We run down the movers and shakers in the year of accessories
Welcome back to the internet, and we hope you had a happy holiday! We've now arrived in that weird week between Christmas and New Year's when nothing happens, which means it's high time for that sweet, sweet end-of-year content. As we do every year, we'd like to take the opportunity to look back at the year in bags.
In any time where there's a period with a lot of fairly new debuts and no one reigning It Bag, designs become important for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes they're indicative of the most interesting creative impulses of a resurgent brand; other times they're the best example of a huge consumer trend no one really saw coming. Below, we've selected ten important designs, in no particular order, that tell us a lot about the year in bags.
These aren't necessarily our favorites of the year or even the "best" (though some of them are both), but they are the most crucial things to watch for anyone hoping to read the luxury market tea leaves for 2018.
Chanel Gabrielle Bag
More Information via Chanel
With the disappearance in recent years of many of Chanel's fan-favorite totes like the Grand Shopping Tote, it has become even more known for flap bags than it already was. So, can the brand still debut a new franchise hit without a flap? The Gabrielle's steady build makes it seem like it can, and where Chanel goes, much of the industry tends to follow.
The Louis Vuitton Neonoe Bag
$1,450 via Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton has had a big year overall and has debuted so many new bags that it makes it difficult to pick just one, but the Neonoe seems like it's representative of a lucrative way forward for the French stalwart: well-priced, simple, modern and with a youthful mix of monogram and color.
Gucci Marmont Bags
$2,490 via Gucci
Gucci is another brand for which it's hard to pick one bag, primarily because Gucci's methodology is to make a zillion bags, many in limited-run seasonal variations. The Marmont, though, is the core of the brand's consumer-friendly line, and it's undoubtedly been a big driver of the brand's huge growth this year.
Chloé Nile Bag
$1,690 via Neiman Marcus
The Nile Bag did something we haven't seen in a while, especially for a bag from a brand that sells extensively both online and in third-party retailers: it sold out in pre-orders so completely that we had trouble finding in-stock options to point people to. That's no small feat for a brand with the manufacturing capacity and retail saturation that Chloé has.
Prada Tessuto Nylon Bags
$1,450 via Neiman Marcus
At this point, we're calling Prada nylon a full-on comeback, and it feels fitting that Prada would be the accessories designer to most effectively capitalize on overall industry trends for both streetwear and athleisure. Who has more experience making nylon feel luxe?
Fendi Kan I Bag
$2,900 via Nordstrom
If there's one thing Karl Lagerfeld knows his way around, its flap bags, and this time he brought that magic to Fendi. In recent years the brand has been primarily known for top-handle bags and satchels, so it was refreshing to see Fendi try a shoulder bag that wasn't some kind of riff on the Baguette.
Balenciaga Bazar Bag
$1,690 via Neiman Marcus
When Balenciaga hired Demna Gvasalia, he was a postmodern wunderkind with little experience in accessories, which worried plenty of longtime Balenciaga bag lovers. His handbag results at the brand have been mixed, but the Bazar line is as good an indication as any that he can make bags people want to buy.
Valentino Rockstud Spikes Bag
$2,795 via Nordstrom
People (us included) love to speculate about where, exactly, Valentino's long-popular Rockstuds are in their life cycle. Have they become a classic? Should the brand retire them? My answer probably depends on which bag I'm looking at at any particular moment. The Rockstud Spikes have breathed fresh life into the look, though, proving once again that Valentino will probably always have something up its sleeve when it comes to studs.
Cult Gaia Ark Bag
$128 via Nordstrom
The Cult Gaia Ark Bag is a first: a design from a previously unknown brand that rose to popularity based entirely on its popularity among Instagram's style glitterati. Its accessible price tag and unique structure made it an obvious pick for anyone hoping to flex for the 'gram.
J.W. Anderson Pierce Bag
$1,480 via Nordstrom
It's nearly impossible to break into the luxury bag market as a relatively young designer; the top price tier is already crowded with heritage leather houses that make all the bags anyone could want and tell a good story about why spending money with them is the only sound decision to make. That J.W. Anderson was able to break through with the Pierce Bag is a testament to his talent and creativity.
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