The handbag market popularity hierarchy is more complex than average fashion fans might assume. At the top, you have the It Bags, which usually reign for several years and attract the most attention. Right below them, there's another tier of bags that are intensely coveted and wildly successful but not quite "it." Often, this is the tier It Bags retire to when the waitlists wane, but it's also where you'll find many bags that have made it their home--the Saint Laurent Sac de Jours and Givenchy Nightingales of the world.
It's a hard tier to enter, because it means a bag has consumer longevity--it's not enough for a design to be popular for a season or two. It also often means the bag is beloved by celebrities; their adoration helps keep a bag on consumers' radar long after a big launch or ad campaign. Many of the bags currently in this tier have been around for a while, though, and lately, we've noticed what might be a new guard emerging on the accessories market.
Below, we've selected a handful that we think are likely to make the jump to industry staples. These bags are all already pretty popular in their own right, but 2016 is the year they level up.
Christian Dior Diorever Tote
Price Upon Request via Dior
This bag is brand new, but we feel confident about the Diorever's potential popularity. The bag has inspired a swift shopping response from Dior aficionados on PurseForum, and if Dior's next creative director can keep up the momentum, we're bound to see this bag frequently in the future.
Chloé Hudson Bag
$2,150 via Neiman Marcus
Chloé has had huge back-to-back success with two little flap shoulder bags on long straps: the Drew and the Faye. Those bags are still wildly popular, but the slightly more casual Hudson is catching up quickly.
Céline Trotteur Bag
$2,250 via Céline
Like Céline's other big handbag successes, the Trotteur is familiar but distinctive. It's also the perfect little summer bag for a particularly fashionable sort of woman, so you can bet they'll start popping up all over your favorite blogger's Instagram soon.
Fendi DotCom Bag
$2,900 via Bergdorf Goodman
The DotCom just launched for Resort 2016, but we've already noticed select versions selling out at online retailers and the bag's presence on some very fashionable, very famous arms. Fendi's greatest strength is its ability to take a well-liked design and endlessly embellish and modify it, and the DotCom seems as though it will provide Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi with their next great canvas.
Gucci Dionysus Bag
$2,500 via Gucci
Gucci's explosion in popularity under Alessandro Michele has led to us spotting the Dionysus on several famous arms, but continued consumer and celebrity interest in Gucci and the brand's fidelity to this design as the baseline for Michele's leather goods department bodes very well for its future.
Loewe Puzzle Bag
$2,450 via Nordstrom
Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson has had a lot of fun playing with handbag structure and conventions in his brief time at the brand's helm, and the Puzzle is, so far, the greatest achievement he's overseen. The uniquely structured bag first caught the eyes of the industry's forward-thinkers, and since then, its popularity has grown steadily. We most recently spied the Puzzle on Beyoncé's arm and more stores are carrying the design than ever, so by our estimation, the only way Loewe's new signature bag can go is up.
Tod's Wave Bag
$2,165 via Saks
Tod's hasn't made a notable push into the seasonal handbag market in years, but the Wave's launch qualifies as the fashion version of a full-court press. The brand has placed this new design on the arms of models and actresses of many different kinds, and we're happy to be seeing it as much as we are: unlike so many bags lately, it isn't just a Tod's take on a traditional shape or a barely veiled rehash of an already-popular bag. The Wave, like the Loewe Puzzle, strikes us as a true original.
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