Would you choose an Anya Hindmarch handbag decorated with leather stickers to turn your clutch into a billboard?
What about a streamlined Valextra leather bag so bright that the colours compete with jelly babies?
Or are you ready for a smooth, minimalist, elegantly practical Desa NineteenSeventyTwo handbag?
The accessories on offer at the international collections for spring/summer 2015 suggest that the “It” bag is fading away in favour of a bag that does it for you.
The hardware of clanking chains and metal discs is mostly removed — unless you count the Glitter Gulch of gilded medallions at Milan’s new Versace store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. There the prize piece is a dog chain to give your pooch the Versace look.
Valextra designer Alváro Gonzalez has a penchant for dogs and the company’s most outlandish offering was a small leather purse designed to carry elegantly the bags for scooping dog poop.
Otherwise the designer’s skill was giving minimalist looks maxi usage, as in a pochette with a base that opened to a concertina shape and chain handles that could be tucked inside for evening outings.
Valextra’s success story has been built on a smooth, quiet luxury that looks desirable but modern.
Desa NineteenSeventyTwo is the upscale range of the Turkish brand, founded in that year by the Celet family. With this upper-end range, the company lets the bags speak for themselves.
The Desa NineteenSeventyTwo tag might suggest another focus on the revival of a decade that was all over the Milan shows. The theme was indeed from the Seventies, and particularly the French singer Françoise Hardy. But that idea was not over-elaborated.
The bags may be about functionality with luxurious elements hidden inside, but they also have a palette of interesting colours, including mango, iris purple and moss green. Geometric cut-outs, with linen inside, showed that plain designs can still have a tang of excitement.
Women are getting more savvy in their bag choices and Desa’s subtle luxury strikes a chord with customers.
For showmanship, no one can beat Anya Hindmarch. Her sticker idea this season was a natural step forward after last year’s bags with supermarket branding.
But as the models walked out in their white space suits, it was the audience that seemed to go mad. The giant teacup on which we were seated suddenly started to spin with the efforts of men dressed like skeletons.
It could have been a Venice carnival or a Brazilian night out. Instead it was Anya Hindmarch at her most witty and inventive.
What about the bags? They are ready for their close-up — with or without the stickers.