Are Bag Handles Officially Out? The New Fashion Week Style, Explained

Handles? Ew.
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We’ve seen a lot of changes to bag styling over the years. The hobo bag, which we slung nonchalantly over our shoulders, had us in a chokehold in the noughties. Then, there was the mini bags ala Jacquemus in recent years, forcing us to seriously Marie Kondo our ‘bag essentials’.

However, we’re seeing larger bags creep back into the fold, with the Saint Lauren iCare quilted maxi being sported by everyone from Bella Hadid to Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman shopping in Mallorca, Spain with her YSL Icare bag. (Credit: Image: Instagram)

Then there was Katie Holmes, pictured walking around town sporting a mini bag and a big bag, prompting people to go-big-or-go-home with two purses while out and about.

This was also seen on the Bottega Veneta AW/23 runway, so we suppose the answer is that yes, more is more.

The ‘double bag’ trend seen walking down Bottega Veneta AW23. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)

Enter, Milan and Paris fashion weeks, where models were seen walking down the runway with bags big and small, but not using the handle to hold them.

We’re not exactly sure why handles are getting shafted this season, after all their purpose is to actually help you carry the bag and simultaneously keep your hands-free. Maybe we’re not going to be using our hands anymore? Maybe our Covid-enforced germaphobia has reached such extreme levels that ‘dirty handles’ are not to be touched?

We’re not sure, but it was definitely seen in the styling of the smaller bags on the runway, from the likes of Bally, Fendi and Ferragamo.

Ferragamo showed models holding little bags like this. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)
Holding the bag like this, at Ferragamo, is easy when it’s small. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)
Bally also showed some bags with unused handles. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)
Even Fendi had some models not using straps. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)

We’re sure most of us will have held a bag this way at some point or other when in a rush. Holding little bags like a clutch is a simple business.

However, the fashion designers at Milan and Paris are trying to convince us to wear larger bags as clutches too, because handles? Ew.

The likes of Bottega Veneta, Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani all sent models down the runway holding medium to large sized handbags by the body of the accessory, rather than the handle.

Bottega Veneta sans strap! (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)
Totes at Bottega also got the no strap treatment. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)
Emporio Armani was on the bandwagon. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)
The look was also seen at Giorgio Armani. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)

Some models at Bottega and Ferragamo were holding bags that didn’t even have handles at all. Why stitch one on when you won’t be using it? You can follow the logic.

Who needs straps? Seen at Ferragamo. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)
Bottega doesn’t either. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)

Of course, some fashion houses bucked the trend, including Prada who sent a triangle-shaped bag down the runway, with handles, that was very reminiscent of their triangle logo.

Prada bucked the trend. (Credit: Image: Imaxtree)

Some designers decided to send a combination of styling, some holding bags like clutches and other using handles, just to mix it up.

So, what do we take from all this news?

The long and short of it is that it is okay to carry everything but the kitchen sink in a large bag, but if the designers at fashion week are anything to go by, don’t dare hold it by the handles.

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