The Fashion Memo

The Investment Bags To Cherish Forever

Finding a forever bag is easy with these eternally chic styles being delivered by iconic luxury fashion houses. Read on to discover your favorites – plus, some expert advice from repair service The Seam on how best to look after them

Words Chloe StreetFashion assistant Haajira Muzzamil
Fashion
When it comes to arm candy, a classic Loewe bag is the ultimate investment piece

Loewe’s ‘Puzzle’, ‘Flamenco’ and ‘Squeeze’

Creative director Jonathan Anderson has masterfully positioned Spanish brand Loewe in the sweet spot between quirky and cool, and his accessories are always the most covetable. From the origami-inspired ‘Puzzle’ bag, which is crafted from asymmetric panels of supple leather and can be styled in five different ways, to the cleverly designed ‘Hammock’ bag, the flexible sides of which can be collapsed or expanded to create a variety of silhouettes, there’s a playfulness to all Loewe accessories. The ‘Squeeze’ bag, one of the newest members to the family (and detailed with vintage-inspired gold chains) is already a modern classic – much like the ‘Flamenco’ leather tote, which first launched in the ’80s and is still going strong.

Whether you opt for black or taupe; mini or large, Saint Laurent’s ‘Le 5 à 7’ bag is a classic

Saint Laurent’s ‘Bea’, ‘Le 5 à 7’ and ‘Jamie 4.3’

Looking to inject your wardrobe with a touch of smoldering Parisian cool? Saint Laurent’s beautifully crafted bags will elevate even the most pared-back outfit. The ‘Jamie 4.3’, for instance, is an elegant and endlessly versatile shoulder bag with a gold chain strap that works as well with a linen shirt, jeans and pumps as it does a party top and heels. Alternatively, there’s the ‘Le 5 à 7’ style, first launched for spring 2021, which comes in both a structured ’90s shape and a slouchy ‘Supple’ version, or the capacious ‘Bea’ tote – Saint Laurent’s chic, supersized answer to a shopper. Très jolie!

Bottega Veneta’s ‘Sardine’ (left) and ‘Andiamo’ (right) showcase the brand’s signature intrecciato weave

Bottega Veneta’s ‘Sardine’, ‘Hop’ and ‘Andiamo’

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. Since Matthieu Blazy took the Bottega Veneta helm in 2021, he’s honed in on the weave to super-chic effect. The ‘Andiamo’ tote is effortlessly sophisticated – and, thanks to its size, wonderfully practical – while the softly structured ‘Hop’ style is designed to mould to the body, making it supremely comfortable to carry. The ‘Sardine’ bag is a supple pouch that gets its name from its golden fish-shaped handle, which Blazy first debuted at the autumn/winter ’22 show, and is now positively swimming off the shelves.

Whichever style you go for, The Row’s luxurious bags are always exquisitely crafted

The Row’s ‘Sofia’, ‘N/S Park’ and ‘Envelope’

Since it launched back in 2006, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s brand, The Row, has become a byword for understated luxury. To own one of its achingly cool, minimalist designs is to join a club of sorts, recognized only by the most sartorially literate. The handbags – beautifully crafted from fine leather in Italy and stamped with the most discreet, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it logos – are a perfect example of this stealth-wealth aesthetic. Introduced in 2021, the ‘N/S Park’ tote, carried by New Yorkers Gigi Hadid, Jennifer Lawrence and Zoë Kravitz, has a soft bucket shape and comes in three different sizes – the largest has plenty of space for a laptop or change of clothes. Alternatively, for something daintier, try the brand’s elegant ‘Sofia’ shoulder bag or sleek ‘Envelope’ style, which are about as classic as they come. Pair with straight-leg denim, loafers and an oversized shirt for a timeless look.

Khaite’s ‘Lotus’, ‘Elena’ and ‘Olivia’

From cool-girl ballet flats and cowboy boots to must-have chunky earrings – New York label Khaite knows how to create a cult accessory, and its handbags are no exception. Designed in collaboration with prestigious factories in Veneto and Tuscany, Italy, each style is masterfully crafted using exquisite materials, from irresistibly soft suede to plush pebbled leather in dynamic, considered shapes. Choose between the new-and-improved ‘Lotus’ tote in durable, lightweight canvas – inspired by the fluidity of a scarf and reinforced with leather for structure – or the circular shape of the ‘Olivia’ style, which taps into the season’s trend for crescent-shaped arm candy and comes in beautiful burgundy and mushroom hues. Alternatively, the ‘Elena’ bag is reminiscent of classic ’90s shoulder-bag styles and has been updated this season with domed silver studs for a punkish vibe.

Toteme’s ‘T-Lock’ bag
Katie Holmes is a ‘T-Lock’ forever fan

Toteme’s ‘T-Lock’ and ‘Bucket’

Since it launched in 2014, Swedish label Toteme has garnered a cult following among fashion purists, who appreciate clever design and craftsmanship minus the labels. The brand’s softly structured ‘Bucket’ tote is practical and timeless, while the ‘T-Lock’ bag – launched in November 2022 – comes in both a clutch and a top-handle style and is the epitome of understated elegance; no wonder Katie Holmes, who has one in every color, is rarely seen without hers.

Valentino Garavani’s iconic ‘VLogo’ bag comes in so many iterations, you’ll need more than one

Valentino Garavani’s ‘VLogo’

A Valentino Garavani bag is always sure to get you noticed, and the Italian brand’s iconic ‘VLogo’, which first appeared on designs in the late ’60s, is instantly recognizable. From structured crossbody bags and monogrammed totes to the crescent-shaped styles introduced as part of the SS24 collection (a favorite of Simone Ashley and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), the only difficulty will be picking just one.

Chloé’s ‘Marcie’, ‘Penelope’ and ‘Woody’

For beautiful bags with boho charm, Parisian brand Chloé is a fail-safe investment. Celebrating its equestrian roots, the brand’s ‘Marcie’ debuted in 2010 with a saddle-like silhouette and piped leather stitching. Part of our NET SUSTAIN edit, this spacious, textured-leather version is detailed with a row of gold-tone studs and has a tasseled pendant that nods to the original. The ‘Penelope’ meanwhile is more playful, featuring a fold-over shape traced with braiding and swishy tassels; while the large, logo-embroidered ‘Woody’ tote has all the space you could need – whether you’re hitting the office or, indeed, the stables.

L-R: Gucci’s ‘Horsebit’, ‘Jackie 1961’ and ‘Ophidia’ designs

Gucci’s ‘Jackie 1961’, ‘Ophidia’ and ‘Horsebit’

When it comes to handbags that stand the test of time, few do it better than Gucci – in particular, its bestselling ‘Jackie 1961’ style, which has been a must-have since the 1960s. Named after former First Lady and style icon Jacqueline Kennedy, the bag had a modern makeover and counts Jodie Turner-Smith and Cate Blanchett among its fans. For those who love a little monogram moment, the ‘Ophidia’ ticks all the boxes, but of all the bags in the Gucci stable, we have our eye on the ‘Horsebit’, which the brand brought back just a few seasons ago but is already a cool-girl favorite – just ask Sienna Miller and Adwoa Aboah.

Alaïa’s ‘Le Coeur’, ‘Le Teckel’ and ‘Demi’

The late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa approached the body as a sculpture, crafting his masterpieces through fabric, cut and silhouette. His brand’s handbags are similarly finessed: the half-moon-shaped ‘Demi’ sits like a piece of art on your arm, while the heart-shaped ‘Le Coeur’ crossbody is perfect for date night or as a gift for a loved one. ‘Le Teckel’ takes its name from the French word for dachshund, on account of its elongated shape, and has tubular handles – designed by Pieter Mulier, it debuted on Alaïa’s SS24 runway and is already a modern classic.

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