Arm Candy: Spring’s Designer Handbags

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This spring season there are purses for every taste. Classic purses by Hermès such as the Kelly and the Birkin will always be with us; but fashion and fashionistas want more. The Spring 2020 collections did not disappoint.

S upersized bags were a riot of color, refinement and joviality. Hermès showed a cream-colored hobo scarf bag and a black and white hobo bag while Dior showed a square tote bag in black-and-white houndstooth print with a band stating Christian Dior on the side. In Milan, Marni designed a fuchsia bag to match the model’s dress. Fendi presented a tote with huge poppies in orange and blue. Salvatore Ferragamo designed a pale grey bag trimmed in black with spaghetti handles. Each of these bags can accommodate all of a woman’s accoutrements.

Net was another popular material, made up in different colors and styles. Prada always comes through, and this spring’s bag was a beige macramé design with leather handles. A Beautiful People bag design is little more than an unlined grocery bag made of dark chocolate net. Black and white are always popular. A Kristina Fidelskaya bag shown in Paris is elegant white net with top handles. A Miu Miu bag was just the opposite, an elegant black clutch. A Stella McCartney bag was one of the most attractive in this grouping. She showed a leather tote in pewter blue with the top half in matching net.

Green was everywhere and in different tones. Chanel Paris showed a quilted seafoam green leather bag. Fendi went with an apple green open-weave tote while Marc Jacobs used a light olive-green tote to complement floral pants. Bottega Veneta showed a woven leather clutch in mint green. Michael Kors revamped a fisherman’s tackle bag and trimmed it with bright emerald green leather and brass studs.

Straw and raffia baskets of all shapes, sizes and materials were prevalent on the runway. Oscar de la Renta’s choice was beige raffia woven in classic tote style, then stamped with black floral designs. A Celine bag was a pale sand straw tote trimmed with brown leather logo and straps. One Alberta Ferretti handbag was a light brown straw heavily decorated with 3-D straw designs. Missoni showed a fisherman’s creel in brown wicker with flowers on the flap. Givenchy used cocoa-colored fiber in a crocheted design with the Givenchy logo as a finishing touch.

Woven leather was highly popular with designers. A Bottega Veneta bag in Milan was cream leather woven in a box design with shoulder straps. Phillip Lim bags showed woven leather by crisscrossing white and chocolate leather strips in a classic clutch bag. Prada used gray woven leather in a basket bag with woven leather straps.

Clutches are making a comeback. The clutches this season are the envelope style and in all colors. Bottega Veneta designed a pale blue envelope clutch with a triangular flap. A Giorgio Armani bag was in white with pale pink trim on the flap and purse edges. Dries Van Noten designed a violet clutch with a curved flap. Several designers presented classic black envelopes.

Unusually shaped bags make a statement and are hard to describe. Louis Vuitton chose royal blue, pale blue, brown stamped with the LV logo and red in an abstract pattern to create an egg-shaped bag with top handles. Coach came through with a hexagon crossbody. Both Roksanda and Lanvin walked square handbags on the runway. In New York, Coach 1941 showed a vintage rose hexagon crossbody bag while Proenza Schouler walked a white hexagon shoulder bag with brown straps. An A.W.A.K.E. Mode bag was salmon with a cutout handle made up in the classic Dior quilted leather look.

But that’s not all; designers love to shock us and this spring they did so with Micro Minis. These bags are small! Some won’t carry more than a lipstick. A Longchamp bag shown in New York was stamped hot pink leather with a flap and tiny top handles. Chanel showed their classic quilted bag on a chain with a zipper fastener. Fendi’s tiny beige bag has a flap with the Fendi logo and a chain shoulder strap. You might get a subway token and a lipstick in it! Dolce & Gabbana showed a small bag with a top handle and big flap in brown crocodile skin-stamped leather with a safari outfit. Nice! Versace had a model wearing three of these tiny bags. And to round out the category, Paco Rabanne showed a chainmail bag with tiny handles in Paris.

Handbags this spring are fairly conservative and refined, for the most part. Elegant vs. outrageous. Pretty vs. outlandish. These are purses you can invest in and wear for years to come. And do get one or two of the micro minis. They are so cute! ■

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