A Comprehensive Guide To This Season’s Handbags

Sometimes, some things in life are indeed black and white — especially when it comes to the longevity of leather handbags and accessories. Here, a compendium of this season’s black and white handbags in alphabetical order:

Bottega Veneta

From left: The Pouch (S$3,450); a checkered white and black Maxi Cabat tote (S$13,630); and the Maxi Cabat (S$13,630).
From left: The Pouch (S$3,450); a checkered white and black Maxi Cabat tote (S$13,630); and the Maxi Cabat (S$13,630).

In June last year, the creative director behind the Italian luxury brand, Bottega Veneta, departed from his position after a 17-year-long tenure. A month later, Daniel Lee, who was working under Phoebe Philo’s wing at Céline, was tapped to helm the brand.

His first designs for the brand include Spring/ Summer 2019’s accessories. Lee particularly brought a sense of lightness to the bags with a smooth butter calf clutch literally named “The Pouch“, and an updated boxy shape to the brand’s originally rectangular Cabat tote.


The small leather "TB" bag (S$3,290).
The small leather “TB” bag (S$3,290).

Another new appointment in Spring/ Summer 2019 was the Italian designer, Riccardo Tisci, who was made the Chief Creative Officer at Burberry in March last year.

Five months after he stepped into Burberry, he revealed a new Burberry logo and monogram designed in conjunction with graphic designer, Peter Saville. It literally spelt “TB” — acronyms for the British house’s founder, Thomas Burberry.

He, too, unveiled a pared-back Italian-made calf leather handbag crowned with the new “TB” logo. While the bag largely comes in solid colours this season, more graphic styles such as canvas and embossing are expected this May.


From left: Raffia and calfskin basket (S$2,800); small Pampille C bag (S$3,600); small C bag with stripes (S$3,750).
From left: Raffia and calfskin basket (S$2,800); small Pampille C bag (S$3,600); small C bag with stripes (S$3,750).

And then there was Hedi Slimane.

Following his appointment at Celine, he unveiled his first bag design, the 16 bag, via paparazzi images of Lady Gaga last August. In November, the brand officially announced three other new bag lines — namely the “C”, “Triomphe” and “C Charm”.

While these four lines have been in stores since last November, the new iterations have just hit the shelves. Amongst them, a beautiful beach-ready raffia and calfskin basket, an attention-grabbing “C” bag with drop tassels, and a graphic, striped version of the “C”.


From left: a wicker vanity case (S$12,940); a cross-body leather side pack (S$11,380).
From left: a wicker vanity case (S$12,940); cross-body leather side packs (S$11,380).

Unmistakable is the word for these bags.

Last October, when the doors opened to the late fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring/ Summer 2019 ready-to-wear show in Paris, the fashion industry was astounded. The designer had a tropical beach — complete with pristine white sand and lapping waves — constructed in the middle of autumn in Paris.

The late Karl Lagerfeld, with Virginie Viard, taking his final bow at the Spring/ Summer 2019 Chanel runway. Image by Chanel.
The late Karl Lagerfeld, with Virginie Viard, taking his final bow at the Spring/ Summer 2019 Chanel runway. Image by Chanel.

It was a cheery and carefree affair. And it was one of Lagerfeld’s last collections.

Later, in January this year, Lagerfeld was absent from his Chanel Couture Spring 2019 runway, citing lethargy. A month later, on the 19th February, he passed on to an outpouring of grief from the global fashion industry.


The mini Chloé C bag (S$2,040).
The mini Chloé C bag (S$2,040).

While the small Chloé “C” handbag made an appearance in Chloé‘s Resort 2019 collection, otherwise known as the pre-Spring collection, an even smaller and boxy mini iteration found its way to the Spring/ Summer 2019 runway.

The mini measures a nifty 13 cm in height and 16 cm across — an iPhone X stands at 14.3 cm in height for comparison. It’s small, it’s cute, but it makes a statement.

Kate Spade New York

From left: The Celia tote in white (S$640); a small Nicola Turnlock leather shoulder bag (S$620).

It’s a breath of fresh air over here at Kate Spade New York.

Ever since Nicola Glass, formerly from Michael Kors, took on the creative baton, she overhauled the brand’s design vocabulary. Instead of the usual hearts, floral and animal motifs, polka dots, and inspirational text bubbles that the brand used to print over their accessories, Glass stripped it all down for her debut Spring/ Summer 2019 collection.

Instead, she introduced bags with trendy silhouettes — open-top, breezy bucket bags, wicker lunch boxes, straw camera bags, fanny packs, and large carry-all totes. Above all, simple boxy leather shoulder bags with multiple compartments for the hectic woman who is always on-the-go. Let’s just say we once thought we grew out of Kate Spade, but Nicola, you’ve got us running back.


From left: The Gate Mini bag in black (S$1,650); the Bow Bag in black (S$3,150).
From left: The Gate Mini bag in black (S$1,650); the Bow Bag in black (S$3,150).

Loewe’s Gate bag — a saddle shaped cross-body with a leather bow closure — has been a street style favourite for a while now. For this season, its mini version is coming in a new texture. The new straw version is priced slightly cheaper than its leather counterparts (S$1,850). Again, it measures 15 cm in height and 12 cm across — an iPhone X fits snugly, together with maybe a card or two. So, if you might need more space, opt for the 50 by 46 cm Bow tote bag.


From left: The M mini bag in leather (S$500); the quilted leather M bag (S$500).
From left: The M mini bag in leather (S$500); the quilted leather M bag (S$500).

For Judith Milgrom, the founder and artistic director behind the 21-year-old Parisian brand Maje, life is hectic. She’s meditating, she’s at work, in meetings, having lunches, in stores, and out at business dinners. That’s why she designed the “M” bag — a 25 by 19 cm boxy leather tote with fringes and clip-on shoulder straps — to pack her day with her.

This season, Milgrom came up with a minimal, mini version of the “M” bag in black and white. She cut off the fringe, the colours, and opted for smooth sheepskin. The Mini measures 17 by 15 cm. If that’s way too small for you, go for the quilted version of the regular-sized M bag.

Marc Jacobs

The Snapshot DTM bag in white (S$550).
The Snapshot DTM bag in white (S$550).

Since Marc Jacobs introduced the Snapshot Camera bag in stores in late 2016, the response was divisive — some were fond of the rectangular shape and colour-blocking. Others, however, had much to say about the overdose of colours.

The latter group will be glad to know that an all-white and all-black iteration of this small camera bag is available this season. The small, whitewashed Snapshot stands at 18 by 11 cm.

Miu Miu

From left: The Solitaire in Matelasse (S$3,090); Solitaire in embossed leather (S$3,550).
From left: The Solitaire in Matelasse (S$3,090); Solitaire in embossed leather (S$3,550).

There’s nothing quite as recognisable as Miu Miu‘s wrinkled matelassé leather. The French word “matelassé” literally refers to a fabric, backed by another layer underneath, held together in patterned stitches. You could liken it to a more complex version of your grandmother’s patchwork quilts, or the diamond-shaped down jackets.

Many brands use the matelassé technique in many ways to form their own distinct pattern on handbags — be it the V-shaped chevron patterns on Saint Laurent‘s leather handbags, the W-shaped patterns on Gucci’s GG Marmont flap bags, or in Miu Miu‘s case, a wrinkled scrunching that’s used across most of their classic and new bags for over a decade now. Here, a new handbag called the Solitaire — the snap closure is literally a solitaire (it’s synthetic crystal) — measuring 13 by 23 cm.

Otherwise, the new crocodile-embossed leather top-handle Solitaire bag might interest you.


From left: The Odette in Saffiano Lux leather (S$2,730); Sidonie City in calf leather (S$5,280).
From left: The Odette in Saffiano Lux leather (S$2,730); Sidonie in calf leather (S$5,280).

While the curvaceous Sidonie handbag has been around for a while now, it’s been rehashed in Prada’s patented Saffiano leather — essentially quality and soft and fine calfskin that’s been treated in Italian tanneries to give an irregular criss-cross pattern that’s called “cross hatch”.

Later, the Saffiano Sidonie was revised once again — now in a larger size, measuring 23 cm in height and a whooping 34 cm across. Likewise, this Spring/ Summer 2019 season, the lunchbox-shaped Odette comes in a full-black Saffiano iteration.

Ratio Et Motus

The Lady leather tote (approximately S$1,591).
The Lady leather tote (approximately S$1,591).

Here, a promising young brand with a graceful handbag. The accessories label, Ratio Et Motus (translates to mean “Sense and Emotion” in Latin) was founded last year by Angela Wang and Daniel Li in New York City. While the sculptural, classic handbags are made in Italy, the founders decided to focus on sustainable practices.

“All leather used on our products are by-products from the meat industry and our water-repellent linings are made of vegan leather,” they wrote on their website. For those who have allergies, you’ll be glad to know that their metal hardwares are all nickle-free.

While the brand has an full series of clutches, phone cross-body bags (aptly named “Disco“), work handbags, leather gloves, and necklaces, what really caught our eye was the Lady leather tote — a boxy 19 by 18 cm top-handle bag made of black leather and subtle contrast white stitches. It comes with a removable shoulder strap, and fastens with a classic brass twist contraption. That single motion of a woman twisting the brass knuckle, lifting that flap to retrieve her red lipstick for a touch up is as sexy as sexy can get.

Roger Vivier

The Bow Pearl Buckle mini backpack (S$3,060).
The Bow Pearl Buckle mini backpack (S$3,060).

It’s a sling, it’s a backpack.

For those who are tired of lugging heavy handbags or fumbling with a clutch at dinners, here’s your solution. The French shoe and accessories house of Roger Vivier released a mini evening backpack — complete with a satin bow clasped in a buckle encrusted in pearls and synthetic crystals, and gold chains.

Roger Vivier’s Bow Pearl Buckle mini backpack previously came in a navy velvet body. This Spring/ Summer 2019 season, it comes in a full black satin iteration.


From left: The Lou bag, (S$560); black leather tote (S$625); white leather tote (S$625).
From left: The Lou bag, (S$560); black leather tote (S$625); white leather tote (S$625).

Unbeknownst to many, the French brand Sandro was founded in 1984 (making it 35 this year) by Evelyne Chetrite — Judith Milgrom’s sister (the latter is the founder of Maje). Call them sisters on a mission, both wanted to create a brand to fill in the mid-tier gap between high and street fashion back in the ’80s and ’90s for executives and teenagers respectively.

Fast forward to date, Sandro has 646 points of sale around the globe, spanning 39 countries. In stores, there’s a bag or two for a woman of every personality. For us, the new fringed version of the 21 by 20 cm geometric Lou shoulder bag (S$560) does the trick — especially for business dinners. For a more versatile option, the new black and white leather ring tote (S$625) brings you from the conference room to a beachside resort in Bali.


The C Belt bag (S$2,290).
The C Belt bag (S$2,290).

Tod’s latest Spring/ Summer 2019 launch, the C belt bag (S$2,290), was seen throughout the brand’s runway, presented in Milan last September. A similar white version (without fringe) was worn on Chinese model Sun Fei Fei with an oversized white shirt and fringed mini skirt in look nine of the show. It was later into the show, in look 36, that fellow Chinese model, Liu Wen, strutted out on the runway with this exact fringed white bag in hand.

It’s a roomy and organised three-fold bag — if you could imagine the Celine Trio’s body. And it comes with a chain and adjustable strap. Perfect for the one who needs multiple compartments to get organised.

Tory Burch

The Lee Radziwill petite satchel (S$885).
The Lee Radziwill petite satchel (S$885).

The American fashion label, Tory Burch, launched this Lee Radziwill satchel late last year, in Fall/ Winter 2018. One season on, the brand is going mini with a petite version of the very same bag for Spring/ Summer 2019.

While the previous full-sized version measured 21.5 cm in height and 32.5 cm across, this petite iteration measures 20.5 cm in height and 13 cm across — trimming heavily in its width. With the major cut in size, the brand had to disclaim on their website that the petite “fits all phone sizes up to an iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9+”. You know us well, Tory Burch.