You would think that a new bag is the last thing one needs with the lockdown, but handbags emerged as one of the most resilient luxury products in the past year. Sales may have declined, but not as much as other sectors like jewelry, for example, according to the Boston Consulting Group. Sales are expected to decrease more slowly at 30 percent less this year and recover more quickly with five percent fewer sales in 2021 compared to 2019 levels.
Aside from high-end bag sales, the resale of luxury bags has also fared relatively well. Just after the start of lockdown in the US, Charles Gorra of the Rebag resale site reported a week of sales larger than those of Black Friday and Cyber Monday of 2019 combined. He attributes the phenomenon to the need for “retail therapy” and the desire for self-care.
At the recent shows, designers were practical and more cautious, with bags adapted to pandemic living. But they were also optimistic that though you don’t really need any new accessories this season, it doesn’t mean that you won’t want them since a desire for beautiful things will always be there and yes, we will get that new bag as an affirmation that “Life will go on, we will dress up in our Sunday best and go out again.”
Now that trips are strategically planned, you can take command of your life with extra-large totes that are perfect for multitasking, shopping, excursions, and that favorite pandemic indulgence: picnics! Givenchy, Jil Sander and Ferragamo have the perfect sizes and shapes for grocery runs and weekend getaways, while Fendi and Jacquemus have straw bags that make outdoor dining chic.
The novelty accessory gaining popularity are dainty purses worn as necklaces like at Max Mara, or draped across the front like at Chanel and Louis Vuitton, perfect for an afternoon stroll or an evening out.
As phone cases and lanyards, they’re perfect for senior moments even while at home where items are misplaced, as well as for trips to make sure you’re never without the necessary gadgets or necessities.
Now that you always have to be prepared for an emergency and have to do everything in one go, the Go Bag is a practical option, together with chest rigs and tool-belt combos with pouches for all the things you may need. Boramy Viguier offers one as a stole, while Kenzo’s is a slouchy waist belt and Marine Serre’s is a full-body harness.
THE BATWING BAG
In the same spirit as the sharp-shouldered outfits of the season, batwing bags from Balenciaga, Coperni and Charlotte Knowles are like weapons with pointy curves to protect us against attacks from a hostile world.
THE NET BAG
With more relaxed schedules, the ease of a net bag is perfect with its carefree aesthetic and practical expandability for multipurpose trips when we go out nowadays. Valentino’s is done in macramé leather, while Simone Rocha goes luxe with pearls.
It’s not all errands and practicality this season as frills in the form of feathers at Dqsuared, tulle at Blumarine, broderie anglaise at Fendi and ribbons at Balenciaga make bags desirable and as fun as they should be.
Uplift your look and your mood with shots of brights, from Fendi’s woven neon logos and trellis patterns to Tod’s acid mini-buckets and the collaboration line of Bulgari and the Ambush brand of Tokyo-based designer Yoon Ahn.
THE ANTI-IT BAG
No-nonsense purses in basic colors like black, white and red with classic silhouettes and in medium sizes are the perfect bags for the times when we are more selective with our purchases, which are meant to last.