Cult Gaia bag

Jasmin Larian of Cult Gaia wasn’t quite expecting the runaway-social-media hit that her crescent-shaped basket bag made when it exploded this past summer.

The designer said when she first introduced the bag in 2013, which was based on a vintage Japanese bamboo basket style clutch, it gained some modest traction through friends and influencers, but the demand for it fizzled until this past May. According to the designer, she sold a few of the bags to Claire Distenfeld of Fivestory in February in time for spring collections and it introduced the bags in a whole new light — pairing the $98 retail price carryall with designer clothing such as Proenza Schouler, Balmain and Alexander Wang among others. Digital influencers such as Chriselle Lim of The Chriselle Factor and Blair Eadie of Atlantic-Pacific also took to showing chic ways to wear the bag on their popular blogs and social channels. Even as recently as this week Jacey Duprie of  Damsel in Dior posted the original bag with a fall ensemble. Suddenly, as Larain put it, “I was excited to get rid of them until I didn’t have them anymore.” Her “scarcity sells” model was not entirely planned as she couldn’t restock them fast enough due to their labor-intensive production. According to Larain, there are few remaining artisans familiar with the process.

Now, the designer is introducing the bag in a material du jour — Lucite. Using relatively the same method as the bamboo versions but adjusted for the gluing process the hard acrylic material requires, the bags will be available starting today through Nov. 30 on Moda Operandi for $225 for pre-order. She will also introduce mini versions of the bag in bamboo as well as a collapsible style. Larian will also carry the Lucite version on her own site starting Jan. 15, using the Moda Operandi pre-sale as a gauge for her own stock.


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