A Micro Love Affair

by Emmeline Ong

Why tiny bags are taking up more room in the baggage department.

We live in times where phones are getting upsized and bags are shrinking. S/M/L is no longer adequate size vocabulary for bags; the choices for size are so varied now that I often find myself pausing briefly at shopping menu selections. Where is the line drawn, when it comes to “small leather goods” if the bag size spectrum now includes mini, micro and nano selections?

For this bag lover, the mild confusion is a happy problem. Now, when faced with the eternal debate of whether I need yet another bag in a similar shape and size, there are more reasons to indulge.

Tiny bags are not a modern invention though. Back in the 19th century, women carried compact-sized bags with a drawstring closure, known as reticules (or “indispensables” in England), for small items that would come in handy. These bags that resembled modern day wristlets performed the function needed at that point in time, and matched the fashion of the day where slimmer cuts no longer allowed for detachable “pockets” holding essential items to be worn under poufy skirts.

This little piece of history raises another point of consideration – utility. There’s no doubt that a roomy tote remains useful regardless of trends, but I see these mini contraptions remaining relevant even as the fashion spotlight moves on. With digital wallets and cashless payment becoming more common, carrying a physical wallet in your bag is likely more habitual than necessary. Instead, what you’ll be holding close on a day out could easily fit into a nifty micro bag – these include keys, a pack of tissues, some hand sanitizer, perhaps a lip balm or lipstick, and even a foldable reusable bag for your new haul. And in a compact size, there’s no rummaging; you know where everything is.

The best part about a tiny bag though, is that you can always fit it into a bigger bag if the trend reverses or the need arises. Even then, it would work to organize or separate your bag contents, all while qualifying as eye candy when you fish it out. Besides, with more time spent at home these days, they can dress up a room without taking up too much space. And if you decide to “double bag” or even “triple bag” it by wearing multiple bags, you can make a style statement without looking over the top.

Before you jump into the deep end of the spectrum – runway or red carpet style – here are a few picks more suited for the everyday to get you started.

The Classic: Louis Vuitton Petite Malle

Introduced to the Maison’s stable of bags in 2016 by Nicolas Ghesquière, the Petite Malle preserves the codes of Louis Vuitton’s historic Spirit of Travel, and is true to the French luxury house’s expertise in trunk making. From the shape, the Monogram Reverse canvas, the gold-tone lock and fittings, and even the sheepskin lining, the Louis Vuitton Petite Malle is impeccably crafted. Even its dust bag comes complete with leather corner protectors, like those for the trunks it was modelled after.

If you’re taking the first step towards welcoming a smaller than usual bag into your lineup, this miniature trunk’s versatility will see you through from day to night, as a casual crossbody with the shoulder strap attached, or as a clutch without. In the longer term, its exquisite construction is a work of art, and is likely to age well.

For a unique, seasonal take, the Fall/Winter 2021 rendition of the Petite Malle features a metallic-gold leather facade with faded portraits of ancient Roman statues. A striking statement, for sure.

The Contemporary: Bottega Veneta Mini Cassette

When Daniel Lee entered the house of Bottega Veneta, his creative direction led to a fresh interpretation of the brand’s artistry in woven leather. His bold approach brought many surprises including the clean lines and modern sensibility of the Cassette bag. Deceptively simple and expertly crafted, the recurring design makes a subtle yet distinct statement, propelling it to popularity in no time.

Riding on the micro bag trend, the Cassette is now miniaturised. Made from lambskin inside and out, the chic shoulder bag comes in classic black or white, a louder statement pink named Bonbon, the brand’s new signature green Parakeet, and an enigmatic deep green I’m partial to for its versatility, wearability and character – Rainforest.

The boxy shape makes for an efficient layout, and the magnetic closure perfectly complements its understated good looks.

The Iconic: Dior Micro Bags

Have a favoured bag that you’d like to take for a spin in a smaller size? Dior presents the mini-mes of their iconic bags in shades of the founding couterier’s favourite colours including rose de dents, cloud blue and mint or tundra green. If the soft palette isn’t your choice, the Lady Dior, 30 Montaigne, Dior Caro and Saddle micro bags also come in classic shades like black, red and latte.

Seen in new dimensions, these miniscule versions make each iconic design’s defining traits more pronounced than ever; less to carry, more to admire. If I could only choose one in the series, I’d go with the micro Saddle with its characteristic curves that would work on its own, and equally well if it ever calls for a double-bag situation – use it as a charm on a larger bag, or as an eye-catching styling point.

The Free-spirited: Loewe Nano Bags Box

And finally, if you’re undecided among the myriad of choices, there’s really no need to settle for just one; Loewe has the perfect solution in the form of the Nano Bags Box, with a colour and shape for every mood and outfit.

Untie the sanada-himo cord securing a handcrafted kiribako box made from Paulownia wood, and reveal five of Loewe’s most recognisable silhouettes – the Balloon, Flamenco, Gate, Hammock and Puzzle bags crafted in nappa calfskin, each in a colour available in nano size for the first time and exclusive to the box set.

Each bag’s compartment is lined in matching calfskin and embossed with an Anagram and the bag’s name. The supple Flamenco is crafted in a shade of pink named Candy, the Gate in alluring Lagoon Blue, the Hammock drawstring in brilliant Yellow, the Balloon in Primary Red, and Puzzle in a charismatic shade of green called Rosemary.

Who says you need to start with just one? Have it all and more importantly, have fun with it.

Images courtesy of respective brands featured, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related Links:

Loewe Flamenco, Resized and Reinvented.

Dioramour: Fairytales are Made of These

In the Name of Vanity

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