Unemployment is down and the stock market is up. Translation? “Luxury” is no longer a dirty word.
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As a result, we’ve noted an uptick of status bags (or “It” bags as they were known in those heady, pre-recession days) on designer boutique shelves. Although more understated and sedate than their blinged-out early aught’s counterparts, they share the same marks of exclusivity —i.e. a celebrity fan base, a waiting list, and a price tag that rivals that of a used Toyota Tercel. Curious to meet these new kings of the retail jungle? Read on.
Photo credit: Abaca USA/AKM-GSI
The Bag: Chloe Baylee
The Scoop: Any bag that includes a detachable chain you can wear as a bracelet is aces in our book. Although Creative Director Clare Waight Keller describes the tote as "simple" and "chic", there's still plenty details to catch the eye, including the two-tone body and sturdy gold hardware.
Celebrity Fans: Rihanna (pictured), Kate Bosworth, January Jones.
Available In: Sizes medium and small; smooth calfskin, perforated leather, ostrich. For full range of color options, see website.
The Scoop: At last, global-warming activists have a designer handbag in step with their politics. McCartney developed a new material, Eco Faux Leather, which uses vegetable oil instead of petroleum oil for the new design, which bowed this season. And, as with all Stella McCartney designs, the bag is free of animal products (i.e. leather) so it’s a win for vegans and PETA supporters, too.
The Scoop: As a key part of the Parisian label’s expansion into the accessories market, it was important to get this quirky-cool bag just right. To that end, designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim road-tested the prototype —literally— with a two-week car trip last spring that resulted in tweaks to make the final version more durable and spill-proof.
Celebrity Fans: Jessica Alba (pictured), Rashida Jones, Susie Bubble.
The Scoop: The name on every accessories editor’s lips this past season? Mansur Gavriel. The new leather goods line forgoes flashy hardware in favor of clean lines, quality Italian leather, and just the right pop of color. While all the designs enjoy hit status, the bucket bag is the real blockbuster of the group — you’d have better luck chatting up Big Foot than tracking one down.
Celebrity Fans: Kirsten Dunst (pictured), Emma Watson, Who What Wear Fashion Director Laurie Trott.
Available In: Cammello, brandy, and black with an assortment of interior colored resin coatings (see website for full range).
Bucket Bag ($495) in Camello, available for preorder
Photo credit: BJJ/FAMEFLYNET
The Bag: Givenchy Antigona
The Scoop: Unlike the other bags on this list, the Antigona didn’t make its debut this year. Still, as a constant on the wrists of every A-lister from Beyonce to Madonna, we’d be remiss not to include the sleek and structured tote.
The Scoop: Louis Vuitton’s newest bag is a versatile little number that’s consists of several organizational compartments and can be worn over the shoulder or on the arm. It also comes in a logo-free version for those who’d prefer to fly under the designer radar.
Celebrity Fans: Miranda Kerr (pictured), Alexa Chung, Emma Watson.
Available In: Satchel, long wallet, compact wallet, and with charm handle. For full range of colors, see website.
The Scoop: Though it bears a faint resemblance to a certain Hermes classic, Saint Laurent’s Sac de Jour (or “bag of the day”) is the anti-It bag with its discreet logo and minimalist details. Designed by Hedi Slimane, the bag debuted this fall but will be part of Saint Laurent’s permanent collection. (Good news for those who need some time to save up.)
The Scoop: Introduced with the label’s the Resort 14 collection, the clear, plexiglass bag takes its design cues from the label’s most iconic fragrance bottle. “I never thought to use the No.5 bottle for handbags,” explained designer Karl Lagerfeld to Vogue.com. “I think it’s cute.”