The New Trend of Large-Capacity Bags
It wasn’t so long ago that individuals packed their credit cards and IDs rather than wallets into empty gum packets because they weren’t going to fit in their micro bags. Keys were stripped from keychains, and lips were left bare, because a Jacquemus Le Petit Chiquito bag could not accommodate lipstick inside. While it was an annoyance, it was not justification enough not to engage in a common trend.
After all at all times, we didn’t need face masks, latex gloves, hand sanitizer, and hand lotion with us, nor did we spend all our time outdoors, ensuring that there was a picnic blanket, snacks, drinks, and wine (yes, both in stock. A sign of the easy, carefree way of life was our limited handbag space. COVID-19 took hold then. Now it’s commonplace to leave the house alongside most everything you own. And you need a really, really big bag for that.
Fashion designers caught on to our newfound need for increased square footage pretty easily, as is their work. In New York, Catherine Holstein presented a collection in the form of a moody lookbook for her company, Khaite.
Oversized lunch bags made from leftover fabric from the line were alongside a slew of midriff-baring tops and ’50s-era skirts at Emilia Wickstead in London. For their part, London-based cult brand 16 Arlington’s design duo Marco Capaldo and Federica Cavenati juxtaposed tiny shell bags with shoulder bags so wide they nearly grazed the concrete. Tall, pillow-like totes also appeared at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi in the British fashion capital. The emergence of the big bag has become even more evident in Milan. Pastel-colored duffels makes out of soft leather were tote about at Tod’s, Ferragamo, and Max Mara. At Sunnei, dual-toned handbags were presented with heavy bases and even loftier straps, and Sportmax handled tote bags resembling garbage and recycling bags.
For reusable water bottles and detachable coin purses, Woven Fendi bags also had dedicated pockets. We all know, after all how hard it is to find a quarter or a Euro in Italy when your bag is the size of a small human being.
Although big bags thrived during the fashion month, the trend did not really reach its height until Paris. Demna Gvasalia showcased a positive range for a post-pandemic world at Balenciaga. After maybe a dinner with friends or a dance, the designer included pieces that looked made for a long night of not knowing where you’re going to end up. Versatile sweater-like scarves were available, and handbags were wide enough to fit anything one could need.
One bag-clad model wore a go-out top tucked into a pair of nylon track pants in the lookbook, as if she had shackled up for the night somewhere and stole the resident’s pants the next day. After seven months in lockdown, club bracelets line her wrists, the final brushstrokes on a painting portraying the life we all desire. In the bulky handbag, the contents of a night out including bottoms and an awkward choice of boots, are all kept. During their Spring’ 21 presentations, Givenchy, Jil Sander, Acne Studios, and The Row, too, shared love for the bigger things in life, all combining to create the handbag trend of the season: the big bag.