Do you carry everything and the kitchen sink around with you? Plasters in case of a blister? Makeup kit on the off chance you get invited for after-work drinks? Painkillers, mints and extra hair bands…? These are essential items. Forget fitting them inside a micro Lady Dior.
Fashion is a cycle, what comes around goes around. Big bags have done just that. Sure, we all adore the cuteness of a mini bag that looks sweet for an Instagram photo, but the reality is far from practical.
Mini Bye Bye
What do the Micro Lady Dior, the Louis Vuitton nano speedy, and the Chanel Mini Flap Bag all have in common? They blew up on social media over the novelty that is impracticality. They are fabulous to look at, but the prices of these smaller bags became staggering. Whilst most brands were creating their small bag offerings, Chanel released its Chanel 19 model, which became super popular amongst bag lovers as it was actually practical. It came in an array of colours, styles and materials, and was very much the ‘it’ bag for a long time.
THAT Coach bag
Jennifer Lopez was recently photographed holding a large Coach bag above her head. Many bag lovers were in awe of the pink spectacle, and the comments sparked the bag to go viral with many ringing stores and enquiring online to purchase the bag which turned out to be a prop. This led to users demanding that it be made and sold in stores, as it would make ‘the perfect travel bag’. This photo alone captured the zeitgeist of the bag community.
The Marc Jacobs Hobo era
When we say they are ‘back’, it is because they have been popular before. Who remembers the early 2000’s, with the low-rise jean paired with a large hobo bag – the Marc Jacobs one comes to mind! Loved by Blake Lively, Miley Cyrus, Rosie Huntington Whitely it was the ‘it’ bag for a long time. We have now come full circle, as fashion and trends always do. But what lead to this trend?
The practicality clause
If the pandemic taught us anything, it was that practicality is key. Comfort dressing became an essential for most of the world, and the handbag world has continued this trend with the demand for bigger bags. Not all big bags however, the most popular are coming in the form of the softer slouchier bags. The trend of the Bottega Veneta clutch bags of being something you can grab and throw in some essentials, but also looking incredibly put together and on trend. Fendi’s new clutch holds the same values, being a little slouchy and squishy, whilst retaining the strong shape of the Fendi logo as the clasp.
The baguette or croissant shaped looking bags were of course popularised by the Fendi baguette, but it started to get bigger in the form if the Bottega Veneta padded lock bag which has now been popping up everywhere as a reminder to the 2000’s when boho-chic was THE way to dress.
Another reason for the demand of bigger for practical bags is the rise of flexible working. This has become a central part of many peoples lives during and since the pandemic. City life in particular is so on-the-go and this requires a bag to fit a laptop and other essentials in, such as the Covid toolkit of hand sanitiser, masks, and disinfecting wipes.
The Dior Booktote stands out to me as a key player in this big bag business, but casting my eye back to the fall 2021 runway shows – big bags were popping up everywhere. Fendi featured a fuzzy tote adorned with lovely fuzzy accessories, whilst Marni marginalised on making the biggest bag they possibly could. Balenciaga joined in and created a shoulder bag heavily inspired by the brands hit Motorcycle bag which was hugely sought after in the early 2000's.
The Chanel XXL
I could not write about big bags and not mention the key player. The Chanel XXL Classic Flap is such a statement. Easily recognisable in the brands signature leather quilting, but the sizes just makes it the most badass travel bag out there. It has such an attitude that is so much more sassy than anything else on the market. Famously hard to get hold of, but every so often one floats around the resale market.
Hermes, Hermes, Hermes.
At the peak of the demand for mini bags, the prices for the Mini-Kelly went up and up (and let's be honest - they are still UP there). And, we can't tell a lie, the Mini-Kelly is still the most luxurious mini bag on the market - but the £20k starting price on resale isn't exactly pocket change. Unsurprisingly, this left the bigger models such as the Birkin 35 much more accessible price wise on the resale market. Getting hold of a pre-loved Birkin without remortgaging your home to do so? Win win!