Wendy Nichol Eye of Horus Drawstring Bag

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.

I’m not talking about the bags that have abstract “faces” made out of design elements like conveniently placed zippers or hardware bales. I’m talking about actual eyes, sometimes with lashes, that are intended to be the focal point of an entire handbag. If you feel something look at you this fall and just can’t place it, look down – it might be a fellow party-goer’s clutch.

Eyes are most commonly found in fashion through modern interpretations of the various global talismans, like the Egyptian Eye of Horus or charms meant to ward off the malevolent powers of the evil eye. Most famous are the hamsa charms of the Arab world, which feature an eye in the palm of a hand, but there’s nothing historical about these handbags. I’m getting a vaguely Illuminati-referencing vibe from Kenzo’s interpretation in particular, but beyond that, I have no idea how any of this happened, let alone how all these various designers, who generally have wildly varying collections, ended up on the eye motif all at the same time. Still, with this many eyes popping up on bags, it’s a bona fide trend.

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  • high_notes

    As trends go, this one IS strangely interesting, so it calls for some wild speculation.

    1 — Personally, I find eyes on a handbag to be slightly-to-moderately creepy, depending on other details of the design. And, as we’ve already seen, here on tPB and elsewhere, the goth-inspired dark and creepy theme is up this season. Speaking of goth, which looks creepier on a bag–skulls or eyes? I vote eyes! After all, putting skulls on everything from t-shirts to jewelry has been so overdone as to be almost kitsch.

    2 — Not to wax overly sociological here, but… with people’s concerns lately about being watched and spied on by entities ranging from internet data aggregators to phone companies to the government, what could be creepier than an impersonal and disembodied eye. In other words, eyes as a design motif could be intentionally or unintentionally tapping the current Zeitgeist–concerns over erosion of privacy. Of course, all of this leaves unanswered the question of, why on a handbag? Taking another stab in the dark here, a handbag is an accessory that, while not part of the carrier, is sort of always there, on the periphery. Eyes on a handbag seem to be saying, “I’m here, maybe somewhat out of sight, but always watching…” Creepy!

    Personally, I kind of like the Eye of Horus bag. =)

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