I’ve always been against ‘novelty’ bags, finding them faintly ridiculous. But walking up Regent Street a few days ago, I changed my mind. I spotted the Kate Spade fairground carousel bag in a store window. Then later that day, reviewing Topshop’s Art School Cool pieces with some great floral bags, it struck me how boring the handbag market in general has become.
Those items from which we’re rarely separated and in which we transport our entire lives can be so very dull, which made me think that maybe novelty isn’t so silly after all.
In a world full of perfectly classic Prada bags (after all, when you’re paying that much, you don’t want to risk it going out of style too soon), full of hardware-heavy Michael Kors bags and full of bags ‘inspired’ by the Céline Trapeze, maybe it’s time to loosen up a little.
That doesn’t have to mean bags that look like fairground carousels like Kate Spade’s or the chandelier variety from Dolce & Gabbana’s AW16 collection. But Zara’s embroidered minaudiere, Anya Hindmarch’s cross body sticker bag, the & Other Stories Herbarium clutch and Marc Jacobs’ multicolour small camera bag all prove that small ‘occasion’ bags can be fun rather than formal.
And it doesn’t take much to transform a bigger, more practical daytime bag either. Anya Hindmarch’s Eyes backpack puts the fun in functional, while Olympia Le Tan’s embroidered chalk box bag adds humour to the high-end bag category. If they’re both a touch too novelty for you, opt for power colour like & Other Stories’ embossed croc box bag or the sunshine yellow Coach backpack. Contrast colour stripes are a great way to inject some life into a classic shape too, as Karen Millen’s black &white bucket bag, River Island’s tassel-trimmed shopper, and Boohoo.com’s £10 only fabric bag prove.