It can seem like a small detail but how one carries one's handbag can have a key effect on a look. In March 2012, we highlighted the clutch bag trend where women off and on the catwalk were holding their bags under their arms. Now we are faced with a number of bag-holding options from designers. Always here to give you a (chic) helping hand, we're presenting our definitive How To Hold Your Bag Next Season guide, will illustrations courtesy of Tom Baxter.Will you hold it the Céline way? (tucked under your arm, pulled close to the body and wrist)
Phoebe Philo has been a key influencer in the bag holding movement over recent seasons (as well as the leader of the flat shoe movement). Since S/S11, her girls have been tucking their bags under their arms and clutching their clutches close to their bodies. There's always a look of ease with Philo's designs, and tucking a small bag under one's arm certainly suggests elegance, confidence and luxury. A Céline woman would never be seen lugging lots of stuff around with her – she's a woman who can edit. The new Céline bag proposition, titled the Orb, is quite different to any of the previous bags. With 5-oversized press stud fasteners, it has a flatpack, envelope feel rather than the hard, rigid structure favoured by other brands. Models wore the new bag close to the body, with the hand grasping at the side edge. The Orb comes in a variety of colour ways, including navy and oxblood with yellow stitching, mirroring the colour ways of the collection's platform sandals. Will you hold it the Prada way? (pull that shoulder bag chain tight over your shoulder)
A key similiarity between many of these bag holding options is the way the bag is worn on the side. Indeed, some women will be a little concerned about what happens to the belongings if you're carrying your bag on its side as Miuccia, Phoebe and Maison Margiela are suggesting. The Prada bag is essentially a shoulder bag, but the new style is to pull the chain forward so the bag becomes tilted – the same styling technique was also seen at Miu Miu. The carrying method also makes reference to the rucksack, which was a popular style for the Prada Sport line in the 1990s. Will you hold it the Maison Martin Margiela way? (resting on the inner wrist and hip and attached via a clip to clothing)
The safety of belongings is an important factor in bag design that is often forgotten by designers. So it's comforting to see that Maison Martin Margiela have security in mind this season, featuring a leather clutch bag that comes with a removable strap which can be attached to clothing or used as a hand strap. The strap has clips at each end so can be removed. Another interesting point of note is the bag's shape, Like the Céline Orb, it has a somewhat pinched shape, allowing the bag to sit snugly at the waist or just below the hips. Will you hold it the Balenciaga way? (two or three in one hand, in size order)
In his third season at Balenciaga, Alexander Wang is suggesting that rather than carrying one bag, two or three is the best way to go, like the example above in beige alligator (size medium) and leather Cable (size small). The key part to the look is that the bags are the same style, in varying materials and styles. The look is reminscient of handfuls of shopping bags (think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman just after she hit Rodeo Drive). Perhaps he's suggesting we do the two-bag look for day, one containing our paperwork and laptop for the office, and the smaller Shopper with our evening essentials. Will you hold it the Chanel way? (in a shopping basket)
For A/W08, Karl Lagerfeld proposed quilted ankle bags (inspired by police monitoring devices and named the Rehab bag). "For a woman who crosses her legs in a nightclub, leaning over and pulling out her lipstick becomes a very beautiful gesture," he said. At his latest show (that well-documented Shopping Center), he put his classic quilted bags in Chanel chain shopping baskets and for others, wrapped them in plastic, like vacuum-packed steaks. Delicious. The bag within a bag idea also continued with a more practical (and saleable) version of the 2.55 quilted clutch which features a leather inner bag with a drawstring top.
Text by Laura Bradley