2017 is set to be an unpredictable year, and ripples of last year's cultural and political upheavals were felt in the fashion world as well. While iconic staples like saddle bags, blinged-out minaudières, and minimalist silhouettes showed no signs of departure, designers reflected transformative signs of the times with innovative structures, distorted sizes, nods to childhood nostalgia, surrealist imagery, and, of course, powerful messaging. The following four handbag trends are set to reign supreme this year.
Put A String On It
Featuring a range of colors, patterns, and textures to match every mood, one of the hardest hitting trends of winter 2017 runways was a re-imagination of the drawstring bag. Seen in leather, velvet, floral print, and more, designers reinvented this Renaissance Fair classic for the modern age as youthful, practical, and ideal for making a quick getaway. At Nina Ricci, a glittery red, Dorothy-inspired drawstring bag with ruffles served sophisticated nostalgia; at Alberta Ferretti, sumptuous velvets and floral embellishments made for a romantic collection. Finally, Alexander Wang reminded us not to take fashion too seriously with an electric lavender, leather drawstring bag sprinkled with marijuana leaves.
Summer is synonymous with fun, and many of the bags sent down summer 2017 runways were just that: pure, unadulterated fun. Loud colors and vivacious prints made an appearance, as seen in the bold psychedelics at Marc Jacobs and surrealism-inspired prints at Versace. But the most eye-catching iterations of this playful trend were the Trojan Horses of purse design: bags shaped like toys. Dolce & Gabbana brought back memories of band camp, from drum-shaped bags adorned with sticks to a folksy, guitar-shaped bag with an embellished strap. Moschino went surrealist with a teddy bear-shaped bag, printed with “This Is Not A Moschino Toy;” meanwhile, Thom Browne served Disneyland Americana with a dog-shaped duffel in red, white and blue.
Alice In Chains
Tough-girl hardware is a traditional hallmark of fall fashion, but this year's metal shines prettier than ever, as seen at Milan Fashion Week and the Chanel Pre-Fall show. There are chains and embellishments aplenty, but rather than appearing imposing or overdone, locks, studs, and chain straps added dimension and feminine charm. At Chanel, chain straps woven with leather and ribbon lent a modern edge to an iconic bag, while at Bottega Veneta, thick-cut chains added personality to a ladylike crocodile purse. Finally, Dolce & Gabbana threw back to middle school with a memory box-style bag — complete with a layered, necklace-style chain handle, a flower lock, and the words “girls club.”
Zoom In, Zoom Out
Like Alice and her magical, size-altering potions, handbags on spring 2017 runways looked like fairytale works of art that ranged from practically microscopic to comically huge. At Valentino and Versace, candy colored, coin purse-sized pouches on long straps put a subverted spin on the utilitarian cross-body bag; on the other end of the spectrum, blanket bags, body-skimming totes, and enormous handheld backpacks commanded colossal attention.