The 2019 runways were replete with our favorite tried-and true-handbag designs. Every year brings its own variation on minimalist satchels, logo-laden status symbols and no-muss no-fuss professional bags. However, the dispatch from next season’s forecast came from the front lines of form. Rather than focusing on superimposed detailing and decoration, the bags that traveled down the runways of Paris and New York fashion week reinvented our concepts of what a bag could be.
From familiar designs reimagined in surprising materials to innovative shapes cut to reflect our mutable modern sensibility, here are the top four handbag trends that will be turning heads well into 2019.
Weave Into Me
If the 2019 runways were clear on anything, it’s that touchable, woven textures aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. With the macramé trend a hit with everyone from craft moms to yoga teachers, with the woven wall hangings a permanent fixture in many an Instagram story, designers are capitalizing on touchy-feely textures to bring a thread of homemade warmth to utilitarian cool.
At Alberta Ferretti, a roomy macramé backpack in millennial pink married charm and softness with big-city practicality, while at JW Anderson, a structured saddle bag let its hair down with knee-length fringes. Meanwhile, in a nod to nostalgia, Maryam Nassir Zadeh showed a blue sparkle-knit crochet handbag — not unlike the one lifted from our cool aunt’s closet in middle school.
Though we’re no strangers to slouchy styles, openness was a notable shared trend in bags on the 2019 runways — specifically, a trust-filled spilling open at the top that lent a devil-may-care attitude to otherwise impeccably structured totes. At Zadig & Voltaire, wide open backpacks in clean white leather and distressed smoky blue spilled out of models' hands, while at Jil Sander, an oversize shopper in sleek black leather was carried tucked under the arm, straps superfluous, folded over like a paper hat.
At Givenchy, a black and blue duochrome bag reminiscent of a Jack White music video featured cinching left loose. And Marni’s practical carryall, a boxy collapsible flat-bottom bag in cognac croc, was the consummate travel companion, perfect for stashing at the bottom of a suitcase and springing to life — not unlike Mary Poppins’s bag of treasures.
Harkening back to the see-through backpack days of middle school, designers put an unexpected spin on #ThrowbackThursday with crystal-clear bags in impeccably structured silhouettes. In an irresistibly Instagrammable take on '90s nostalgia, Christian Cowan presented a belt-adjacent clear fanny pack with a gold watch inside, while Sally LaPointe showed a boxy clear crossbody outlined in luxe beige leather.
At Mary Katrantzou, models carried clear clutches complete with all the essentials, including MAC lipsticks, lighters and money — their bags’ colorful insides a visible extension of their breezy floral dresses. But the pièce de resistance appeared at Brandon Maxwell, whose plexiglass handbag containing a bottle of Maxwell-branded champagne was a #2019mood if we ever saw one.
Honey, I Shrunk the Bags
Each passing season begs the same question: How tiny can bags get? The answer is very tiny, if the 2019 runways were any indication. The microbag trend reached new heights with the appearance of tiny bags that could barely fit a credit card, let alone a smartphone, perhaps in a nod to the increasing cultural push to spend more time outside the screen.
Oscar de la Renta capitalized on the streetwise hands-free trend with a periwinkle coin purse roped up the model’s arm like a gladiator sandal, while at Gabriela Hearst, the passport lanyard received a non-touristy upgrade in black and camel crocodile skin (and shrunk too small for an actual passport to fit). Burberry served black tie minimalism with a card-sized black crossbody on a gold chain, while fan favorite Brandon Maxwell shrunk a B-bedecked handbag to Wonderland-worthy matchbook size.