I didn't expect to see the decidedly formal, Hermès Kelly-adjacent top-handled flap bag making a comeback right now, but I guess that's my fault. In fashion, you should always expect the unexpected when it comes to trends (except for that period a couple years ago where every season was more 70s-inspired than the last). As a concept, trends are fundamentally reactionary phenomena, which means that as soon as we've hit one extreme, we should get ready to hurtle toward another. Belt bags and other streetwear-inspired accessories, which are still at their peak popularity, may seen be giving way to a more grown-up style of bag.
The first inkling I had that this might be happening was with the launch of Hedi Slimane's first handbag in his new role as creative director of Céline, the Céline 16 Bag. It, like many of the bags Prada debuted on its Spring 2019 runway last week, is a straightforward, simple riff on a classic shape, with a narrow vertical closure the provides most of the design's aesthetic focus. Prada's runway contained several versions of this idea, with varying closure widths and other details, but the collection's standouts were trim frame bags with bar closures, which harkened back to the 1960s, when dressing was more formal.
The best of the top handles, meanwhile, were versions that came in brilliant tie dyes, black-based with flashes of pink and neon green. That flourish made the traditional shapes feel more alive and relevant in the current fashion landscape, and I'm hoping buyers will lean heavily on those versions when it comes time to bring the collection to retail. You can check out all the runway bags below.
[Photos via Vogue Runway]