Thursday, February 2, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

For most girls, being without your handbag is like Karl Lagerfeld being without his gloves. Wrong and, quite frankly, disquieting.  Every day, I haul around books, magazines, diaries, make-up and don't use half of it but just feel much safer having it all about my person. It's all there just in case who-knows-what-happens, suddenly requiring me to produce 4 pens, a pad of post-its and 16 paracetamol. Seeing as  my life is kept in my handbag, it would be really bothersome to be packing and unpacking it every night, which is why mine is classic, neutral (to go with any outfit) and made from tough leather. I reckon this is why lots of girls bags are sort of boring. I was fine with this until now, but two big name bag collaborations are making me think that the contents of my bag might appreciate a new, much snazzier home.

Anselm Reyle's collection for Dior (images courtesy of Dior)
First up is Anselm Reyle's collection for Dior. The Berlin-based artist has taken some of Dior's classic shapes, like the Lady and splashed them with super bright prints as well as graphic stitching and quilting.

Anselm Reyle working on his Dior collection
Reyle explains his approach like this...

'I like working on the Lady Dior handbag. Most of my work builds on objects that already exist, which I then transform. For this project I did it the same way. I decided to focus on the classical bags of the Dior label'
An example of Anselm Reyle's work, from
About his art, Reyle has said that it is about 'taking a stereotype to breathe new life into it'. Of course, this is not the first time that an artist has put their stamp on a classic shape at a design house- think Vuitton's Murakami and Sprouse projects for starters. However, with no big name at Dior right now an artist collaboration like this provides a clear creative signature in the interlude; Bill Gaytten might be in place but the collections he's produced thus far mostly take us back to the origins of the house rather than thinking about NOW. In a small way, it is Reyle who is breathing the life into Dior at the moment. He's also worked with Dior on a beauty line which works with the same themes and colours as the bags.

Second on the new bright bag scene is Mary Katrantzou's collaboration with French bag maker, Longchamp. This is a pretty genius move on their part to bring a much needed new visual to a brand which over here, is usually seen on the arm a certain kind of classic looking lady, and sometimes her slightly too blonde haired/ fake tanned daughter. I see virtually every other woman carrying one in the street when I go to France too. So, the partnership with print genius Katrantzou takes Longchamp to a whole new fashion, rather than simply practical, level. The lucky FashEd has been carrying hers for a while now and it looks amazing; the shapes have been updated but are still chic and close to the brand's identity but they are majorly pepped up by the printed exterior. The bags are based around an 'East meets West' theme- the balloons and temple motifs in super bright colours bringing that Eastern element.
Longchamp x Mary Katrantzou (all images from

Mary working on her designs

Balloons and blossoms make the classic Longchamp bag a whole lot more exciting

Love the rope handle- a perfect holiday bag. 

Mary's prints on the catwalk, from SS12 (

If Reyle and Katrantzou can't convince us to ditch the safe, everyday classic and pack a little colourful punch into our bags for Spring, what else possibly could?

Anselm Reyle for Dior bags are available now, until March in Dior boutiques and concessions worldwide. 

Mary Katrantzou for Longchamp bags are available here at and in Longchamp stores. Prices start at £94

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