It seems fair to say that while the ongoing trend for minimalism has many attractions, practical girls need a little more leeway. It can be tiring to cram all your important items into a mini-bag, only to find that you really needed something that didn’t make the cut. Who wants to be fed up with too many decisions, before even leaving the house?
The good news from the catwalks is that mega bags are back in spades – and not just chez the eponymous Kate (Spade). Runways that used to show barely a whisper of accessories beyond a smart pair of shades or a shoulder bag to give the 2.55 a run for its money are ready to rock and roll again.
The proposals are as varied as they are beautiful. From a textured, double-handled, round, embellished leather tote at Delpozo to the laundrette-friendly Balenciaga Bazar XL, colour, texture and silhouette are all under exploration this season.
For smooth and sensory, Johnny Coca’s offering at Mulberry exceeds the brief. Reminiscent of his reign at Céline, the collection includes the vibrant Brimley Tote in Gold Ochre Silky Calf, with structured handles and a removable shoulder strap. There is a hint of trapeze styling and the bag’s rich hue gives an original twist. Also new for Autumn, the Amberley has an equestrian-influenced ring-shaped hardware, just the right side of edgy. This larger satchel-style and its cousin the Amberley Hobo cover two aspects of the seventies trend too, with muted colours and a boxy silhouette. If hardworking bags are your thing, the multitasking Hobo offers the option to use the detachable front pocket cross body. Retaining the characteristic Mulberry values fresh from the English countryside, their shapes are evolving into a more elegant incarnation.
JW Anderson too, confident from the success of his Pierce Bag and Logo Purse styles, is experimenting with something more unstructured. His Knot Leather Hobo has an adjustable shoulder strap and plenty of room for essentials and a spare pair of heels. The calfskin means it retains softness and the integral signature, a large knot at the base, gives it a recognisable twist. Rose pink might win over black but the choice is there in case you need one.
A more playful approach comes in the form of the double handled Balenciaga shopping-style totes. A far cry from the brand’s staples such as the City shoulder bag, these massive holdalls really can take you from boardroom to bedroom, with room for several changes of clothing and even the kitchen sink. The zip closure ensures whatever items placed inside inside stay there, and while the danger of over-filling might be a real one, polka dots, stripes and leopard print are surely enough to remind the user that life is a little short to try and pack it all in at once.
If statements are more your thing and colour alone won’t do it, Delpozo might have the answer. Their circular Large Moon Bag features built in top handles and a full side of embellishments reminiscent of afternoons spent in a sweet shop. Lined in luxurious calfskin, the architectural shape is sculpted to harmonise with everything from fluid suiting, to staples like denim and the LBD. Volume and colour on one face of the bag explore the couture elements of the brand’s Spanish heritage, as large sequins and intricate oversized Perspex beads contrast with the plain side of the bag. While it might be difficult to use this as a clutch, as it possible with the Small Moon, the couture aspect is attractive enough to override this minor irritation.
The massive bag echoes the trend for flatter shoes on the catwalk and practical, witty daywear. It reminds us that we need to be prepared for anything, and we need to do it elegantly.
Words Alison Catchpole