Wednesday, 26 October 2011

FW11 trends | Handbags

Valentino Rockstud tote in python

As far as fashion addictions go, I think most women are either obsessed with shoes (remember the movie with Cameron Diaz "In her shoes"?) or with handbags. Ever wondered why you seldom hear somebody say that she is obsessed with pants? According to an interesting article I once read, it is because handbags, in particular, are the least judgmental piece in a woman's closet. An handbag will not make you feel too fat, too skinny, too tall or too short. Indeed, to transform an old look all is needed is often just a new bag, or a new pair of shoes.

Perhaps you guessed by now that I am in the handbag-groupie crowd. (This year I am even more so because of my foot injury, which has revolutionized my shoe closet, as will tell you jn my next post.) I do not remember how my passion for handbags started, but I remember how I came out: the Fendi Spy bag, my first true object of obsession. I was just a student then and I could not afford it. I managed to buy a cheap knock-off in Italy from a street vendor, that I wore proudly for two days before it broke. I even got a version on eBay a few years later.

One of the most important changes in my handbags preferences' after my son was born has been that I realized small bags just don't do it for me anymore. It is not because I stopped loving them (my last impulse buy has been a small red, ostrich-embossed DVF clutch, which I just could not resist), but because I really have limited opportunities to use them. My go-to style now revolves around two main types of bag. For a typical workday, I use a shoulder bag. It has to be roomy enough to hold my wallet, beauty bag, keys, phone and a couple of packs of tissue for the occasional runny nose or dirty hands. A shoulder bag leaves my hands free to carry a computer bag, if I am taking my laptop to the office, and to hold my son's hand during the school run. My favourite one is Miu Miu's matelassé hobo, which my mom got me for Christmas a few years ago, and that proved incredibly resistant in spite of the extra-soft leather it is made of.

My Miu Miu black matelassé hobo (still available through net-a-porter)

For the weekend and holidays, I rely on a big roomy tote to hold my stuff plus my son's necessities such as a small change of clothes, toy, you know what I mean. Since my son's birth, I have pretty much used only my Louis Vuitton Monogram "Never Full" tote, which has just acquired a substitute in the form of the Damier, my new favorite that I can use to go to the office as well.

My new Louis Vuitton Damier "Westminster" tote (available through

I often combine these two types of bags for traveling with my son (I look a bit like the woman in this great picture by Jak and Jil).

Mommy and me style (Photo: Jak and Jil, available through Kirtsy)

This season, you can choose to have either a small bag, a big bag, or both. So much for undecidedness. Similar to clothing trends (that I discussed in my earlier post), the key element seems to be the color: burgundy bags are super-trendy, as much as yellow and orange ones. Colored python gets a lot of hype too, if you are willing to break the bank with a tote like Valentino's. I had my eyes on Celine's iconic luggage tote, which, as Madison Avenue Spy correctly puts it, "this season is hotter than coal on a BBQ."
My favourite Celine's luggage tote

Since this year I have access to multiple stores selling Celine, I had the chance to check it out. I was quite disappointed though, because the handles are too small to carry it on the shoulder -- big no-no for me. The vacuum created by this realization has not yet been filled...

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