PARIS — A wave of nostalgia has swept over fashion for fall, so accessories designers have been looking at characters and eras long gone to inspire their collections.
Jennifer Aniston’s character in “Friends,” Rachel, is proving to have particular style influence this season, with everyone falling back in love with her colorful baguette bags that were so characteristic of the Nineties.
Bulgarian label By Far was one of the first to ride the Nineties wave, doing a literal interpretation of the style and calling it the Rachel bag.
It made its debut for spring 2019 and given its soaring popularity — it’s drawn Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and influencers galore, who pair it with bucket hats, crop tops and other Nineties paraphernalia — the buzzy contemporary brand brought back the style for fall, reworking it in croc-effect leather and jewel-toned crushed velvet.
Little Liffner, the Stockholm-based handbag label that plays on the modernism and simplicity of Scandinavian style, followed suit making its own version of a baguette in croc-effect leather and featuring silver hardware and a structured handle.
Wandler, another contemporary label that quickly became recognizable for its bold colors and modernist shapes, offered its own take: a sturdy, chunkier version of the baguette bag in bright pops of color from sky blue, to green and leopard-print, a thicker strap and geometric leather buckles, which reflect the label’s flair for sleek, architectural shapes.
Net-a-porter’s buying director Elizabeth von der Goltz pointed to Wandler’s baguette style as a highlight of the season and added that she also has her eye on Cult Gaia’s “Art Deco take on the baguette bag.”
And it’s not just baguettes, but mini bags of all sorts that are taking over accessories collections, across the luxury spectrum. Take the itsy-bitsy version of Jacquemus’ popular Le Sac Chiquito that made its appearance on the label’s fall 2019 runway; By Far’s miniature bucket bag featuring a leather base and a foldable satin top; Moynat’s charming rectangular wristlets, or Medea Sisters’ miniature shoppers, reworked in candy colors and sturdy leather.
Another figure that has been setting this season’s accessories agenda is Phoebe Philo and her much-loved, modernist collections for Celine.
As Celine stores shut for renovation and the stock of the brand’s highly Instagrammable “Madame” boots begins to dwindle, contemporary accessories labels have been looking to fill that gap with plenty of square-toes, neutral hues and modernist, curved heels.
There’s Wandler, who following the quick-fire success of its handbag collection, will be introducing shoes for the first time for fall. The idea was to create “structural shapes” that women can easily move around in and the result was mules with curved heels or square-toe boots that come in a black and white bi-color version, and had a similar charm and feminine elegance as Philo’s Celine.
Ditto for Istanbul-based Manu Atelier’s debut shoe collection. Designers and sisters Merve and Beste Manestir, who were among the first to offer designer bags at contemporary price points, wanted to expand their offer and create a compact footwear range, highlighting the styles they like to wear day-to-day.
Cue square-toe, minimalist strappy sandals; lace-up boots in luxe cream or tan shades, and chic sock boots featuring curved heels that brought to mind Philo’s “Madame” boots.
Other Celine iterations included By Far’s block-heel flats featuring scrunched-up leather, or more square-toe, lace-up ankle boots by London-based label Miista.
But even though minimalism continues to reign strong, there’s also another clutch of footwear designers who are standing behind a more glamorous, over-the-top proposal. Influencer and stylist Ada Kokosar continues to expand her Midnight 00 shoe label with a fall 2019 collection featuring pumps done in polka-dot, leopard-print or check fabrics and covered in pearls and ruffled PVC. At Malone Souliers, which is now solely under the creative direction of Mary Alice Malone, there was a move toward more sparkle and fantasy with fuchsia crystal-embellished booties, fuzzy fur slides or velvet mules adorned with crystal brooches, while up-and-coming label Paris Texas added to its collection of animal print boots with out-there thigh-high versions or metallic cowboy boots featuring playful fringes in bright shades.
In the handbag department, the lady-like styles worn by chic grandmothers around the world set a different trend in the market, which looked far beyond the Nineties and baguette bags.
Brands like Ratio et Motus — a New York-based label that is part of Net-a-porter’s Vanguard program for up-and-coming designers, Manu Atelier and The Volon looked to re-creating their grandmothers’ bags for a new generation. Among the highlights were Ratio et Motus long triangular totes, The Volon’s trunk-shaped shoulder bags featuring vintage-inspired details such as in-built mirrors and satin interiors and Manu Atelier’s new cylindrical shapes.
“New and emerging brands are really leading the way in setting key trends. Ratio et Motus’ frame bag is one of many vintage bags of this style we have heavily invested in,” added Net’s von der Goltz.