IT’S a problem that bugs many women who love their Hermes Birkins and their other designer purses: How do you protect them from the elements?
The answer to this predicament came by accident to an Italian couple a few years ago.
Husband-and-wife Stefano and Valentina Agazzi were hosting an event for the jewelry and luxury industry one day in Italy, and, as a party giveaway, they had chic lightweight handbags made for the female guests.
“Unfortunately—or fortunately—it rained,” recalled Valentina Agazzi. The guests quickly stashed their precious designer purses inside the giveaway handbags, saving them from what could have been sure ruin. That incident gave way to the birth of Save My Bag.
Valentina Agazzi was in Manila this week to unveil Save My Bag, a line of handbags made of a waterproof, ultra-lightweight material called poly-lycra, similar to neoprene but lighter, that’s meant to protect expensive designer purses from the elements. The durable material, which weighs less than a bottle of water, is exclusive to the brand and is washable.
Agazzi, who designs the purses, says they’re meant to slip your expensive bag into when you’re traveling, when you go to the beach, or whenever you need to have it protected from dirt or water.
Or, you can even use them on their own. They’re incredibly lightweight, they will be saving not just your bag but also your back, she said.
The material is flexible, making it easy to squeeze in under an airplane seat. It’s also very sturdy that some users stuff up to 12 kg inside, Agazzi said.
“It’s affordable and it’s for every woman who wants a practical but fashionable bag,” Agazzi said at the launch in SM Makati, where it’s exclusively available at a new corner called Little White Box.
Little White Box is a new concept of SM Malls, where it plans to showcase little-known but innovative products from around the world, according to Kenner Chua, who heads SM’s accessories division. Save My Bag is the featured brand of Little White Box’s inaugural.
At the shop designed by architect Carlo Calma, were shelves upon shelves of poly-lycra purses in every imaginable color, with some limited pieces in Roy Lichtenstein prints, houndstooth, denim and animal prints. They come in regular tote sizes, weekender, clutch and the trendy mini sling bags.
Notably, the shapes are reminiscent of iconic handbags, like the Birkin and Celine Luggage tote. This was intentional, according to its designer.
“They’re inspired, not an imitation. Some of our customers actually match their designer handbag with a Save My Bag,” Agazzi said. “It’s made of a unique material, it’s not a fake leather bag.” They retail from P4,000-up.
Launched only in November 2013, Save My Bag had an early fan in “Sex and the City” costume designer and stylist Patricia Field, and is now available in 500 stores worldwide.
“Consumers are looking for good products, whether it’s a luxury bag or an affordable bag,” Agazzi said. “The key is that they’re able to blend it into their style. It’s the high-low mix, with a cool and contemporary look.”
Each Save My Bag also proudly carries a “Made in Italy” tag. This is key, since the country of artisans “is not just about luxury bags that cost over $2,000,” Agazzi said. “But it also means being very creative about innovative products that can work for every woman. I know it’s cheaper to outsource, but my husband is Italian, and I’m half-Italian, and we think Italy is the best place to make these products.”