Don’t just invest in style when you can have a piece on heritage, too.
Buying a luxury bag can be quite the project with an infinite checklist prior to the purchase. Size, functionality, price, longevity, beauty, popularity…
The first point of deliberation is always easy: Picking a brand and the desired styles. In addition, other lust-worthy factors from Social Media-trending pieces to classics that come with a backstory that validates its popularity and superstar status. Case in point: Hermès’ Birkin and Chanel’s 2.55 — two iconic bags that require no elaborate introductions. Aside from newly-released styles, every storied fashion house has a variety of renowned icons that are given fresh iterations each fashion season. Some of these style updates may include a redesign in shape, or size; a swap in leathers, skins, or fabrics; or simply an offering of colour/s that pay homage to the house.
Colour codes of a house are sacred and definitely next in line on the character charts for consideration. Most legendary (and thriving) maisons have at least one signature hue from Dior’s Trianon Grey, Schiaparelli’s shocking pink, Fendi’s sunny shade of yellow; just to name a few. These revered colour codes may not always make an appearance in major fashion collections every season but when they do, they command respect, as well as a solid nod on brand identities that were built over time.
Calfskin One Stud bag (with detachable sling), ribbon-embellished wool mini dress, opaque tights and calfskin platform boots; all by Valentino.
Red is the celebrated colour for this Roman maison ever since its founder, Mr Valentino Garavani, was smitten by it as a youth attending the opera in Barcelona. “All the costumes on the stage were red… All the women in the boxes were mostly dressed in red, and they leaned forward like geraniums on balconies and the seats and drapes were red too…” The late couturier once mused.
A radical move however, forever changed the fashion history books in March this year. Christened Valentino Pink PP, the name was more than just a title for creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s headline-ing Fall/Winter ’22 Ready-To-Wear show. It’s also the official colour label for the collection’s brilliant fuchsia pink, which the Italian designer collaborated/created with Pantone.
Piccioli’s pink-only (and the occasional all-black) presentation saw head-to-toe ensembles in strictly, a single shade. Calling it “monotone,” Piccioli likened the one-colour focus as a method of creating attention to clothing silhouette (and detail) rather than detracting from it. This mind-boggling concept simply means doing more with less. Or, in other words, choosing to advocate a quiet elegance with just the right amounts of shock factor.
Calfskin-lined flap bag in tweed with gold-tone ruthenium-finish chain; tweed coat, wool stockings and rubber Wellington boots; all by Chanel.
Gabrielle Coco Chanel revolutionised women’s fashion and did it so effortlessly because she was essentially making clothes that she would wear herself. In the course of her career, the astute designer relied on a classic colourway that instantly become the chic colour codes of the French house, too. There are five essential colours credited to Mademoiselle Coco’s reign: Black, White, Beige, Gold and Red; each representing a special meaning to the remarkable couturier. Black represented elegance (the shade that Chanel subscribed to when she wanted to look sharp), while White denotes purity and minimalism. Beige on the other hand, was in Chanel’s eyes an in-between but versatile hue, perfect for mix-and-matching outfits. And last but not least, the peerless shades of Gold and Red, which were often highlights on finishings and other accoutrements (think buttons and costume jewellery) to the trademark red lipstick Chanel herself wore and — but, of course — the inner lining of the beloved 2.55 handbag.
In this season’s offering, creative director Virginie Viard picked tweed to pay tribute to the founder’s love for menswear. This Scottish country-style fabric is also emblematic of the maison, with its folklore dating back to when Chanel herself would wear men’s jackets and trousers fashioned in tweed and belonged to her lover, the Duke of Westminster — no less.
Cashmere romper and Kelly II Sellier, by Hermès.
Assuming orange as the colour icon of this equestrian house would be half accurate. The “Hermès orange” is synonymous with the brand primarily due to the status symbol of its packaging boxes. As a matter of fact, the colour orange was really a convenient replacement that was made out of sheer necessity when the Second World War and Nazi Occupation in Paris rendered a shortage in the original beige.
Truth be told, this high-luxury house is renowned for more than just its citrus-named hues: Orange, Orange H, or Classic Orange. Across the decades, a wide range of several other colours have gained popularity, especially when expressed via the brand’s most coveted bags. These colours can be extremely rare and they come and go by the season. More interestingly, these colours have earned inimitable names that roll off the tongues of ardent Hermès fans like famed heroines.
One such example is Etoupe, a high-brow grey-brown taupe. This opulent shade has a utilitarian vibe that’s more sporty and youthful than the luxury label’s Gold (a classic camel shade), or Parchemin (a pink-base cream).
Panthère de Cartier Small chain bag in grained leather with golden finish; Panthère de Cartier watch in steel with diamonds and Panthère de Cartier ring in white gold with emeralds, onyx and diamonds; all by Cartier. Off-shoulder knit top, by ESSE Studios; and vegan leather skirt, by Nanushka; both by Net-a-Porter.
Luxury fashion houses aren’t the only companies that produce high-end designer bags. This 175-year old French jeweller has been making bags since the 1920s when the workshops catered to a made-to-order service that customised bags with ornate jewellery closures.
For Fall ’22, the esteemed jewellery house has launched a brand new Panthère de Cartier handbag. Refreshed with a softer shaper and an updated Panthère clasp, this deluxe style is adorned with a jewellery-inspired chain handle (its links are shaped like faceted stones) and allows its wearer two styles of sling function: On the shoulder, or cross-body.
Designed by Marlin Yuson, the artistic director of Cartier’s accessories studio, the curvaceous bag comes in two sizes and seven colours, one of which is a gallant red, reminiscent of the jewellery company’s precious jewellery box.
Calfskin leather Capucines BB; wool D-Ring turtleneck; and embellished tweed dress; all by Louis Vuitton.
This venerable French house is famed for its Monogram pattern rather than a signature colour. Thanks to a refined craftmanship of coated polyvinylchloride on cotton canvas, the gold-tone LV Monogram (on a rich chocolate brown) is often mistaken for luxe leather instead of fabric. Early this year, this monochromatic colourway even earned a chic label in the beauty world for the perfect and most luxurious shade of brunette, otherwise known as “Louis Vuitton brown”. The prestigious moniker earns its name from the rich toffee-brown shade reminiscent of worn-in Louis Vuitton carriers. A glorified patina rather than colour fade — if you will.
On the Fall/Winter ’22 runway, this splendid shade of tan popped up as trims on Monogram canvas bags that were adorned with painterly flowers and metallic finishes. Dubbed Camel Brown, this classic hue is even more timeless when rendered on the season’s LV Pearl Capucines. This bold handbag with its standout top-handle (steel-hammered to mimic a gold braided chain, no less) is a feast on the eyes and boasts an extra special touch — a decorative malachite-inspired LV-initial clasp inlaid in mother-of-pearl.