If there is one moment in fashion pop-culture that is etched into the minds of every fashionista ever, it is the iconic “Are you wearing – The Chanel boots? Yeah, I am” scene from The Devil Wears Prada. And being one of the most memorable Patricia Fields outfits still serving as inspiration more than 15 years down the road, there remains one element about the look that continues to be as jarring as ever. That, my friends, is the Fendi Crocheted Chef Bag Andy completes her head-to-toe Chanel outfit with. Now, one might be inclined to write that off as “sooo 2006”, although even back then, most people’s reaction to the purse was “burn it immediately”. Strangely enough, however, similar bags made of crochet and/or knitwear continue to pop up in designers’ lineups nearly every season. Is there a reason for this? Do crocheted bags have some underlying luxe identity that we’ve been missing out on all this while? I decided to investigate.
How Crochets Came Into Existence
The earliest evidence suggests that crochets were developed by home-based needleworkers in 19th century Europe as an alternative to the more expensive lace. It achieved royal recognition when Queen Victoria started purchasing them from Irishwomen after the potato famine in the mid-1800s. But its colorful and offbeat pattern became truly popular in the 60s and 70s (a staple of the psychedelic era), and it has been in production ever since. Honestly, it’s relatively easy to see why.
Why Are Crocheted Bags So Popular?
There are several reasons why something made of crochets can immediately draw one’s attention over its basic leather or fabric counterparts, the first being the sheer amount of color! Even with color-blocking and other similar techniques in place, it is well near impossible to achieve the diverse range of colors that crochets can accommodate so easily. Plus, not all colors show up in their bright, saturated shades on all materials, and that is where the fabric fibers in crochet truly shine. So, if you’re a sucker for all things colorful, crochets are for you.
Secondly, crochets offer a DIY, deconstructed look that you can make at home! So, especially if you find the idea of spending $10,000+ on an edgy Maison Margiela duvet coat preposterous, the crochet trend could very well be a reasonable alternative (although Chanel has proven otherwise, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves).
Besides that, as much as some of us would hate to admit, crochets are something that has an all-season appeal. Just imagine something that’ll pair well with both your summer sundresses while also evoking the cozy, warm fall vibes from your grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner table spreads? Yes, please!
Plus, one more fun fact about crochets? They’re impossible to manufacture by machines. That’s right, every piece you see out there is handmade! So the next time you come across a crocheted piece, don’t forget that it’s a lot more bespoke than your average leather alternative. And they have a heritage look that’s hard to beat. The crochet look has long been held to be a symbol of understated elegance and effortless chic!
But Are Crochets All Fun and Games?
Well, not quite. The chief complaint against them? They’re old-ladylike! Can you honestly envision looking stylish in the same pieces your grandma used to weave her cushion covers from? I didn’t think so.
Plus, crochets aren’t the easiest to maintain either – just imagine getting one of the fibers snagged on a nailhead or even on your wedding ring, and before long, having the entire thing fall apart – the unspeakable horror! It’s very natural in that circumstance that one might want to steer clear of crochets altogether.
And the fact that it’s entirely handmade comes with its own set of repercussions too. What kind of, you ask? Well, most high-street versions that you get to purchase are often made of poor-quality fibers that’ll barely take you through the season without falling apart and are often manufactured by exploiting labor on less-than-minimum pay. On the other hand, if you opt for the designer versions like Bottega Veneta’s the Point or the Chanel flap member Babybear_bags talks about in this thread, they can easily go into exorbitant price territory. The flap was priced well over $11,000!), making you all the more paranoid about using them in the first place!
Another major disadvantage of crochets, especially in lighter colors, is they’re tough to keep clean. No matter the fibers, they’ll tend to darken rather quickly, often without having a lot of use to them either. Not an ideal scenario on any count. Therefore, if it’s a look you do happen to dig, it’s advisable to opt for darker shades that won’t show grime as easily.
Crochets to Watch Out For
That being said, there are plenty of options on the market to take your pick from. Whether it be this vibrant wintry JW Anderson number styled by Harry Styles to pieces from Salvatore Ferragamo, Proenza Schouler and Staud, or the recent space-dyed editions from Missoni and Cult Gaia, crochets have proven to be the coziest ready-to-wear trend to grace the celeb fall wardrobes.
That brings us to the original question at hand, should crocheted purses exist?
Yes, there seems to be an almost unanimous hatred towards them in general, they hardly provide decent cost per wear, and they don’t fall under the conventional definition of “glamour.” But they are super comfortable pieces nevertheless to fall back on, especially on days when you want to ooze laid-back style, on a cool fall day, as you waltz across the street with a Khaite cashmere coat or a Gucci Horsebit Crochet Tote. And even if you’d rather opt out of the allover crochet look, there are still crocheted bag charms as well as protective handles for the likes of the Louis Vuitton Vachetta.
So, what are you waiting for? Dig in!