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A bagful of luxury

Henna Rakheja, Dec 7, 2012

Pak’s foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar’s visit is long over but her over-sized Hermes Birkin bag in black, comes to mind when discussions about luxury bags arise. And why not, for an expensive bag adds to the fashion statement unlike any other accessory. Be it a tote, sling or clutch, bags are no more about being ‘just utility’.

From hi-end brands like Hidesign and Da Milano to customised designer options from Risa, the list is long and keeps increasing, such as the recent inclusion of VIP’s label, Caprese to India.

All have a wide variety of stylised handbags for women, catering to different occasions. Colours, designs and silhouettes are chosen keeping in mind the fashion forecasts and tastes of women, who fall prey to a ‘nice bag’, no matter how many may already be there in their cupboards!

A luxury bag reveals the bearer’s design sensibilities and also explains the latter’s ability to style her own wardrobe. But the definitions might change in the contemporary setup, for a tote may be teamed with evening wear while a sling could be carried to office. Both, in an extremely comfortable fashion.

“The form, craftsmanship and detailing of the luxury bag reflects the discerning eye of the user. It, by and large goes with various couture silhouettes enhancing the wearer’s style statement. A bag is the most sensuous and visible accessory and therefore in itself a rich experience,” says fashion designer Meera Ali.

In brands such as Hidesign, clean silhouettes and use of vegetable tanned leather makes the bag standout. The fabrication takes a long time, for their products smack of detailed craftsmanship and have classic appeal. “Great quality is the minimum expectation for a customer of a luxury bag. It is therefore important that only best quality materials are used. The bag needs to be perfectly finished and should age well with time.

Such as for Alberto Ciaschini line, we have used best quality Nappa leathers and hardware is 24 carat gold-plated. All the embroidery work is hand-done and embedded with Swarovski crystals,” says Dilip Kapur, president, Hidesign. Available in classic colours like browns, blacks and beiges Hidesign appeals more to mature women.

Then come those who feel browns and blacks are boring. They pick a few options online while have the rest customised. Riddhima Dayal, from Risa bags says, “We are not into classic colours. Instead, we have fuschias and reds. We also use a lot of techniques such as weaving, perforation, hand-stitching, machine embroidery and even 3D weaving. Even if we use leather for structuring, we play with it by handpainting and hand padding.”
In the case of sling bags, they keep interesting utility spaces inside the bag, such as a “dog hook” which is a special pocket to keep your keys!

Da Milano too has added a splash of bold colours like neons and brought in designs with zippers and chains to present it as a young and trendy brand, but prefers to go mostly with leather.

“Leather is an exclusive material and depicts luxury. Da Milano makes only leather goods though we have a lot of variety in the kind of leather we use – like patent, grainy, animal prints, croco etc. We are also exploring other options like fur,” says Sahil Malik, MD, Da Milano. So, the next time you venture out for shopping, remember to carry extra cash and treat yourself to a good handbag, as luxury matters the most!


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