Back when I first started writing for PurseBlog (in the Dark Ages, basically), I used to see beautiful, incredibly intricate clutches, often made from shell or filigree, pop up here and there from a small brand called Celestina. Designed by Filipino former model Maristela Ocampo, the evening bags all had a clearly oceanic influence and wonderful details.
We say this here a lot, but that’s because it’s true: Clutches and evening bags are a fantastic venue for intense, intricate, sometimes crazy embellishment. Their small size means that they can be dunked in glitter, covered in sequins, studded with rhinestones and any number of other embellishments without overwhelming the rest of an ensemble.
“Cult” is a word that can be easily abused; just because a brand has a small, relatively enthusiastic group of fans does not a cult favorite make. That fans have to be so dedicated, so ardent in their love for a designer’s work that they create a high-entry point that’s almost prohibitive for newcomers.
Ladies (and gentleman too, but this only applies to the most fabulous among your ranks), I’m here to talk to you today about an issue that’s plaguing the closets of all too many women: clutch neglect. I’m not talking about formal evening bags; I think that a lot of us have a sparkly little something-or-other ferreted away, just in case.
It’s an interesting time to be in the fashion industry. Spheres of influence are shifting, new markets are opening up, it’s a whole new world out there for brands with the foresight to see opportunities emerging. If you’re a street style fan, you’ve probably noticed a growing number of Russian women who are gaining an increasingly large portion of the spotlight, and that’s no coincidence – newly wealthy Russians, stretching their legs after decades of political and economic isolation, are buying up everything from the priciest of Manhattan real estate to entire Chanel couture collections.
Over the past few years, clutches molded out of clear lucite or acrylic have enjoyed wide popularity, at least on runways. It’s a trend that nearly every brand has touched on at one point or another, but because not everyone jumped on the bandwagon at once, a clear evening bag still feels fresh and modern.
Translating a winning design aesthetic from shoes to handbags can be tricky. Just ask Christian Louboutin, who has the footwear world by the tail but is still trying to figure out his perfect handbag formula. Brian Atwood, another shoe designer that inspires fainting spells among the heel-inclined, is also taking his first serious steps into the handbag arena, starting with a collection of clutches that launched yesterday on Gilt.com.