Bags and shoes occupy a unique spot in the fashion world because of their need for practicality. They’re where fashion literally meets function; in order to make a hit handbag, shoppers not only have to like what they see, but they have to like how they feel when they use the bag, and there are only so many structural variations the consumer market is willing to consider. That means a bag’s details–its embellishments, finishing and hardware–matter a great deal when it comes to capturing a buyer’s imagination, and it’s why I’m so smitten with the 3.1 Phillip Lim Alix Bag.
The Alix isn’t brand new, but it’s been around for about a year and hasn’t become an unmissable celebrity favorite, which means it still has some visual novelty to it. It comes in several shapes–a couple clutch styles, a shoulder bag in two sizes, there’s a messenger bag out there somewhere–but common among all of them is a simple, sculptural front closure.
3.1 Phillip Lim isn’t a brand known for its ultra-distinctive hardware, which is maybe why this bag felt like such a pleasant surprise to me when it debuted. None of the shapes are especially reminiscent of what any other big brand’s are doing right now, and neither is the rounded closure, although Marc Jacobs did come along afterward and debut something similar. Lim’s is more graceful, though, and it’s more expensive-looking. And, ultimately, isn’t that usually the goal?