Sunday, 29 March 2009

Fashion: Handbags

Nothing screams success, quiet like -posh, high-end handbags, and even though French Vogue editor, Carine Roitfeld was photographed at the A/W 09 shows, -carrying a clutch (this created such a buzz -and had fashion folks wondering, -'is the handbag dead?) -the rise and rise of the designer handbag continues (despite the 'crunch'). A fabulous handbag tells the world just how -'happy, successful, loved and hot you are. It also alerts mere mortals to the obvious, -you are hot and they are not. You do not have to say; 'my children are clever and happy, and go to the best schools in London, or my partner / husband is loaded and my friends are important', -when you have a posh handbag. Even if you don't agree with the above notion, one thing is certain -everyone wants a fierce, functioning handbag. Because, there comes a time in every young ladies life, when her handbag begins to matter -and, not just -'any' handbag will do.
I remember when this happened to me. I had a few handbags I treasured (my lovely 50's gold clutch and a collection of studio 54-esque clutches), some gifts (I was given a lovely white leather clutch with leather flower detail by Matthew Williamson by team Elle. A Kenzo 'ethnic' handbag, -by the lady who inspired me to get into fashion -Claudia Navone at Sunday Times Style, and my first Furla tote by the Lovely Sairey Stemp. But nothing came close to the joys of buying my own (first grown-up, investment) handbag.
I decided on the (bombastic monogrammed) Speedy, -because, like most first time buyers -I wanted designer but did not have a lot of money. I walked into Louis Vuitton -like a woman possessed. With my heart was racing and my palms wet, I felt rich and powerful like an 'upper east side' princess. I descended into the Louis Vuitton concession (inside Selfridges) 'in the spirit'. My walk turned into a strut and I started to flick my hair (I don't know where this came from), and the Ghanaian/African woman in me was unleashed. I wanted to enjoy (and prolong) the moment for as long as possible -and wiggled my way around the store -African style. I enquired about every bag, purse and suitcase in the concession, and just as the very bored 'non plus', shop assistant was about to loose it, I pointed to the Speedy (she smiled), I paid for the Speedy (she smiled some more) and I had a fashion 'orgasm' -and left Selfridges, like a 'bush' girl on crack. Nothing prepared me for the come down. Like a junkie who has just had a hit, my come down was intense. The feelings of euphoria and power started to evaporate -very quickly, and the adrenalin rush, -left me.
I also became afraid. Within minutes of leaving Selfridges and hitting the streets of London -(Oxford Street to be exact) -I started to feel -er...a bit -scared. Suddenly, everyone looked like a mugger -and so, I raced back to Selfridges -and ask the good people at Louis Vuitton, for a plain old Selfridges' carrier bag -and the answer was a resounding -no. Anyway, I have moved on (and even further from the Speedy. I still love it, but I love another bag, even more -now) and I have learnt many lessons -along the handbag highway. The first, buy the handbag you really love and want -because when you buy the bag you truly want (it doesn't matter if you have to save up for it), it stops you from buying lots of cheap impostors, -and waste is so ugly. Remember, there are hundreds of landfill sites, -bursting with cheap plastic handbags that will take -over a thousand years to biodegrade.
Buy classic handbags, like the -black 'Alpine' large shoulder bag by Modalu (£175.00) from Style queen ( -above; or if you are not feeling the 'crunch', invest in the taupe 'Gabriel' Square Pocket Bag from the Renaud Pellegrino Collection (£716.00) at CoutureLab ( -for everyday use. For fun nights out, -the 'Marano' clutch from Anya Hindmarch ( is luxurious and bijou -just right for a few essentials (£695.00) or -the soft yellowy lime, leather 'Oushka Barnet' Large Squashy Clutch Bag (£75.00 ) from John Lewis ( It is on trend and on budget.

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