Phoebe Philp is that “It” designer of “It” bags. I know she might cringe at being labeled that, but there is really no other way I can describe this bag visionary who has created the most popular bags over the last several years.
For Chloe, Philo has created the Paddington, the Edith, and the Betty. For Celine, she has created the Trapeze and the Box shoulder bag (the ’80s style of which has been made popular by the Hermes Constance).
And then of course, Philo has designed the very famous and oft-sold-out Luggage Tote, which has evolved in size from the original mini version to the nano and the micro, and then evolved to become an even more modified luggage tote, the Phantom.
Philo has the Midas touch when it comes to bag design, and perhaps it’s not surprising that other brands took her winning formula when they designed their own bags. On a recent trip to Taipei, I was even astonished to find canvas bags that were printed to look just like Celine Luggage Totes—thankfully without the brand name (and steep price) attached. Those canvas bags did make me wonder though how the folks at Celine feel about “imitation.”
I have to admit, those Celine Luggage Tote wannabes were quite kitschy and cute.
Of late, I’m no longer surprised to see the resemblance of certain bags to the Luggage Tote (but that’s not to say these brands “copied” the style off Celine), as this “winged” style tote is very much in-demand. If you haven’t had the luck in getting your hands on a Celine Luggage Tote, why not go for these other bags that are just as nice?
1. Jil Sander Malavoglia Tote: I love the particular blue color offered by Net-a-Porter. The good thing about this is it has a functional zippered pocket that does not just hold your lipstick or car keys. It might be a little bit of hassle to open/close the bag as the process involves pulling one of the rolled handles out of the enclosure “slot”—but that ensures contents remain secure. The bag also comes with a detachable shoulder strap—perfect for those who wish to keep their hands free while carrying the bag.
2. Reed Krakoff Atlantique Tote: Reed Krakoff has been making waves in the bag world. If you don’t know his name yet, perhaps you will be familiar with the company he runs—Coach! He also happens to be Coach’s executive creative director and is widely credited with making the company what it is today. This striking green tote gains top marks in color combination (clever use of two colors—the lime green which shocks, and the black which works perfectly well in contrast). The bag as well saves one the complicated process of opening or closing it.
3. Valentino Rockstud Leather Tote: Alexa Chung “rocked” with her Rockstud shoes seasons ago. The studs became a staple in Valentino’s accessories and the shoes continue to be a coveted item. It is a challenge to make a bag with metal hardware look classy. But Valentino has managed to achieve that with this bag. This leather tote has the studs tastefully laid out and it does not look “heavy” to the eyes at all. In terms of weight, the bag is also surprisingly not heavy at all.
4. Marc by Marc Jacobs Flipping Out Leather Tote: When I saw this bag, I had to do a double take because I thought I saw a new version of the Givenchy Antigona tote (which is, by the way, another very popular bag of late). Upon closer inspection though, I found this bag resembling the luggage tote more. The bag is very well-made, but perhaps the next best thing about this is it’s the most affordable tote among the lot.
Ingrid Chua-Go is the blogger of www.thebaghagdiaries.com. Follow her on twitter.com/thebaghag.