The Fashion Memo

The Investment Bags To Cherish Forever

Finding a forever bag is easy with these eternally chic styles by iconic luxury fashion houses. Read on to discover your favorite(s), plus some top styling tips for all occasions from #THENETWORK – our global community of inspiring women

Words Gillian BrettFashion assistant Connie Parkinson
Naomi Shimada models Jacquemus’ ‘Le Chiquito Noeud’ shoulder bag

Jacquemus’ ‘Le Chiquito’

Revered for its irreverent handbag designs, Jacquemus is a firm favorite with fashion insiders – and the brand’s ‘Le Chiquito’ range is no exception. Coming in a neat, boxy shape with an artfully twisted handle (‘Le Chiquito Noeud’), and a longer version with a curved grab handle (‘Le Chiquito Long’), as well as myriad colors, it can be difficult to choose just one. For presenter and author Naomi Shimada, the optic-white style was the perfect partner to a sky-blue dress by Anna Quan. As one of the chic tastemakers from our global community #THENETWORK, Shimada has an eye for sophisticated yet playful pieces. “I feel like less is just more,” she says. “One great, simple dress in a great color, with this bag, pared down with white socks, sneakers and earrings – that’s all it needs to be. I think the blue and white is just such a nice combination.” On off-duty days, Shimada describes wearing it with “a white T-shirt, oversized white button-up, baggy jeans and some white chunky slides”, but considers it the perfect accessory for work meetings and big events, too, making it truly multitasking arm candy.

Saint Laurent’s ‘Loulou’

Saint Laurent’s shoulder bag pays homage to the friendship between Yves Saint Laurent and Loulou de la Falaise – one of the legendary designer’s closest collaborators. So, as well as being a sophisticated choice, it is imbued with fashion history. If you’re seeking a bag to elevate daywear and complete every evening look, you’ve found it – the ‘Loulou’ is elegant and endlessly versatile. Whether you opt for the leather or chain strap, the gleaming ‘YSL’ logo promises a touch of glamour whatever the occasion.

Bottega Veneta’s ‘Jodie’

Bottega Veneta’s signature intrecciato weave remains one of its most long-standing house codes, making its logo-less bags instantly identifiable to those in the know. The brand’s ‘Jodie’ has become such a cult item that its unique knotted design is just as defining, and makes it a covetable choice in fuzzy shearling and crystal-embellished finishes, too. Debuting in 2020 as part of the brand’s Resort collection, it is said that the name was inspired by a photo of actor Jodie Foster shielding herself from the paparazzi with a large black Bottega Veneta bag. It’s since clocked up many celebrity fans of its own, including Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber.

‘Puzzle’ shoulder bag, Loewe
Marisa Martins models Loewe’s ‘Puzzle’ shoulder bag

Loewe’s ‘Puzzle’

“I think that simple designs often make the most impact, and the ‘Puzzle’ bag offers a shape that is incredibly unique and eye-catching,” says digital creator Marisa Martins. Renowned for crafting fashion-forward and ultra-desirable bags at Loewe, creative director Jonathan Anderson’s ‘Puzzle’ is a modern It-bag. Crafted from asymmetric panels of supple leather, it now comes in a couple of iterations – with or without hardware. This pared-back version has a day-to-night sensibility. For a dinner date, Martins styled it with Victoria Beckham tailored pants and a sleek leather jacket. In the warmer months, she says she’ll pair it with Khaite’s ‘Uma’ off-the-shoulder midi dress and Leset’s ‘Romy’ satin mules. “For a more casual pairing, I’d style the ‘Puzzle’ bag with the ‘Sisilia’ cotton-poplin shirt from The Row, the ‘Linn’ high-rise straight-leg jeans from Tove, and Maison Margiela’s ‘Tabi’ split-toe leather ballet flats,” she adds. “The bag is versatile, classic and design-forward. I can see myself gravitating towards it when getting dressed for many years to come; it’s hard not to fall in love with it.”

Chloé’s ‘Marcie’

Celebrating the house’s equestrian roots, Chloé’s ‘Marcie’ debuted its unique saddle-like silhouette in 2010. Today, it has evolved into a neat baguette shape with tonal hardware and a tasseled pendant that nods to the original design. There is also a capacious tote style with whipstitched handles in tribute to the 2010 version. Now under the creative direction of Gabriela Hearst, the maison’s elegant, artisanal collections are true forever pieces; Hearst’s timeless take on the ‘Marcie’ is testament to that.

Alaïa’s ‘Mina’

Alaïa’s laser-cut ‘Mina’ epitomizes the French maison’s sculptural aesthetic and eye for detail. Wearing one feels like proudly displaying a piece of art on your arm. That’s not to say this bag isn’t practical, too – the larger sizes, such as the ‘Mina 25’, will hold all your daily essentials, while the detachable shoulder strap makes for easy carrying. Meanwhile, the more diminutive versions, like ‘Le Mina 20’, are ideal for days and nights when all you need are your phone, wallet and lipstick.

TyLynn Nguyen models The Row’s ‘N/S Park’ tote
‘N/S Park’ tote, The Row

The Row’s ‘N/S Park’

For uncomplicated, elevated designs, The Row always delivers. The New York-based brand’s ‘N/S Park’ tote is a clean-lined, fuss-free design with a subtly printed logo. “I love that this bag is so elegant and can go with anything,” says minimalism aficionado TyLynn Nguyen. “Dressed up or down, this bag is a classic item you can add to your wardrobe.” Here, Nguyen styles the ivory version casually with a Chloé knit and Agolde jeans, but for an evening event, she says “a beautiful, fitted midi pencil skirt, turtleneck and leather jacket with an easy slingback would elevate this bag”.

Gucci’s ‘Jackie 1961’

The hint is in the name for Gucci’s ‘Jackie 1961’ bag, which has been a must-have since the ’60s. Named after former First Lady and style icon Jacqueline Kennedy, the bag had a modern makeover for the house’s FW20 show. Paying homage to the original design are the sleek shoulder strap and gold-tone piston clasp, while the smooth leather finish lends a contemporary feel. Stylish actors Jodie Turner-Smith and Cate Blanchett have already given it their seal of approval, with Turner-Smith styling hers with classic tailoring, and Blanchett opting for a vintage-style jumpsuit to complement the bag’s timeless aesthetic.

Valentino Garavani’s ‘One Stud’

Studs have become a house signature for this historic Italian brand, and Valentino Garavani’s chic ‘One Stud’ is one of its most sought-after styles. From chain straps that add instant glamour to laid-back raffia finishes, this family of bags truly covers all occasions. While the gilded hardware adds a polished feel to any look you pair it with, it also brings a playful, punkish spirit – so wear it with everything from luxe leather pants and a silk blouse to billowing spring dresses.

Discover our global community of inspiring, stylish women, #THENETWORK, and see how these tastemakers and thought leaders from around the world wear their favorite NET‑A‑PORTER pieces, celebrating their individuality and the transformative force of fashion

How to take care of your bags

Ensure your bags last longer with expert advice from repair-and-alterations service The Seam:

1) Store handbags to maintain their shape and protect the fabric

When they’re not in use, leather handbags should be stored away from any light source to protect the pigmentation and finish of the leather. You can achieve this by storing it in a dust-bag when it isn’t in your regular wardrobe rotation.

It’s important not to store handbags hanging by their handles, as this can distort the handle’s integrity over time. Structured handbags should be stored empty – even ones you wear frequently – to give them the opportunity to air out. Less structured bags can be stored with crumpled paper inside to help maintain their shape and avoid creases.

2) Use maintenance products with caution

Leather cleaners and moisturizers can be an effective way to renew handbags at home and preserve them over time. That said, it’s important to ensure that the product you’re using is suitable for the treatment, pigment and finish of any given bag.

You should never use leather cleaners or moisturizers on ink or grease stains, as these products can make them worse. When in doubt, enlist an expert at The Seam. For bags that you use regularly, an annual professional clean is a good idea.

3) Don’t wait around for needed repairs

When handbags begin to show signs of wear, acting quickly on these services can reduce the cost. Some of the most common handbag services performed at The Seam include refinishing scuffed leather surfaces and repairing cracked piping.

The sooner the damage is addressed, the simpler the fix. It’s also true that scuffed leather is more prone to permanent stains, because the seal on the leather finish has been broken, so bringing it to a specialist before continuing wear is advised.

Find out how to extend the life of your clothes and accessories with our Repair & Rewear service, powered by The Seam