I noticed an online promotion recently, cheerfully and very hopefully exclaiming, “This is the one replica mulberry handbag bag you need this season”.
It was a cute circular bamboo bag that I remember from the 70s but, on the whole, it was an extraordinary claim.
The absolute must-have replica handbag, the “it bag”, the one bag that will change your life and pronounce to the world that you are a true fashion insider hasn’t really been a thing for years now.
Of course there are, and will always be, classic bags such as the Hermes Kelly and Birkin bags, the quilted, chain-handled Chanel 2.55, the woven Bottega Veneta bag, or the Longchamp tote.
These are beautiful, functional examples of timeless design that defy trends. And there will always be new, pretty, seasonal handbags to update your look.
But no one really believes that a handbag is the key to a woman’s style credibility.
For a while, staring in the early 2000s, those of us deep in the fashion world all fell for the idea that there was one bag, an “it bag” that defined a season.
It started with the release of the Prada bowling bag. Then we were told it was Gucci’s Jackie O bag, refreshed by the house’s then-designer Tom Ford. I bought three, stupid me, in black, in brown and in a print.
Then, whoosh, it was the Fendi Baguette bag, a smallish, embellished bag that came in endless complex variations from satin to ostrich, beaded, embroidered and enamelled, a bag that completely changed the Fendi fortunes.
Naturally, every fashion house wanted to create an “it bag” for financial reasons. The pressure was on. There were waiting lists.
They cost at least a month’s wages and became increasingly ridiculous, designed to impress rather than deliver