The Fashion Memo

The Shoulder Bags We’re Lusting After This Season

Bags L-R: Givenchy; Saint Laurent; Bottega Veneta

Whether it’s Bottega Veneta’s front-row-worthy ‘Cassette’ or Saint Laurent’s latest ’90s-chic design, a sculptural shoulder bag is the must-have accessory


As tailored suits and evening gowns were swapped for pajamas and athleisure last year, fashion’s foremost designers returned to the drawing board, challenging themselves to create beautiful yet functional garments that would lend themselves to our new normal. And perhaps no category has seen this shift more obviously than handbags, with commute-ready backpacks and maxi totes giving way to compact, hands-free pieces with room for the essentials only.

But just because this season’s bags come in smaller dimensions doesn’t mean they make any less of a statement – quite the opposite, in fact. From contemporary updates on archive classics to more experimental styles that are sure to be noticed, FW21 ushered in a wealth of architectural shapes in a kaleidoscope of colors.

At Givenchy, the hexagonal ‘Antigona’ first introduced during Riccardo Tisci’s reign has undergone yet another shape-shift. While the bestselling original became instantly recognizable due to its ladylike top handle and boxy proportions, this season’s style is extra-small, complete with an adjustable shoulder strap, and comes in a glossy olive green as well as an attention-commanding hot pink.

Meanwhile, at Italian house Bottega Veneta, Daniel Lee cemented his status as the ultimate purveyor of lust-worthy accessories with the padded ‘Cassette’, which features a supersized version of the brand’s signature intrecciato weave. The result is a quilted, cloud-like bag that can be worn cross-body or slung over the shoulder (and is – unsurprisingly – a street-style favorite).

In sharp contrast to Bottega Veneta’s squishier styles, the creative minds at Saint Laurent gifted us with a new logo-embellished shoulder bag, with a streamlined silhouette and shorter strap that hark back to the 1990s. Its chic gold hardware and elegant shape make it an ageless investment piece, but the soft white shade, rather than classic black, adds something a little unexpected.

And for those truly committed to downsizing, there’s always Loewe’s curved ‘Heel Duo’, an understated, ultra-mini companion to the label’s flagship ‘Puzzle’. This season’s deep orange hue feels fresh yet grown-up, while the style’s minimal interior (with handy card slots) provides ample space for your keys, cell phone and hand sanitizer.



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