When the New Yorker takes on handbags, the storied publication is sure to produce some interesting bits of wisdom from around the fashion world. The magazine’s profile of Bottega Veneta’s Thomas Maier is only available subscribers (both online and old skool), but a few choice words on the designer’s success at the once nearly-dead Italian brand have leaked out to us plebes, and they’re mostly about the role of the handbag in Maier’s oeuvre.

What I found most interesting, though, was Tom Ford’s declaration concerning the inherent it-ness of the anti-it bag trend. We’ve talked about the sea change in bag trends in these parts before, but It Bag fatigue has created It Bags of its own, whose it-ness isn’t negated by the fact that they aren’t logo-covered or overwrought. Maier’s handmade Bottega Veneta Cabat totes are credited by the magazine with pulling the anti-trend into mainstream favor, and they certainly had a hand in it, but I’m of the personal belief that Phoebe Philo’s sleek, minimal bags for Celine are what broke the trend to its current, wide audience. And that entire thought just proves that Ford is right, as he so often is – people who love It Bags and those who hate them have far more in common than either group would probably like to admit. Where do you sit on this debate, which is clearly the most important issue of our times? I mean, it’s getting coverage in the New Yorker, y’all.

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19yearslater
19yearslater
12 years ago

I agree. I think that anti-It bag is the It-Bag nowadays. There are several examples of this bag, the two mentioned above as well as ps1 and others. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with loving It Bags or loving simple bags, so its more of an interesting debate than a personal one for me.

Vitta
Vitta
12 years ago

Amanda, what’s the point, again? These days, the “it-ness” is being literally generated by the subjective opinion of a handful of popular bloggers with wide exposure, who often promote brands and trends not on their merit, but just because they are paid to advertise them. Am I right?

19yearslater, the It bag by definition is a status bag, nothing to do with being “simple” or not.

19yearslater
19yearslater
12 years ago
Reply to  Vitta

Okay. I don’t consider a Hermes bag It because it is lasting fashion, to my mind an It Bag lasts a season or two. As I said though I have no personal investment in this debate so I’m really just going off of what the general opinion toward a bag seemed to be.

Vitta
Vitta
12 years ago
Reply to  19yearslater

The original concept of the ‘classic It bag’ defines the timeless status symbol (e.g. Hermes Kelly), “the bag to have” (the best quality). Not to be confused with the concept of an ‘It girl’ (e.g. Paris Hilton), which lasts a season or two: “the girl of the moment” (most popular). Unfortunately, it often happens that “most popular” does not equate to “the best quality”.

19yearslater
19yearslater
12 years ago
Reply to  Vitta

I know what an It Bag is, I was merely referring to the heyday of the It Bag, most of which were blingy or dramatic, were they not? In addition, the designers who say they are turning away from the It Bag accomplish their goals with simple bags.

Vitta
Vitta
12 years ago
Reply to  19yearslater

No, a classic It bag has never been “blingy” or “dramatic”. The ultimate It bag of all times has been an Hermes handbag, a true status symbol.

Here’s a bit of info regarding the definition of an It bag:

“As fashion historians have established, the idea of a classic It bag, an important handbag that conveys luxury and status, can be traced back to the 19th century. The idea was ultimately perfected in the 20th century by a handful of leading European fashion houses with long-standing traditions – such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel – whose designs became distinct classics as a result of their established commercial success. The concept behind each trademark was a brilliant interpretation of old traditions. Their handbags were practical in application and initially has nothing to do with status, luxury or glamor.”

Source: New book “Exotic Skin: Alligator and Crocodile Handbags”

Vitta
Vitta
12 years ago
Reply to  Amanda Mull

Amanda, nothing is left to chance in shrewd marketing of a multi-billion dollar industry such as designer handbags. Especially at this time of blogging when the audience could include millions of people worldwide in a day.

elinasofia
elinasofia
12 years ago

The anti-it bags are recognizable to only fashion insiders: their it-bagness is limited to a smaller group of people. Most of my friends don’t know what Proenza Schouler is and to them Celine is the Canadian singer, not a French fashion house.

DB
DB
12 years ago

i agree with vitta for the most part. the ‘it bag’ was always associated with status, exclusivity, rarity. the concept has been over-saturated to the point where it has reversed itself, hence the ‘anti-it bag’. some of this could be a result of the recession and a conscious move away from the original frivolity of the ‘it bag’ and more towards classic ‘staples’ that help women justify their personal spending habits. regardless, it is always interesting to see how this phenomenon evolves.

Miriam
Miriam
12 years ago

This is “the most important issue of our times”…seriously???

Vitta
Vitta
12 years ago
Reply to  Amanda Mull

Well, the It bag phenomenon has become important because it represents the multi-billion dollar industry. That’s why it deserves to be analyzed by reputable publications, including the New Yorker.

Vitta
Vitta
12 years ago

I’d say it is one of the subjective opinions that is a part of the discussion. The good thing is that the issue is being discussed on different levels, including the reputable ones.

Kanika
Kanika
12 years ago

I think ‘it bags’ are no longer the it bags. If you move in a circle where everyone can afford an Louis Vuitton or an Hermes, a thrift shop satchel will attract more attention. For common people, an Hermes and not a thrift shop satchel is obviously the it bag. Pretty much like Einstein’s theory of relativity!

As to genuine handbag designs becoming the iconic bags, we all know its the editors, critics and bloggers who control our perception of the handbags and all things designer. Isnt it said about Anna Wintour that she can control it all the way from Vogue fashion shoots to actual markets.

And the monogram trend is getting a bit over now, just like gladiators did last season. I literally feel like a walking billboard carrying a bag with LV smothered all over it or a big shiny ‘G’ hanging from it. Now Hermes is a classic, so minimalistic and elegant….. but I wonder if you would still be the coveted it bag in a Sex and the City type of circle.

whit
whit
12 years ago

i think it is like when people try not to be “cool” or “pop” and go very into another direction that is opposite of that..that itself becomes a thing that eventually others might catch on..making it popular, kind of ironic.

but that is the way it is. people are always after the next thing when the next thing wasn’t trying……and its those that try that ends up on the sale rack. imho.

incerx
incerx
12 years ago

Many messages. It makes me think this is a very good blog, where there will be many like-minded friends.

Kyle
Kyle
12 years ago

I get what you’re trying to say here Amanda, keep up the great work!

GG Pastel