While it is probably not yet, and realistically speaking, will never be, passé to tote around any variation of the Gucci camera bags or a Louis Vuitton Neverfull, a rising opinion in the world of luxury fashion is that too much can be too trashy. Logo-stamped leather could be a thing of the past, with many brands opting to cater to the rising trend of subtlety. While this trend also stems from shifts in perception towards what is fashionable – the modern eye prefers minimalistic designs for added chic, this subtlety is also sought out by those that worry it is a sign of tackiness and lack o consideration, to carry a purse that announces its four-figure price tag in the midst of a simmering political debate about income inequality and the recession.
Low-key, logo-free pieces are gaining a small but steady following – even big names like Céline have pushed out a series of practical yet fashionable handbags such as their classic Belt bags which are casual enough for a stroll in the neighbourhood, but also formal enough to carry to the office. The Belt bag, constructed out of plain leather with a noted lack of any logo plastered across the bag, is a smart choice for those that are not yet ready to give up the draw of a renowned brand name.
Belt Bag in Mini $2300 up (Celine, 2019)
Yves Saint Laurent’s ready-to-wear collection line, Saint Laurent, is also evident of this shift. While the former’s designs often feature a gold or silver hardware logo badge, Saint Laurent opts for a minuscule embossed font label. Fans of the classic YSL Sunset or Kate bag can find a replacement in the Carre shoulder bag, that replaces the YSL logo clasp with a more practical vintage gold industrial buckle.
Carre Shoulder bag $2880 (Saint Laurent, 2019)
Another good option is their Catherine shoulder bag, a more modern design that features an accordion body and doubles up as a clutch. Not only are these models more subtle, they also are a good trade-up for those looking for a younger look.
Catherine shoulder bag $2980(Saint Laurent, 2019)
For those that pride and define themselves on being unique, digging out hard-to-find pieces from cult brands instead of the highly recognisable and predictable handbags from Chanel or Saint Laurent. RODO, a brand founded in 1956 by Romualdo Dori, originally produced wicker and straw bags that were widely popular amongst the elegant and fashionable in Florence. The brand has since expanded its repertoire, but retain their sophisticated eye for detail, focusing on designs that evoke ladylike simplicity. Pieces are made to last, in their factory in Mogliano, Marche, where the designers capitalise on the community’s artisanal craftsmen and use untreated leather to reduce environmental impact. For those in the market for another briefcase-slash-after hours handbag, their Frame top-handle bag is structured and roomy enough to hold your precious documents, while the toned-down gold hardware and russet colour screams chic yet composed.
If you are in the mood for a little more adventure or perhaps a sunset frolic near the marina, RODO’s Wicker and Canvas clutch bag is a darling piece that is made of structured canvas fashioned into a box bag with leather trimmings and a meticulously woven wicker lid. A charming take on the brand’s 1950s expertise, pair it with any white linen piece and you have your staple, fuss-free outfit for the summer. While you might not be able to name-drop to the effect of the new Hermès in a limited-edition croc, you could casually pull out a mention of finding the bag on your summer in Italy (while placing an exclusive order on matchesfashion.com) at your next ladies’ brunch – way more jealousy-inducing than a shopping trip at your nearest department store.
Wicker and Canvas Clutch $706 (RODO, 2019)
Trends by design and cut are not a secret to any brand, meaning that you more often than not, can
find a replacement made by a lesser-known brand that is just as well-made and probably just as pricey. The Pochette cut has made it back again after a long hiatus in the backs of our mom’s closets. While I used to cringe at my mom’s offers to loan me her tiny Louis Vuitton Pochette, a design with straps that hang short, forcing one to wedge the bag rather unflatteringly under the armpit, according to my ritual scan of Kendall Jenner’s Instagram page, it seems that what goes around does come back around. Thankfully, By Far makes the same cut in a more updated patent leather.
Amber Patent Shoulder Bag $715 (By Far, 2019)
Speaking of the brand, By Far has certainly made its rounds on Instagram – those adorable ultra mini bags that probably could not even fit your iPhone? Seemingly useless for anything more than a fashion accessory to tie your outfit together, but who needs functionality when you have cute?
Mini Crossbody $723 (By Far, 2019)
Senreve, Medea, Susan Alexandra, Kara, our list of lowkey luxury bag brands could go on. Sure, logomania is still riding strong – a good, recognised piece is as good as a statement as any. But the exact opposite is just as in, and we urge you to give that Dior Saddle a break every now and then, while you trawl Shopbop and Farfetch for these lesser known goodies.