Wednesday 16 October 2019

Tiny totes: The rise of the weirdly small handbag

After a two-inch handbag made headlines at Paris Fashion Week, it's time to ask if we really need big bags at all, says Hannah Rochell

The two-inch Le Mini Chiquito bag at a recent Jacquemus show at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Richard Bord/ WireImage
The two-inch Le Mini Chiquito bag at a recent Jacquemus show at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: Richard Bord/ WireImage
A Paris Fashion week guest sports a small orange Jacquemus bag. Photo: Getty
In contrast, another model at the Jacquemus show holds a giant tote. Photo: Pixelformula/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Hannah Rochell

When I turned up to a fashion show without a bag last week, some of my colleagues were horrified. "But where is all your STUFF?", they cried. My answer? My pockets.

Admittedly, I am, like many women in 2019, not one for much stuff. I don't re-apply make-up or brush my hair numerous times throughout the day: once I'm out the door, I'm ready for the long haul.

I pay for everything using Apple Pay on my iPhone, which also houses all of my music, reading material and work, and is usually in my hand anyway. So long as I have decent sized pockets - and I always have decent sized pockets - I can do without taking a bag out with me at all. Men have been doing it for forever, so why not women?

This was, perhaps, the sentiment that was running through the head of the designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, who founded the cult brand Jacquemus in 2009, and who on Monday last week debuted the smallest bag to ever grace the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week.

Le Mini Chiquito is so small that you'd struggle to fit anything in it at all, short of a couple of coins or perhaps one of your house keys. The strap is so tiny that the wearer has to hold it with one finger; it's more like a very practical ring than a capacious tote.

However, it is not yet clear whether the bag will be commercially available and if so, how much it will cost. It is a micro version of the brand's sell-out and, comparatively speaking, enormous Le Chiquito (10cm by 8cm), which Rihanna and Kendall Jenner are fans of, and which retails at €440, should you be able to find one in stock.

The rise of dresses with pockets - see Gemma Chan and Olivia Colman at the Oscars for details - has seen many women eschew the use of traditional handbags completely, even for the most clutch-worthy occasions.

But for everyday, when you might need a little extra space for bits and bobs, other designers have joined Porte Jacquemus in coming up with natty solutions which mean you can stay sac free.

At Milan Fashion Week, for example, Miuccia Prada showed combat boots with zipped pouches attached (ankle packs?), an idea that the canvas boots brand Palladium introduced a few seasons ago on its classic Pampa boots, which are currently in the sale, should you wish to tap into the trend for a bargain.

Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton's €1,030 monogrammed lipstick case on a chain, which can be worn around the neck, launched last month.

It's not necessarily the most practical thing in the world, but Le Mini Chiquito was certainly a genius stroke in marketing.

Social media was awash with affectionate jokes about its diminutive size, and, thanks to one being included with the invitations to the Jacquemus show, pictures of it placed in the palms of hands for scale went viral.

However, as a master of proportion, Porte Jacquemus also showed bags at the opposite end of the scale in the collection, including a tote so large that the model could probably have got inside it, and puffer-style bum bags with four compartments that looked a little like (very chic) saddlebags on a heavily laden (very beautiful) donkey.

That said, the fact that the latter could also be folded up and carried over the arm shows that while this 29 year-old knows how to whip up a storm with a gimmick, he also knows that, unlike me, many women - like my horrified friends - do still just want to invest in a not-too-big-not-too-small bag; his slimline leather totes in block colours also ticked this box beautifully.

Now I've found the freedom of a bag-free life, though, I'll be sticking to my pockets.

Telegraph.co.uk

Also in this section