In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, "we got a feeling" that bags are going to take on a whole new shape come AW11. The massive, slouchy carry-alls we have grown used to over previous seasons are starting to look a little tired, and our backs have suffered serious damage from swinging these sacks from the crook of our arms.
The time is most definitely right for change, and our fashion instincts tell us that the medium sized, hard frame, top handle bag is about to have a resurgence. These ladylike numbers cropped up on various catwalks:
Louis Vuitton AW11 (above and below)
Marni AW11 (above and below)
Prada AW11 (still ladylike, just held in an abnormal way. Only at Prada)
Of course, this style has been around for an awful lot longer than last season's shows, with famous handbag icons the Queen Mother, The Queen and of course Margaret Thatcher (whose man-beater Asprey bag sold for a measly £20,000, rather than the expected £100,000) all big fans of the box bag look. The hard frame hand bag is a key element in the power play of these strong women; it is a style synonymous with English heritage, quality and tradition.
HRH at some minor event on 29th April, with her Launer bag
It's not surprising, then, that our boredom with big bags is driving us to rediscover our roots. Along with Vuitton, Marni and Prada, there is one brand leading the way for ladylike, and that in Launer. We were not really aware of this company until it was brought to our attention that they make the Queen's iconic handbags, according to the email recieved by Fash Ed sales of the above bag shot up 55% following the Royal nuptials, and that many of the buyers are women much younger than HRH. I always wonder what on earth she keeps in her bag (the keys to Buckingham Palace? though the Fashion Editor at Large hears she keeps a golden gun and lipstick in there) but nevertheless, she is rarely seen without a Launer design.
The classic Launer 'Adagio' £770 from http://www.launer.com/
We've now swotted up, so here's the brief Launer 101:
Founded in 1941, the company quickly became a favourite of The Queen Mother, and later on, her daughter.Margaret Thatcher was often seen with her Launer handbag during her rise to the political top. In 1983 they were granted the Royal W arrant, only a short time after the business had been saved by Gerald Bodmer, who recognised the importance of British heritage manufacturing and preserved it doing the Eighties move towards all that was cheap, fast and mass produced.
The Lydia bag is £615 and comes in pink..
At the moment, there is another move towards the preservation of heritage techniques, and all of Launer's production still happens in Walsall, near Birmingham, England. It's always good to discover that there are small British companies still producing beautiful fashion pieces in their homeland; long may this continue!
So there you have it, a tip for AW11: carry whatever bag you want, as long as it is ladylike.
Images: Style.com, Daily Mail, Launer.com