Every year around this time, the color experts (which I would think were a weird title, if my own title were not “handbag blogger”) at Pantone get together and inform the world of the color we’ll be wearing in the next 12 months, as the result of some trend forecasting and also Pantone’s desire to remind people who are not graphic designers that it exists.
Luxury accessories have an exclusivity problem. Because handbags are generally among a company’s most profitable and marketable product categories, most brands want (and need) to sell them hand over first in order to stay on the seasonal fashion treadmill. That’s a bit tricky, though, because one of the things luxury customers look for most in a new purchase is a sense of exclusivity; how do you sell lots of bags while still making every bag-buyer feel like she’s the only person in the world who has a particular piece?
We’re all well familiar with animal print by now; it’s been a general fashion trend for years and manifests itself on bags season after season. I suppose that the current trend for printing actual animal images on bags is a somewhat extreme extension of the classic animal print idea, but the finishing ends up being quite different. One’s luxurious and often a little sexy, the other swings cartoonish and irreverent.
When you consider the minimal, modern direction that fashion has been heading in for several seasons, plus the overwhelming success of the holographic leather trend, the emergence of mirrored metallic leather as a bonafide trend isn’t particularly shocking. Stiff and futuristic, high-shine mirrored finishes can only really exist in a fashion climate that encourages us all to dress like space ladies from Planet Street Style.
Fall is for jumping in leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and layering tons of textures. As I much as I love my cashmere sweaters, when it comes to accessories, this season is all about calf hair for me. For months, I’ve been lusting over more calf hair bags than you can possibly imagine; in fact, I’m starting to believe my heart may even be covered in the stuff.
If brevity is the soul of wit, minimalism might be the soul of elegance. After season upon season of rococo embellishment, studs, beading, embroidery, print, fur and exotics, fashion feels like it’s ready for something a little simpler and a little less look-at-me. The street style ship as we know it has, to a certain extent, sailed.
As slow as some Olsen-skeptics are to admit it, The Row is straight-up influential. Not only was it the first brand to convince us that backpacks can be a totally chic, high-end trend (and in rather spectacular fashion), but The Row has helped to usher all of fashion toward a minimal sort of luxury that is now catching on across the industry.
If you followed along with your Spring 2014 runway roundups, you already know what I’m about to say. Pale bags, ranging from ivory to blush, are the biggest trend going for spring by far. After what feels like season upon season of prints, neons, rococo embellishments and exotics, a simple swath of dove grey leather actually does feel pretty fresh, if perhaps a little tricky to keep clean under non-ideal circumstances.
When I first sat down to write this post, I figured I’d find five or six good examples of drawstring bags to include in it, under the assumption that the trend was rising but had yet to crest. Well, I was wrong – within five minutes or so, I had dozens of browser windows open, all with worthy candidates for inclusion at price points from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Some trends make sense. Navy! Chain Details! Fur and calf hair! All of those things, with their relatively heavy feel, sound right at home on a fall handbag. Or, you know, on a handbag in general. Somehow, though, handbags with eyes seem to be just as popular for the impending season. If you understand what all those words mean, but not necessarily in that order, read on below.