At first glance, Puppets and Puppets' recently launched Cookie Bag, with its compact rectangular shape and resin cookie exterior, may not seem much of a show-stopper. But it's precisely that level of quirkiness and familiarity that has helped it gradually build a cult following online, as shown through all the tags on Instagram.
First introduced back in March for the brand's Fall 2021 ready-to-wear collection, the $350 leather tophandle was released online a few months ago as an early drop. It was developed by Puppets and Puppets co-founder Carly Mark with the help of illustrator and cartoonist Margalit Cutler.
The hyper-real chocolate chip cookie motifs originally appeared during Puppets and Puppets' Fall 2020 runway via belts fastened on two outfits. It's the latest iteration of Cutler's signature resin work; she's been collaborating with Mark since Puppets and Puppets' first season, when she helped on the designer's platform shoes.
"The cookies came out so great that I knew going into the next season we had to figure out a way to commodify these, because I know they're so interesting and so well done and that people will want these," Mark tells PAPER. "I know I want this thing on an object that I can wear out and about on a daily basis."
They're just one aspect of Puppets and Puppets' cheeky exploration of everyday objects, which in the past has included an entire collection featuring egg motifs (this season also features Ferrero Rocher chocolates affixed on cowboy boots). Below, Mark and Cutler delve more into their creative process and how the Cookie Bag came to be.
So how did the idea for this bag come about?
Carly Mark: We started prepping the bag before the pandemic hit. We were about to enter this period of time where people started thinking about what they really, truly want. Handbag sales went up during the pandemic, but I was like, I want this to just be on a classic black bag. Let's just take this cookie and fasten it to the center on a classic black bag that people can wear out. It'll be this medium to small bag that will look great with a little black dress. And Margalit and I just started working out the production details of it with my head of production who figured out what type of hardware needed to be inserted into the resin. And after all of the cookies were cast, hardware included, and Margalit hand paints all of the cookies and oil to look so hyper-realistic, we then shifted them to some accessories producers in Peru that we work with and they fastened them to the leather bags and that's how they started. That's their little lifespan thus far.
Margalit, what do you find most rewarding or interesting about lending your art expertise to fashion and in particular, Puppets and Puppets?
Margalit Cutler: One thing that I really love about working with Carly is she has such a concrete idea of what she wants. It's kind of satisfying to have someone else's vision come to life where my process is kind of like she already has the design very clear, and then there's a little bit of problem solving on my end. And then it becomes very technical, which is a really nice break from another job that might be a little more creative or I have to put it in problem solving labor design-wise. And it's kind of fun to really just make someone else's vision come to fruition with technique. And it's actually interesting to hear Carly's answer to the process because whenever we meet up, it's sort of like Okay, we're going to put eggs on the tip of shoes, and I'm like, How did we get here?
Carly: I don't know, I like eggs and I like shoes. So it's just one plus one equals two. I like cookies. What can I say? I like chocolate chip cookies.
Why do you think the bag has taken off so quickly, particularly on Instagram?
Carly: I think people are attracted to the hyperrealism of it because it is somehow a punchline at the same time as being a completely satiating object to look at. There is something so classic and desirable about a chocolate chip cookie on its own. A handbag, which is this desirable object in itself, to put the two together is talking about the desirability of a handbag and the handbag is talking about the desirability of a cookie. And so, [it's] smart and funny at the same time, but also really classic. There's this attraction to trompe l'oeil always. The number of people that have asked us if it's real. My sister got one for her birthday and she said she found her husband licking it. And I was like, You mean your daughter? She's like, No, my husband.
Margalit: I also feel sometimes fashion can sort of have this culture of taking itself very seriously. So I definitely think there's something really exciting about something that's very much fashion, very much art, but it's still making fun of itself a little bit and not taking itself too seriously. But the quality is still there.
Margalit, how has working in the fashion space affected your other work in terms of illustration and cartoon. Do both disciplines feed off of each other?
Margalit: I definitely have a tendency to pigeonhole myself where I'm sort of like, I'm an illustrator, I don't know anything about interior design. When in actuality as an illustrator, I'm drawing everything. So of course I should care about fashion and interior design and all aspects of design because that then goes into the work. The way that Puppets and Puppets specifically take such an artful, sculptural and fun approach to fashion, makes me feel like when I'm illustrating, I could take a more whimsical approach to an outfit.
Lastly, Carly, what can we expect from Puppets and Puppets going forward as your continue to grow your accessories offerings?
Carly: This season, it's our first season of production that we've ever done the handbags. But we're also releasing the shoes in August. So those will be purchasable. And then next season we're doing more handbags and more shoes and there will just be more. I have a lot of ideas and each element of an outfit is essential for creativity and the story that I want to tell. And to me, although I do love individual pieces, what I about first is the overarching, theme and the storyline. I love shows, and I think that people really like our shows because like, there is this totality to our shows. You can't make a puzzle without the puzzle pieces, you know?
Photo courtesy of Puppets and Puppets
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