Fashion

The sculptural bag trend making elegant cool again at London Fashion Week

Posted by
Lara Faye
Published

With the power to transform any outfit from ordinary to exceptional, no wardrobe is complete without a statement handbag. This season, one major bag trend has taken over London Fashion Week, and this ultra-cool style is one that you’ll want to wear for years to come. 

When it comes to making a statement with stand-out accessories, no one does it quite like London Fashion Week. Whatever the weather, you can always rely on the city’s street style set to spark a new accessories trend and this season is no exception. 

The last few years have blessed us with a plethora of covetable styles that have elevated the handbag from a practical, carry-all daywear staple to a statement piece with the power to define an outfit. We’ve seen everything from Jacquemus-inspired mini bags to the unexpected rebirth of the belt bag, but after several seasons of flirting with the latest handbag styles we’re looking for a timeless investment piece to buy now and wear on heavy rotation for years to come. 

Oh, and did we mention that we’re also looking for a bag that makes a serious impact in the style stakes? Demanding? Yes. But the perfect bag is always worth waiting for. 

If you’re looking to commit to a piece that is as perennially chic as it is endlessly cool, then may we introduce the London Fashion Week-approved handbag that really does do it all: the top handle bag.  

LFW street style: A show goer carries a sculptural top handle bag
LFW street style: A show goer carries a sculptural top handle bag

Every decade has brought us an iconic accessory that has endured for decades to come. The 1960s blessed us with the dramatic over-the-knee boot, the 70s brought us the endlessly wearable cross-body bag. Though the 2020s may only be in their infancy, we suspect that the the stand-out accessories trend of the decade may already be within our sights. 

Sleek, chic and effortlessly versatile, the top handle bag combines all the art school-cool of a sculptural shape with the grown-up sophistication of a structured style. The result? A style chameleon that performs the sartorial hat trick of looking impeccably refined for work and elegant for evening, all with a cool-girl edge. 

You may also like

LFW: the statement coat making wet weather chic again

Joyfully fun to wear but offering all the elegant sophistication that our grown-up wardrobe craves, the sculptural top handle bag ticks all the right boxes. The best part? These streamlined styles translate seamlessly from day to night, making them the perfect piece to invest in now and wear, well, everywhere. 

Whether you prefer to make a subtle statement with a sleek, miniature interpretation of the trend or if you’re dreaming of turning heads with bold, logo-laden styles, these are the street style approved handbags with endless appeal.  

The elegant approach

Call us demanding, but our definition of the perfect handbag is one with enough interest to double as a conversation starter. Stacking one miniature silver-framed handbag against the same design in a larger size, the double bag is the chicest ice breaker we’ve ever had the pleasure to know. 

The top handle bag has its roots in prim and proper 1950s bag designs, and it’s this timeless sense of sophistication that gives the top handle bag immediate office-dressing appeal. But forget any fears of appearing fusty, this directional double bag style makes the piece feel completely fresh. Whether worn with slouchy suiting or a printed midi dress, this ultra-chic bag will take you effortlessly from the boardroom to the bar, and back again. 

LFW street style: A show goer carries a double frame top handle bag
LFW street style: A show goer carries a double frame top handle bag

The new icon

Can Bottega Veneta do no wrong? Under the direction of Daniel Lee (who took home four titles at the British Fashion Awards) everything the Italian fashion house touches seemingly turns to sartorial gold. Case in point? The top handle bag. This slightly slouchy but still structured interpretation of the trend adds a touch of nonchalance to your look while showcasing some serious style prowess. The signature Bottega woven leather makes for an understated but immediately recognisable style statement – the perfect match for those looking to invest in the luxury piece with timeless appeal.

LFW street style: A show goer with a Bottega Veneta bag
LFW street style: A show goer with a Bottega Veneta bag

Logo mania

Proudly sitting on the opposite end of the logo spectrum, when it comes to iconic bags we have three words of you: Dior saddle bag. A 90s style icon fit to rival Jennifer Aniston, this It-bag was rivaled only by the Fendi baguette as the must-have luxury accessory for fashion followers everywhere. 

Like all true classics, the Dior saddle bag has made its triumphant return to the style scene and the fashion pack has fallen in love with a vibrant logo print iteration of the design. The chicest way to wear the saddle bag a second time around? Instead of squeezing the strap onto your shoulder (as seen on every red carpet circa 2002), carry it top-handle style in your hand, a look that’s particularly impressive when paired with a statement-cuff coat and killer ankle boot

LFW street style: A show goer carries a Dior saddle bag
LFW street style: A show goer carries a Dior saddle bag

The minimalist interpretation 

Clean lines and sleek shapes make for a fresh, fuss-free take on the top handle trend. If your wardrobe is a spectrum of vibrant colours and bold prints, then the timeless bag that will add sophistication to even your most daring ensembles is one that embraces the qualities of understated simplicity. The proof? Patterned boots and an oversized shirt in a zesty shade of lime green suddenly feel evening appropriate when paired with a sculptural design in a neutral shade of caramel or tan. Now if that isn’t the calling card of a wardrobe hero handbag, we don’t know what is. 

LFW street style: A show goer carries a minimalist top handle bag
LFW street style: A show goer carries a minimalist top handle bag

The miniature bag

If you’ve refreshed Instagram anytime since 2018, you’ll know that teeny tiny bags are the playful style that’s gone viral. Inspired by Jacquemus’ Chiquito bag (the micro-mini design that fits no more than a stick of gum – yes, you know the one) the miniature bag trend has since grown to slightly larger, more practical sizes, and they’ve never looked more chic. Choosing a boxy, top handle style is the perfect way to add elegance to any evening ensemble, while a soft shade of blush adds a playful touch (especially when clashed with a statement making red dress). From summer weddings to office events, we can see this style being our wardrobe saviour for seasons to come. 

LFW street style: Zawe Ashton carries a mini top handle bag
LFW street style: Zawe Ashton carries a mini top handle bag
  • Rejina Pyo

    Rejina Pyo’s attention to shape and structure makes this boxy handbag a masterclass in the art of clean, minimalist design. The glossy tan leather is reminiscent of the 1950s styles that inspired the trend, but with its sharp, rectangular shape this bag feels entirely modern. 

    Shop Rejina Pyo Olivia patent leather bag, £495

  • Little Lifner

    Looking for a miniature take on the trend that works for both day and night? Scandinavian accessories brand Little Liffner have created just that in this elegant take on the top handle trend. Add interest to a casual daytime look by playing with proportions and pairing yours with a chunky oversized cardigan, by evening wear with a silky slip dress for a textural going-out ensemble. 

    Shop Little Liffner croc-effect leather tote at Net-A-Porter, £340

  • Bottega Veneta

    Are you dreaming of a statement bag that you’ll want to wear on heavy rotation for years to come? Then prepare to fall for Bottega Veneta’s sell-out Jodie bag. An icon in the making, this woven leather handbag is certain to join the ranks of the Chanel 2.55 and Hermes Birkin as a timeless classic. Buy yours now and cement your status as an early style adopter. 

    Shop Bottega Veneta Medium BV Jodie bag, £2,465

  • The Sant

    The scrunchie-style fabric handle speaks to our inner 90s-child, but it’s The Sant’s cool, sculptural approach to design that has our grown-up selves falling in love with this ultra-chic design. Handmade using traditional techniques, this timeless miniature bag is a luxurious piece to buy now and treasure forever.

    Shop The Sant mini kinchaku bag, £374

  • Ratio Et Motus

    Tick off two major new season trends with this top handle take on the double frame bag. One of the biggest stories on the spring/summer 2020 catwalks, the style of wearing one mini bag stacked against your larger bag has been everywhere from Fendi to Hermes. Ratio Et Motus’ sculptural, structured piece will integrate seamlessly into your workwear repertoire, and comes in four contrasting colourways. 

    Shop Ratio Et Motus twin frame two-tone leather tote at Net-A-Porter, £1,275

Need some distraction? Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read & do while at home.

Images courtesy of Noor&Zee and brands.

Topics

Share this article

Author

Lara Faye

Recommended by Lara Faye

Fashion

LFW: the statement coat making wet weather chic again

Style out a storm like a fashion editor

Posted by
Lara Faye
Published
Fashion

NYFW: The chic coat trend everybody’s wearing

Make a street style statement like a fashion editor

Posted by
Lara Faye
Published
Fashion

NYFW street style: the standout looks from New York Fashion Week

We've rounded up the most exciting and diverse street style looks the Big Apple had to offer.

Posted by
Helen Atkin
Published
Fashion

Oversized blazers are the effortlessly cool style to wear now

Androgynous style is back, and it’s chicer than ever.

Posted by
Lara Faye
Published