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The case for an understated It-bag
The latest crop of carryalls walks the line between over-the-top and understated, proving that in fashion’s maximalist-versus-minimalist debate, few can stick to a sartorial side. Case in point? Alexander Wang added grommet detailing and chain straps to a simple black tote, Victoria Beckham’s day bags were rendered in playfully boxy shapes and Jason Wu’s suede satchels featured punchy colour combinations like claret on crimson. Even WANT Les Essentiels, the Montreal accessories brand known for, well, essentials, has made trend-led updates to its no-nonsense bags. A sturdy cross-body has been reinterpreted in navy croc this season, while a minimally adorned leather backpack now comes in notice-me marsala.
Leather bag ($625) and leather backpack ($895), both WANT Les Essentiels (wantlesessentiels.com)
Another label crafting quietly striking bags is Kozha Numbers. Based in Portland, Ore., the two-year-old label has gained a cult following thanks to its structured leather purses and bold use of hardware – a square mini-bag with oversized silver hoop handles is a particular standout. Founders Lena Vasilenko and Ilóna Gerasimov, who taught themselves how to sew leather by watching YouTube tutorials, let the materials lead their designs. “We highlight the leather,” explains Vasilenko. “We don’t add any additional details like pockets or lining that might take away from the purity of the design.” For WANT co-founder Byron Peart, the process begins with the consumer. “Some brands put themselves at the forefront so that the wearer takes a back seat,” he says. “We’re doing the opposite.”
Leather bags, Kozha Numbers (from $283, kozhanumbers.com)