This is a photograph my pal Mark Iantosca took for Refinery 29 when we ran into each other on Spring Street last week. I was dressed in a true pajama blouse–one I had slept in the night before (but had hailed from Zara just six months earlier,) and Poupette beach shorts. These, most typically unappreciated on the Streets of New York. Since that hadn’t stopped me before though, it wouldn’t now either. A pair of gold Supergas polished off the look next to this Valentino purse and some offensive red nails that hadn’t been applied willingly.
My friend Rachel and I were talking about the death of the it-bag, noting how far footwear had come in the last decade and recognizing that in the grand scheme of accessories, it was rare to see a dynamic handbag collection come to fruition. With the exception of household names like Valextra and Goyard, most handbag labels had either percolated through big fashion houses, or supplemented footwear brands with purses, (see: Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Charlotte Olympia et al.)
What is it about shoes vs. bags that make them more desirable? Personally, I’ve never been one toward handbags if it meant sacrificing footwear. Shoes just seem a far more palpable vehicle to suspend real life.
I step into a pair of 6-inch heels with seashells adorning the front and all the sudden, I’m a mermaid vixen. Strap a purse across my shoulder and…I’m effectively still me. The power implications just aren’t the same.
On the day this photo was taken though, I hadn’t opted for “a style splash” (stab me for saying that) in any capacity other than my signature “arm party”–a term even I myself, the culprit, am growing weary to use, and a bad-ass purse with motives that extend beyond the obvious knuckle smack down.
The disconnect I was trying to fulfill: utter-to-the-point-of obnoxious comfort but still somewhat sophisticated could not be achieved without the kiss of a pretentious accessory.
So maybe the “it-bag,” isn’t dying. Maybe it just can’t be equated to it-shoes. It’s kind of like comparing a computer to a cellphone. They’re two different things, with two different purposes that fall under the same umbrella but aren’t conclusively trying to compete with one another. As a matter of fact, they even sort of need each other.
In this instance, the humility brought forward by sheer comfort and the pretension brought forward by handbag come together to create a really seamless marriage. One that rarely needs counseling, or children, or shoes. And sometimes, that’s enough.