The contemporary obsession with the handbag as the ultimate fashion and consumer statement reached its apogee – for some rock bottom – when, for Christmas 2008, David Beckham gave his wife, Victoria, a diamond-encrusted Hermès Himalayan Birkin Bag. It cost him $116,000. The handbag undoubtedly looked gorgeous, but for some the inflated price tag and the associated inflated egos took away much of its silvery sheen.

The Bootbag is the perfect antidote to such vainglory. A paintbox-colored children’s rubber Wellington boot is transformed through the simple device of piercing two horizontal handles into either side of its shaft. The Bootbag was designed by the young Belgian-Italian Saskia Marcotti (1986–), 18 at the time, as one of the launch products of the witty Belgian design label Vlaemsch. Mass-produced and marketed at just $44, it combines chunky looks and topsy-turvy charm, making it an instant street classic.

A clash of colors – Saskia Marcotti Bootbag

From time to time, contemporary design, with its ever-present tendency towards pomposity and hyperbole, needs such playful irreverence to keep its feet firmly on the ground.