Tiny handbags became big news last month after appearing at Paris Fashion Week
The Jacquemus Le Chiquito bag was a runway sensation after being introduced in the AW18 collection, but then for AW19, came the Mini Le Chiquito. These ultra tiny bags were not originally for sale, but sent out as invitations to the show as a nod toward the developing of accessories. Petite purses seem to be at the helm of this season when it comes to bags.
The purses are amongst several other economised accessories such as the Kendall Jenner favourite, skinny cat-eye eyewear and the Balenciaga coveted Knife slingbacks. Micro who? It’s nano now, sweetheart.
The credit card sized bag looked like a joke, with room to hold no more than a pair of lonely mints and the sim card to your phone. But then the venerable fashion house Louis Vuitton introduced its own nano purse, intended to fit nothing but a lipstick. It is described by the French brand as an elegant homage to 1920s makeup boxes, incorporating a lengthy chain and made in two colours – both of which are sold out online. During its AW19 show last month, Prada encased the ankles of models with mini pouch bags, worn on straps around ankle boots.
The burgeoning of nano bags has been viewed as a gesture of status. “If we’re being realistic, there is nothing cute about having a bag with the contents of your entire house in it,” says Frankie Boyega, consultant at PR agency Pop. “Rooting through your bag to find your purse at the till doesn’t exude elegance.” The less you hoist around, the higher the implication that someone else is carrying your baggage, in a less metaphoric sense.
Last summer this consensus trickled into the collections of high street retailers including Asos, Zara and Topshop, from slight sporty fannypacks to bijou beaded grab bags. However is this a marketing strategy, or a tell for future accessory trends?
Asos buyer, Joanna Aloui syays: “These bags have that quality of novelty that makes them perfect to post on Instagram, and realistically that’s what anyone cares about these days, as soon as the hype beasts are on it, the value of a brand sky rockets.”
It has still not been confirmed whether the Mini Le Chiquito bag will be available for consumer purchasing, however the vision of designer Simon Porte seems to go beyond a revenue riddled agenda. Speaking to the Observer during Paris Fashion Week, Porte said: “I wanted to show the arty and conceptual mood I had at the beginning.”
The nano bag trend may have a permanent seat on the high street. Despite its usual gravitation toward the more wearable than the outlandish, the looming and cashless fate of the British economy means a need for a smaller purse to carry our pennies around in.
Practical but overstuffed day bags have been industry standard for the past decade, but time may be up for that arm-aching beast. The micro bag movement, designed by luxury fashion giants such as Chloe, Gucci and Fendi have colonised the high street. Yet, the desire to look chic still comes with a requirement for practicality. Fashion design student, Elle Mophre says: “For the nine-to-five woman, it’s just not practical… if it were me I would take a tote too, and then when someone comes over to my desk I’ll throw it out of the window.”
The nano bag is an indicator that fashion is aligning with the economic landscape: with an inflation in the use of digital payments such as Apple or Android pay, as well as debit cards set to surpass cash in the UK this year, there is simply less for us to lug around. Smart phones act as handbags in-their-own-right.
The creation of the Fendi Baguette, aptly named as it tucks pleasantly beneath your arm, came two decades ago, laced with the irony that seeing Fendi wearers eat carbs would be like watching a vegan tuck into a steak. As Silvia Venturini famously told Vogue: “It was foolish, a treat, anti-functional. It was the first bag that was treated like a garment.” But certainly not the last, if the nano bag has its way.