Ahhh, London, home of the Sex Pistols, Vivienne Westwood, Tilda Swinton, and the British Monarchy alike. I can always count on London to bring the unique and creative (if at times wacky) to Fashion Month. Not to mention the eclectic. Bags out of the Spring 2014 collections ran the gamut from the immaculately structured and ladylike (Mark Cross’ Grace box bag) to the whimsically furry, fluffy, and appliquéd (à la Burberry Prorsum).
Designers seemed devoted to the clutch, as few roomier styles made an appearance. Save for a few perennial favorites out of Mulberry, my favorite being the Willow tote, which sports a removable clutch pocket on the front and makes for the ultimate day-to-night bag. Even my boyfriend Tom Ford showed only minaudières, with the exception of one swinging feathery hobo-style bag that would look equally fitting on the shoulders of Pocahontas and Kate Moss.
L’Wren Scott designed her clutches as mere extensions of her incredible dresses, which are a festive cocktail of bold, rich colors and bright whites, obi belts and geisha-chic. This proved a smart move, as her big bags didn’t fare so well in prior seasons. And if it feels like Burberry (where Christopher Bailey sent a sweetly satisfying array of pastel lace ready-to-wear down the runway) just hasn’t grasped hold of a solid bag collection, it’s because they haven’t. Trenches, structured jackets, even cocktail-inspired daywear, yes. But the bags, this time squishy and a bit fussy, are just not quite there.
As for the indies, they proved a mixed bag with a few delights. There’s an oddly floppy drawstring sack from J.W. Anderson (I am obsessed with his ready-to-wear, by the way) inspired by shoe bags (maybe there’s a cult trend on the rise, as Carine Roitfeld just used actual shoe bags in one of most recent editorials for CR Fashion Book). A flower-powered Christopher Kane, destined to become street-style blogger fodder, and a surprisingly simple and chic structured bag from Lacoste round out London Fashion Week. Perhaps the Brits don’t feel the need for flashy runway bags. Instead, they prefer their vivacious and personality-driven ready-to-wear to shine.