiration from the humble British pound coin, for understand what I mean.
I really doubt you can put many of your mundane belongings in what Balenciaga is calling a “true hybrid product” and as a functional bag it’s also likely to be heavy.
What I’m saying is that this Bang & Olufsen x Balenciaga Bluetooth speaker is without a doubt the weirdest collaboration of the year and perhaps just one of those partnerships that might not stand the test of time. Would you buy the Bluetooth speaker part Bang & Olufsen, part Balenciaga bag?
Then again, Karl Lagerfeld is known to have said “Trendy is the last step before tacky”, so who am I to say?