[Trendzilla] The 'It' Bag Returns

Baguette or Bag ‘It’?

Blame it on Carrie Bradshaw.

It wasn’t until sometime after Sex & the City popularized those purses so tiny they could disappear in an armpit—remember that episode about the fake Fendi bags sold out of a car trunk? And why do I know that?—that the concept of the “It” bag hit the mainstream consciousness in the late ’90s.

Those Fendi Baguettes (whose name is way cuter than the actual bag) flew off shelves. Though it’s been more than 10 years since the Baguette launched, the bags remain quite visible even today, and are considered collectors’ items by many. The Fendi Baguette is one of the original It bags. But do you still “wear” yours out? Probably not.

Soon after the Baguette, a deluge of purses with price tags the size of your last few paychecks hit the general public: the Christian Dior Saddle bag, the Balenciaga City Motorcycle, the Marc Jacobs Stam, the Fendi Spy, the Louis Vuitton Speedy, the Alexander McQueen Novak, the Chloé Paddington.

All cute, all pricey, all highly sought after—but all totally ruined by their own “exclusive” reputations. The same awful cycle happened with each bag: some young Hollywood starlet was spotted out with one before the bag was released to the general public; said general public swooned; the waiting list grew; then every gal on the street eventually had one. And then it was suddenly unacceptable to carry that $1,500 bag.

But it wasn’t until some time in 2007 (ish) that the It bag finally died.

There’s no single, concrete reason why, but it might have to do with the direction and timing of where fashion is heading in the 2000s. In the ’90s, when the Baguette raged, stronger emphasis on the brand name existed. Remember the popularity of Calvin Klein logo Tees? Or nylon Prada mini backpacks?

Everyone wanted to look like everyone else. Now? Not so much.

Just take a look at the tremendous popularity of vintage style. A few years ago, thrift-store shopping was looked down upon by the masses, who were too busy with Abercrombie and Gap. Now it’s cool to say what you are wearing is used, old and one-of-a-kind.

A subtler, understated look is now more desirable. Versace out, Lanvin in.

But it’s been a few years since I’ve heard such intense buzz on a bag like the Coco Duffel by Alexander Wang. The chatter first started when Mary-Kate Olsen was spotted with one prerelease, months ago. Though the Coco Duffel has just hit stores, it’s already sold out everywhere, disappearing almost instantly off shelves and websites. Not only is it considered “affordable” as far as It bags go, at $850 (I know, I know), but for a purse that has received this amount of attention, the black leather tote also boasts the most restrained design we’ve seen yet.

And do I covet the hell out of it? Hell, yeah. Am I going to want to carry it five years from now? Proooooobably not.

Can I still blame it on Carrie Bradshaw? Yes.

vchang@ocweekly.com

 
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