Bag Expedition: Fall-Winter 2020 Material Trends


No adage rings more true right now than “Everything old is new again,” as each season brings with it its own brand of reinvention. For fall/winter 2020, the bag material trends were as much about updated nostalgia — hello, 70s! — as they were texture both visual and tactile. Based on the lineup, here are the top six material trends that we expect to make waves everywhere from runway to railway.

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Then there was that moment when something very "out to high tea with the queen" took a turn for the irreverent with buttoned-up bags enlivened with surprisingly playful details. At Tory Burch, delicate white floral beading reinvigorated a classic black bag, while at Oscar de la Renta, an oversized rose appliqué enchanted a minimalist box-cut bag. At Moschino, subtlety took a backseat to a shiny green coin purse boldly adorned with gold dollar signs.


Those late-night vibes are staying alive with all the disco party offerings sent down the runway. At Attico, an A-embossed jeweled fringe bag went full dancing queen, while Paco Rabanne took it a step further with a blinged out coin purse dripping in diamonds. Dolce & Gabbana, never one to sit out an over-the-top challenge, showed a silver metal mesh handbag with bronze detail and a heart clasp. 

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As we get closer to the colder months, the F/W 2020 bag offerings are as cozy and colorful as it gets. Balenciaga threw a punch at our senses with an oversized clutch made of hot pink shag fur, while at Dries Van Noten, a bright red and orange fluffy bag looked straight out of the land of Dr. Seuss. For extra fun, Claudia Li sent an enormous white fur shoulder bag that was half the size of the model who carried it.


Puffer material is ubiquitous for winter, and this season, we need our bags to be as warm as our bodies. Designers took note with some truly innovative designs: at Maison Margiela, a handbag made of blue puffer material was held hugged close to the body, while at Dries Van Noten, bags could have been mistaken for coats draped over models’ arms. Off-White debuted a black-and-white chessboard handbag that was a fan favorite, while at Chanel, the classic quilted bag got an Aspen update in ski-suit white.

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If Romy & Michele, Thelma & Louise, and Ivy & Bean taught us anything, it’s that two is almost always better than one. On the runways, that translated into two-toned materials that upped the matchability of a bag and increased its cool factor. At Kate Spade, dusty rose met blush pink in a sweet and structured handbag with a spade and heart clasp, while at Gucci, a doctor bag got a modern paint job with lacquered cream juxtaposed with bright crimson. 


Every season brings with it its own rendition of animal print, and on the F/W 2020 runways, designers came at it from a whole new direction. With the 70s revival forecasted to dominate autumn, there were plenty of surprising takes on snakeskin and crocodile, most notably, a violet croc skin tote with a wide macramé handle at Ulla Johnson, and a cobalt blue snakeskin bag with chartreuse detail at Givenchy. As usual, leopard and tiger print were also max players, with a slouchy, studded leopard handbag with a less-than-subtle logo handle at Brandon Maxwell, and a classic front-clasp logo tiger bag at Michael Kors.