Just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean the fashion show calendar stops. Rather, it evolves. For Resort 2021, gone were the staged extravaganzas full of celebrities at exotic locales. COVID-19 restrictions made live in-person shows tricky. Mounting criticism of fashion’s colossal impact on the environment didn’t help. As a result… meet the digital fashion show.
Whether virtual viewing worked or not, some of the Resort 2021 handbags stood out. For many brands, the overall collections afforded an opportunity to celebrate the success of their classic designs and indicate the forward direction. From interesting color takes on Dior classics to a new version of everybody’s favorite Jacquemus bag, some gems are coming in Resort 2021!
The Fashion Show Must Go On... Somehow
Back in July 2020, French fashion industry’s governing body, Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM), and the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, Camera della Moda, announced a shift to a digital show format. An array of luxury fashion brands rose to the occasion, using the unprecedented circumstances to explore a sense of innovation.
According to Vogue Runway’s Nicole Phelps, “The pandemic has brands rethinking their expense, their environmental impact, and the designer burnout they’re responsible for.” This ethos of a much needed new beginning echoed throughout the Resort 2021 collections. Designers across the board focused on innovating their beloved classic bags to create something fresh and exciting while simultaneously paying homage to their steadfast designs.
Some houses, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, opted for an exclusively digital showcase. However, others, including Dior and Jacquemus, chose to stick with the traditional physical show format. Notably, there was less of the usual fashion crowd of editors and influencers. Locals from Dior’s show setting made up the house’s front row instead!
Brands made compelling arguments for both physical and digital showcases. In a pre-show interview with Vogue Runway, Simon Porte Jacquemus, founder of his namesake brand, expressed his belief that a live runway can never be replaced.
However, Alessandro Michele’s presentation for Gucci worked well to communicate the brand’s iconic eccentricity. The collection was shot as a lookbook worn by members of his design team. Each look was labelled with the team member’s name and their role. It generated an overwhelmingly authentic feel.
Originally planned to be shown on the Italian island of Capri, Chanel’s offering for this season was instead shot from the house’s Paris photo studio.
Similarly, Louis Vuitton’s collection was shot at the house’s headquarters with a photocopier, exit signs and fire doors making up the backdrop. The familiar office-like surroundings cemented the collection as a celebration of Vuitton’s everyday classics.
Other brands used COVID-19 for a jumpstart into a new ultra digital age. Dior and Gucci both live streamed their collections to positive effect. Dior’s, CEO Pietro Beccari, anticipated the show to receive 20 million digital viewers, similar to the house’s couture and men’s shows.
Technology’s influence on this fashion season has gone much further than merely live streams. From panel discussions on social media to pre-show Zoom chats, it’s safe to say this fashion season has been a digitalised affair! Maybe the ultra futuristic sci-fi aesthetic will be on-trend soon?!
Conversely, though, at least as of now, Paris fashion week in September 2020 (for the Spring/Summer 2021 collections) is scheduled to be in person. We shall see.
Here are PurseBop’s favorite accessories from this digital fashion season. Enjoy!
Dior celebrated a return to its roots in lavish beauty and decadence. The house’s Resort 2021 collection was shown in the historic town square of Lecce in Italy. Creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s use of a neutral color palette, bandanas and chunky boots combine to create a grungy naturalism aesthetic which translates into the handbag offerings.
Chiuri expertly adapts the house’s classic bags to the same design themes. Seen on repeat in updated variations are the Lady Dior, Book Tote and Saddle Bag. Popular, tried, true and . . . perhaps safe.
Lady Dior, Book Tote and Saddle Bag all appear in a deep black shade with intricate embroidery and metal studs. Updated, edgy, and yet still classic.
The collection also features these three iconic Dior bags in a dark tooled leather finish. The Lady Dior appears in a rich brown hue giving a country-esque feel to a simplistic all cream colored look. The earthy tone contrasts charmingly with the structured sophistication of the bag.
A mix of triangular shapes and playful colors adorn both a Book Tote and Lady Dior, giving the typically monochrome bags a fresh and whimsical look.
Chanel’s Resort 2021 collection has all the characteristics of the perfect summer vacation. Bright, playful and a relaxed romantic feel.
Named Balade en Méditerranée (meaning a stroll in the Mediterranean), the collection is made entirely from fabrics which were already in the studio pre-lockdown. This practice proved inline with Chanel’s Mission 1.5 report announced in March 2020 pledging the brand’s commitment to fight climate change.
Furthermore, Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard features a woven wicker beach basket purse from the 2020 Act I collection explaining how she loved it and how therefore there would be no need to make another – dare we say Mother Earth would agree!
Chanel too has used its Resort 2021 collection to emphasize the importance of staple classics while introducing exciting new styles. Viard compares her approach to designing the collection to the way she looks at holiday packing – mixing the tried and true with new discoveries.
Viard used the time during lockdown to experiment with textures, shapes and sizes resulting in somewhat outlandish bags – even those of the microscopic variety!
By all accounts, Viard was dreaming about “summer in Capri—or the South of France.” We suspect that she, like the rest of us, pines for days of travel.
The collection features an array of summery colors, notably a Chanel Classic Flap Bag in a light sea blue. However, Bougainvillea pink, a playful fuchsia color infused with purple tones, is the standout shade of Viard’s designs. Our bets are on the glistering Bougainvillea pink colored Chanel 19 bag becoming a fan favorite!
Nothing says summer quite like a woven wicker bag. Chanel’s Resort 2021 vanity case version is one of the best. Except that it is really a Spring/Summer 2020 model. Why reinvent the wheel?
The bag consists of a woven wicker material with black leather trim and a top handle. This structured design has all the elegance and pose of a chic Chanel top handle bag. However, the wicker material and long cross-body chain strap give the piece an interesting nonchalant feel.
Chanel Jumps on the Itty Bitty Bag Trend
We’ve saved the smallest for last. Chanel has fully embraced the tiny bag trend, shrinking their classic designs to stylish effect – even if you have to squint to see them!
Chanel’s iconic Classic Flap Bag silhouette appears in microscopic form for Resort 2021. Tiny bags in white and standout Bougainvillea pink hang loosely from models necks. An ultra-thin chain strap clips to the centre of the miniature gems. Notably, this is not the first time a luxury brand has blurred the lines between handbags and jewelry. (Read: Louis Vuitton’s New Wearable ‘Party Bracelet’ Bags) But, let’s face it, there are few bags more suited to being worn like a jewel than the Classic Flap!
Also, a tiny version of a white Classic Flap Bag with black hardware is worn tied around the waist in a chic belt bag style. The monochrome chain strap appears on one model’s waist in a series of layers to create an effortlessly stylish finish. The miniature bag is paired with a statement belt featuring a bejeweled CC logo.
The dainty piece matches perfectly with an ordinary-sized version of the bag also featured in the collection.
If there’s one brand that knows how to both celebrate and innovate its iconic bags each season … it’s Louis Vuitton. LV’s Resort 2021 “GAME ON” collection incorporates quirky playing card motifs with Vuitton’s classic designs.
LV monogram icons including the Speedy and Toiletry Pouch are adorned with giant playing card suits. Designs feature hearts and spades in red with the house’s signature Monogram flower layered on top in a contrasting white shade producing a stand-out look.
Designed by Vuitton’s womenswear director, Nicolas Ghesquière, the collection gives us the sense of playful fun we all desperately need right now. A bag shaped like a fan of cards hangs loosely over one model’s shoulder. Vuitton’s Monogram flower features on each card in varying hues merged with each playing card’s suit symbol. The LV emblem is carefully placed in each corner – Vuitton has never been one to pass up on branding!
Also playing into the deck of cards theme is a monochrome dice-shaped structured bag. The design is complete with a Monogram top handle and longer chain strap.
Celebrating the house’s Monogram and its versatility, a concept typical of the brand, the collection contains Monogram classics in black and white. These feature colorful Monogram motifs amongst playful red hearts. The resulting Speedy and Dauphine bag designs are a flirtatious nod to the house’s Multicolor range which was discontinued back in 2015 but remains popular on resale sites today.
PurseBop’s prediction for the stand-out fan favorite from the collection is a heart-shaped Monogram bag. The style comes with a leather shoulder strap and, like many bags in the collection, is decorated with the house’s logo and a red heart in the corner.
Moreover, don’t forget the increasingly popular and versatile Twist bag. (Read – What’s Up With Louis Vuitton’s Twist Bag This Season?) Vuitton certainly didn’t. One look features a Twist bag in a deep blue shade with a playing card club emblem in a lighter hue appearing around the bag’s central LV Twist lock.
Gucci presented Resort 2021 via a 12-hour livestream rather than a traditional fashion show set up. The bag designs portray everything that makes Gucci the brand that it is – quirky, bizarre, and, at the same time, classic.
On a pre-show WhatsApp call Michele described the pandemic as “a moment to be reborn” suggesting that the fashion industry needs realignment. Furthermore, the collection’s photographer, Alec Soth, spoke of bringing new life to something. This translates into bags which pay homage to Gucci’s rich heritage while experimenting with fresh materials and color palettes. Although the collection embraces the house’s past, the designs signal a new and unexpected beginning.
The Jackie bag is arguably the house’s most iconic bag and has proved a consumer favorite since its release in the 1950s. The style certainly has made it into PurseBop’s ‘It’ bag Wall of Fame, so to speak!
Resort 2021 features the Jackie in a myriad of color and size combinations, from pops of vibrant hues to animal prints and from small to large. This iconic design also appears with a longer strap option.
While a knitted fabric may not be the first material that comes to mind when you think of a Resort collection, Gucci is known for pushing the boundaries of normality for the house’s designs. Not one but two knitted bags were live-streamed as part of Michele’s collection.
One design juxtaposes the knitted aesthetic with a bamboo top handle. This design feature was first seen on the Gucci Bamboo back in 1947 due to post-war material shortages. Featuring vertical rainbow stripes and finished off with Gucci’s signature double ring and bar hardware, this design feels both old and new for the house.
Another rainbow knitted bag features a long chain strap and curved flap.
Gucci is well known for its elegant and eccentric 70s aesthetic. The house often heavily features geometric patterns and garish suiting in its collections. Therefore, it is no surprise that Michele chose to use a 70s-inspired color palette for his collection post-pandemic.
A flat satchel style bag appears in several color combinations including mustard yellow, maroon and navy. The look gives us all a much needed reminder of the allure of refined and stylized workwear.
In just 11 years Simon Porte Jacquemus has managed to turn his namesake brand into a global fashion phenomenon. Moreover, he’s responsible for one of the most instantly recognizable and beloved ‘It’ bags of the previous decade (arguably the century) – the Chiquito. For Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear Jacquemus is launching a new version of the now iconic design – enter the Chiquito Noeud, a cross-body variation of the house best seller.
The bag’s strap neatly spirals into a top handle option fastened with a leather clip. It can be unravelled to reveal a longer option which allows for the bag to be worn cross-body resulting in maximum functionality.
It’s available in white, black, blue, coral and pink.
Jacquemus’s other designs for Spring 2021 deserve some attention too! A triangular prism-shaped top handle flap bag complete with an adjustable cross-body strap appears on the runway multiple times. The intriguing design is available in a selection of colors and materials including honey brown suede and black leather.
Despite everything facing the world in July 2020, the bags debuting for Resort 2021 were anything but doom and gloom. Designers reveled in looking back and celebrating past iconic bags. Simultaneously, they revitalized designs to show us that the fashion world is still alive and breathing. Although likely that COVID-19 has irreversibly altered the fashion industry in ways we do not yet understand, the response from many luxury brands this season could give consumers a sense of hope for the future.
Which offering of bags was your favorite this season? Are you surprised at how the digital fashion shows played out? Will any of the new pieces make it onto your luxury wishlist? Let us know.