It is no secret that leather goods account for the highest revenue in all luxury fashion houses. Out of all, the so called ‘It Bag’ has been the most important piece of the success puzzle. Pioneers have always been Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior and Prada. However we are now seeing more and more brands catching up. With some re-vamping old collections and others creating new styles from scratch, the race for the next new and perfect ‘It Bag’ has been massive. We will be looking at the meaning of an ‘It Bag’, the importance of it for a brand and what are brands releasing in 2021!
The ‘It Bag’ Criteria
The ‘It Bag’ concept came to life in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Mostly referring to designer pieces, a bag can reach the status of an ‘it bag’ only under certain circumstances. First of all it needs to be a best seller and overall public adoration is a must! Second of all, the feel of exclusivity must be there. As history proves, the reason why certain bags have been having the all time ‘it bag’ status, was because they had the celebrity endorsement. Think about Lady Dior handbag made by the house of Dior. The late Lady Diana was the most photographed woman in the world and as she was wearing the Dior bag everywhere, the Lady Dior was consequently becoming popular. The exclusivity came from the fact that it have you the aspirational feel and sense. After all, you could be caring the same handbag as Lady Diana did in her time! Can’t get more aspirational than this, can it?
A Handbag can Save a Brand!
Throughout history, handbags have been extremely important. In some cases were even the saving card for a brand! For Fendi for example, the ‘baguette’ came as a life saver and it changed the way consumers perceived the brand. Designed by Silvia Venturini, it had a massive success in the early 2000s and represented a golden ticket for the brand. Not only it increased the brand’s revenue considerably, but it also gave it international recognition. It is even more remarkable that 20 years later, we still see the famous ‘baguette’ on the arms of modern women, only further proving the timeless design. Prada has gone through something similar with their nylon backpack, but not so much for the design, as for the material used. Launched in 1984, the nylon fabric usage in this manner was revolutionary as it was an unusual choice for a luxury piece. Prada managed to make it acceptable in the luxury world. And here we are, in 2021, still craving for the Prada re-edition 2000s handbags and of course, the backpack.
We can take this example for so many brands, where the handbags became synonymous and representing the brand in themselves. Dior with the Saddle Bag and the Lady Dior, Channel with the Classic Flap and Louis Vuitton with Alma and the Neverfull, are just some examples. These handbags have helped the brands grow in popularity and most importantly, go global!!!
The ‘It Bag’ of Modern Times Struggle
There is no doubt that creating the perfect handbag is a complex and tricky process. It is always a risk as the stakes are always high. Think of Fendi for example and how they tried for so many years to come close to the success the “Baguette” had. The closest model was the Peakok? Model and was still far away from the 2000s success.
One of the reasons can be the abundant choice a consumer has in today’s times. Especially considering the massive reach digital marketing has given brands. With everyone battling for the next ‘it bag’, it is very hard for consumers to pick one winner above all other models, simply because there are too many.
On the bright side though, consumers now spend more than they used to. With the average woman climbing on the corporate ladder, they tend to have more and more disposable income to spend as they please. A handbag is everything in a woman’s life. Therefore they tend to buy not one, but multiple luxury handbags in a shorter spam. And hey, if you can afford it, then why not, right?
A comforting factor in easing this decision is also the ever-growing pre-loved handbag market. If you are growing tiered of your luxury piece, you can always sell it! Provided that it is in a good condition, you can get back almost the full value, which makes luxury stopping pretty darn safe! With some limited editions, it can be even an investment. So forget about stock market, handbags can give a profit too!!!
Hit or Miss 2020-2021 Handbags
So we already established that there were many designs coming in the front row of a luxury brand in the past year or two. Regardless of a completely new design or a re-designed logo, they can’t all earn the title of an ‘it bag’, right? Let’s look at some of the brands and see what they came up with!
Donatella Versace has been experimenting lately with the brand and fortunately, finally acknowledged the lack of handbag design offerings within the brand. Think about it, when you envision Versace style, there is no bag that comes along with it, right? Well that’s about to change, as Versace has joined the race for an ‘it bag’ and launched few very fashionable items this year. Colorful, practical and classy, they definitely will be an appeal for most women of all ages.
Now I know what you are thinking. What does Cartier, the famous jewelry making giant, doing in the handbag category. Well, frankly speaking, looking to increase revenues. Only some of the jewelry is easily recognizable and most of the time only caters to the very rich pillars of the society. The handbag, although still pricy, will be targeting a wider demographic that can afford to splurge on one item. It will be also putting the Cartier logo on the map, making it easily recognizable to the public.
The hit or miss factor, I leave it up to you to decide. What do you think? Did they nail it with this design of the Nano Shoulder Bag or are they still far behind?
For the luxury houses that have been present for decades, a handbag can come from two sources. Either you design a brand new one, or you re-vamp an old and successful design to match the trends of the current decade. Prada did it, Dior did it, and now Gucci has done it as well with the release of the Jackie 1968 handbag. It comes in bright colors, perfect every-day size and still matching the retro fler of the old times. If you want to read more about it, please check my other article here!
As the race for the next ‘it bag’ continues, Dior has been putting a lot of marketing efforts into winning the stand. Instagram famous people are recruited to wear Dior products exactly for the purpose of creating enough buzz around a bag, that it can become the new ‘it bag’.
It was during the Fall 2020 Collection, that Maria Grazia Chiuri unveiled the new Dior Bobby Bag, which was supposed to be the new ‘it bag’ of Dior. The web of instagramers receiving it was huge and they marketing campaign tried everything to make us want this bag. Unfortunately, this never happened and the bag was not as successful as planned. Sure, it is a wonderful bag, but if you would have to pick one from Dior, would you choose the Bobby Bag?
The classic flap was always the best-selling bag of Chanel. The design seems to be timeless as even after so many years, this bag is on the list of every woman on the planet. It’s a cult classic, a fashion staple. The only downside to the bag was its’ association to basically older and richer demographics. This fact made it less appealing to the young population. I mean, yes, even I think I will one day own a Chanel Classic Flap, however I feel it doesn’t match my style quite yet.
Karl Lagerfeld, being an absolute genius, noticed this gap in the market and he released the Chanel 19 Bag, in what will be his last collection. Now this bag will keep the quilt style of the classic model, but in a different and wider pattern. It is also coming in a more relaxed every-day shape. The perfect shape for the modern on-the-go woman and it’s been a smashing success since its’ launch.
In spite of this not being a 2020-2021 release, I had to mention it as it singlehandedly created a new trend for puffy/pillow aesthetic handbags. This has influenced other new releases heavily, as we will see in the next releases.
This brand has been with us for a while and surely we all know Coach. It’s no secret they had some ups and downs throughout history. As they got lost into the discount sales web, they were perceived for a while, cheap. With this also their designs were becoming rather boring and brand reputation went downhill from there.
Lately there has been a shift in the brand’s identity and many changes have happened with Coach. For starters, J. Lo was appointed as the brand ambassador, in an attempt of reviving the brand. Newer and trendier designs for their handbags have also came back and the prices have been remaining steady! By doing so, the brand reduced the discount sales portion. They hope by doing so, they will change the perception of the consumer towards the brand.
Two handbag models have been particularly famous in this period. One is The Pillow Tabby Shoulder Bag, which is beyond cute if you ask me! I strongly believe that if Chanel 19 had a baby with Prada Re-Edition, this would be the result!!! It would be the Coach Tabby Bag ☺.
The second handbag is the Tabby Shoulder Bag 26 In Colorblock, which has a similar shape, but in a more rigid form.
What do you think? Wouldn’t you hit the Coach store as we speak??
When it comes to Valentino, the roman stud styles have been a fan favorite for long time. I’m talking shoes and handbags, full of roman golden studs, these were the best sellers for a while. However, as time passed, the brand needed a re-vamp, and as we’ve seen with other brands, it always works.
It was this year that Valentino re-envisioned the roman stud aesthetic, launching a collection with bigger studs on quilted nappa leather. It is definitely one of my favorite collections of 2021!
This brand is recognized for many things, but handbags has never been one of them. Like many others, they have recognized the importance of a good handbag when it comes to revenues. Recently I saw a daring design for a cute bucket style bag which I think needs a mention. It is the Curve Bag, pictures below. What do you think? Would you invest in it?
Lastly, I would like to talk about the handbag designs of Givenchy, which in my view has completely missed the mark on what the modern woman likes and most of all, needs!
First of all, let’s talk about these basic and super simple 4G Bags by Mathew Williams. At first I felt it looked so familiar with other styles that we already have on the market. And for good reason! The bags are so simple and so basic, that anyone could have made one. The only difference is the logo, which seems to be enough for Givenchy as a distinction.
We then have the Cut Out Bag in Box Leather, which is definitely not everyones cup of tea. It doesn’t speak to a wide demographic at all, making the bag a rather flop. Not to mention for the logo enthusiasts, this bag doesn’t even show a logo, which is such a shame considering brand recognition is imperative in these days.
That’s it for today Friday Scoopers! There have been many bags to go through, and as i said, competition is tough! Would you make a purchase for any of the afore mention bags? Is any an ‘It Bag’? Tell us what you think!