For the love of handbags

The handbag. The quintessential fashion accessory of the well-attired fashionista. One might almost be forgiven for forgetting that the humble handbag started as a functional relic. But it is more than that. The handbag is the very symbol of being human, civilization, and sophistication. One thing that separates human beings from animals is our ability to accessorize. I can already hear people saying that this is somewhat of an overreach. Still, in all sincerity, there are stone carvings of varying cultural deities in different parts of the world, carrying what looks like a handbag of sorts.

According to cultural mythology, various advanced beings, whom we have come to refer to as gods/deities, are often depicted as serpent-like or as having wings. Furthermore, these gods of antiquity are repeatedly shown to be carrying a handbag. It is believed that these beings, which appear in most major cultures of the ancient world, brought knowledge to humanity. They have been credited with teaching humanity geometry, agriculture, law, writing, art, temple building, and devoted worship.

The handbag was such an important symbol related to the gods that the handbag symbol turns up on ancient stone relief carvings found on the multi-tonne megalithic T-block stones of Gobekli Tepe. In this old temple complex, worship and ritual took place.

Gobekli Tepe

Gobekli Tepe, which means ‘potbelly hill’ in Turkish, is situated on a quiet hillside in the Southeastern Turkish countryside. This ancient temple complex has been dated to be older than 12,000 years. This discovery has caused much-heated debate amongst the scientific and academic community, which remain reluctant to shift from their pre-existing ideology of academia regarding the possibility of advanced cultures far older than postulated as the official narrative. The Smithsonian magazine noted that Gobekli Tepe predates Stonehenge by at least 6,000 years and thus, “upends the conventional view of the rise of civilisation”.

Moving away from my passion for mythology, to modern-day fashion trends, the handbag has become the essential fashion accessory. The covetous need for a designer bag has reached an all-time fever pitch, and I have not escaped this unending need to accessorize glamorously.

The love of a good handbag was imbued into me by a shopaholic Mother. Going shopping was one of the few things my Mom and I loved to do together when I was a kid. We shopped a lot. An elegant meal or coffee shop break usually accompanied shopping sprees on Saturday mornings at the mall. My love of couture is rooted in a nostalgic childhood pastime, and most fortunately for me, my Mother had expensive taste.

I have sported a sassy bag of sorts from a young age as I made my way about the world. After a while, my handbag became like a part of me. I wear my handbag like an armor shield when moving through the hectic city streets. It has become a replacement for my bedtime comforter, for indeed, I feel completely naked without it.

A handbag is a great way to give even the most understood look a funky twist or designer edge. It transforms your look just by adding this simple, functional accessory. Whether you are going for an artisan handcrafted leather satchel purchased at some funky market, or an excellently crafted high-end designer piece, always try to opt for something that lasts for a long time. You don’t need many bags, as you only really wear one at a time, and thus quality over quantity is the way to approach a bag collection. With the fashion industry becoming more sustainable, many people follow suit by adopting more conscious consumer shopping choices. Thus, it stands to reason that investing in a quality bag that lasts a long time is a far more satisfying choice than continually buying cheap mass-market apparel, which deteriorates more rapidly and inevitably ends up in a landfill.

As a former Fashion Stylist, people asked me what handbag style would be ideal for overall functionality whilst transitioning from office shopping to nighttime wear. I always advise on a minimalistic black tote bag, perhaps with a few embellishments such as signature branding. This year there are some excellent designer tote bags out there, so I explored a few of the most iconic luxury fashion houses to see their offerings for the ever trendy and functional black tote bag.

Coming in at fifth place, is the LOUIS VUITTON classic black tote back (2500 Euros)

Fourth is the CHRISTIAN DIOR Saddle Tote bag. The Saddle Bag is a signature shape of Dior bags, which is interpreted to be a pocket on the exterior of the DIOR Tote. This is a versatile bag, suitable for men and women (2200 Euros)

Third place goes to the GUCCI Marmont Tote, which is elegantly crafted in true Gucci style (2100 Euros)

In second place is VERSACE with the Virtus Tote, beautifully quilted into V shapes, with Baroque V hardware and Baroque print lining. An exquisite choice that moves well from day to evening wear. (1850 Euros)

Incidentally, VERSACE also does a fabulous minimalistic version of the Virtus tote and is exceptionally spacious, lightweight, functional, lightweight and versatile. This tote bag comes with an interior detachable coin purse. At 850 Euros, it is probably the best value buy in terms of designer black tote bags on the market at the moment.

Coming in first place is the CHANEL Maxi. This bag embodies the true elegance of Chanel in terms of its elegant design, bearing all the hallmarks of the Chanel brand, being the quilted stitching, chains, and interlocking CC. Being a large bag, it can be used for shopping, business, and transcends well from an office to a ‘out for dinner’ bag. (6000 Euros)

Also worth mentioning is this super funky CHANEL fringed Tote bag, available in leather or suede (5100 Euros)

Whether you are just popping out for errands or out for a posh party, you will always feel well-adorned wearing a beautifully crafted handbag.

by Mel Ve