Handcrafting Handbags

Spring 2023 Fashion Accessory Trend

Handcrafting becomes a recurring theme in a world where wellness, creativity, and awe-inspiring experiences are tantamount to much-needed freedom. And it showed!

S/S 23 presentations were alive with creativity; whether from a minimalist viewpoint, utility-inspired themes, maximalist partywear, gender fluidity, or the era’s from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, each trend offered a unique aesthetic. Yet undeniably, the 70s continued to play a key perennial role and an all-time favorite for designers. It is the era that keeps on giving.

Nodding to the appeal of handcrafted techniques, crafted totes and bags of various shapes and sizes appeared as the perfect accessory to carry summer essentials from the city to the beach.

Ulla Johnson is always ‘adept at adapting the decade’s influence’. She sent out a lovely cross-section of items carefully worked in collaboration with artisans from both Bangalore and Guatemala. Handknitted clutch-to-me bags were rendered in silk ribbons, soft leather came crafted into fruit-shaped bags, appliqued with shells, and rattan weaves appeared in oversized soft volume shapes. Alberta Ferretti is another designer who embraces the same era. Infusing her collection with a range of ‘duffel’ bags, she cross-stitched raffia and natural stones between the bags’ sections. 

Max Mara’s luxury handcrafted totes looked as if they were straight out of a market in Provence, where iterations of the tote are a perfect item for city to beach. Home crafting appeared in the shape of handles at Jonathan Simkhai. At Balmain, Olivier Rousteing merged soft leather, rope, wood, and rattan weaves to provide structure to his futuristic shapes. Notwithstanding, Maria Grazia Chiuri looked to the past to create the future by employing the fine craftsmanship at Dior to weave into her open bag designs, different techniques of embroidery, crochet, and organic materials – like raffia – that presented her silhouettes with an enigmatic power of femininity.

Ulla Johnson

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