While the it bag craze didn’t really take hold until a few years later, at the turn of the century Miuccia Prada sent the first it bag of the millennium down her Spring/Summer 2000 runway show. A entirely different shape, with curved lines and an oddly satisfying streamlined design, the Prada Bowling Bag was inspired by an actual bowling bag. With a nod to the bags from the 1950s and 60s that carried actual bowling balls, this bag’s design took the fashion world off guard in a good way. No sooner did the bag make its way off the runway that consumers began planning to buy when it hit stores. And when the bag did land in stores, it sold out immediately and the waitlist grew by the day. While other brands then also scurried to add this shape of bag to their lineups, Prada will forever be synonymous with the Bowler.
Though there was a brief reissue of the bag in 2012 to celebrate the Met’s Impossible Conversations exhibit alongside eight of Prada’s other greatest hits, the official reintroduction of the Prada Bowling Bag is slated for the Resort 2020 season. 20 years later and this bag provides the right touch of nostalgia spruced up as a twenty-first century classic.
Majority of bags fall into specific shape categories and few stray from these expected shapes as they are tried and tested. The Bowling Bag is different, and in this case different is a very good thing. The pairing of a Modernist design with nods to classic sweeping automobile chassis, the Bowling Bag is as interesting to look at as it is to carry. The semi-circle shape draws your attention immediately as do the panels of leather that transform the bag into a more artistic design (in majority of the offerings in contrasting colors).
Offered in fine soft calf leather, the re-imagined Bowling Bag offers what old-school and modern-day Prada lovers adore about the brand. Prada’s calf leather is some of the most supple, durable, and delicious leather any brand offers. The leather is one that makes you want to grab it and examine it, and this is where Prada shines. Do try a bag like this in person, you won’t be disappointed in the quality and construction. The double top zipper pull is thick, easy to maneuver and of high quality. There is a tab where the zipper track ends intended for a place to rest the metal zipper pulls. Opening the bag is easy and though the bag doesn’t split open wide with ease (like other shapes do), the shape allows for ample interior space and easy locating of your items.
There are two sizes of the Prada Bowling Bag; the larger of the two has double top handles and an optional removable shoulder strap, while the smaller only has a single adjustable shoulder strap. The larger would work well as an everyday or work bag, offering Prada nylon logo lining along with a zip pocket on either side. The smaller is great for the wearer who doesn’t need to carry much but adores this shape and comes with a single interior slip pocket (no zippers here!).
Though single colorways are available, the dual colorways offered include white with black, cognac with white, white with red, and black with white, and pink with white. As for the hardware, the zipper pulls are silver, as is hardware on the straps, but the Prada logo which sits centered and atop the bag is in a matching tonal color to the bag.
The elegant simplicity paired with the sportiness of the Bowling bag combines to create a showstopping design, one that brings feeling of nostalgia to longtime handbag aficionados like myself but doesn’t feel dated. What’s old is new again and in this case it feels like the Prada Bowling Bag never left, and that’s a good thing.