I’ve often wondered, both aloud on here and in my own head (yes, I have many a handbag-related thought in my downtime) when, exactly, Fendi would modernize the original It Bag, the Fendi Baguette, to reflect what’s going on in accessories design right now. Small, short-strap shoulder bags are just not the ever-elusive new hotness; right now, the market seems to favor longer straps that allow for crossbody wear. Enter the Fendi Be Baguette.
This Baguette version, brand new for Fall 2013, offers a couple important modifications from the all-time classic. First, and most obviously, the bag has a long shoulder strap, this time made out of chain instead of leather. That makes it feel immediately more relevant and modern, which seemed like a bit of an issue for the brand during all its 10th Anniversary festivities for the design. Yes, it’s great that the Baguette endured for 10 years in a fickle fashion market, but what was its next step? It seems as though Fendi is finally ready to answer that question in year 11.
The second important addition to the bag is a front pocket. The original Baguette debuted before cell phones were an omnipresent part of daily life; sure, a lot of people had them, but access to one’s phone didn’t necessarily need to be constant or particularly convenient. After all, back then, it was just a phone. The pocket on the new bag is the perfect size for an iPhone, and there’s little doubt that’s exactly what it was intended to house. The bag itself also feels more substantial, more luxurious, more like it’s meant to rival a Chanel Classic Flap for enduring popularity and elegance. (Also similar to the Chanel, it appears as though the long chain strap can be doubled to form a shorter handle.)
The only problem with the design that I foresee is the price. At $2,950, the Be Baguette outpaces the rest of Fendi’s all-leather handbag lineup, and although it does look particularly luxurious, the number itself might be a stumbling block for customers used to paying less for similarly sized bags from the brand. Currently, you can get a heavily beaded or embroidered regular Baguette for less than the price of the Be, and the regular 2Jours tote, which is much larger, comes in at around $700 less. Still, the bag costs thousands less than similarly styled Hermes and Chanel options, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this design was intended to inch Fendi toward that market.