Cool to be kind

Had enough of killer heels that you can’t walk (let alone dance) in and handbags so heavy that even She-ra would have trouble lifting them? Me too. But hang in there because the totes they are a-changing. After the giant bag trend came the absurdity of the superclutch and then the even more ridiculous micro-clutch. But now designers have finally decided to give us something that we actually want: lightweight, roomy and practical bags that do a job and look good.

Mulberry’s creative director Emma Hill is at the forefront of the movement, telling Vogue, “When I pick up a bag that’s heavy when empty, I don’t want it,” and creating a line of lightweight bags for spring-summer devoid of weighty hardware. Alexander Wang’s soft-n-slouchy suede Dorothy sac (below) marries his signature laidback luxe look with a utilitarian twist – my litmus test is whether it will take a copy of Vogue as well as my umbrella, diary, sunglasses and purse without slopping out of shape like an unwieldy sack of potatoes. It passes with flying colours.

The luxury leathergoods-makers Valextra are keen to join the party. Valextra have softened the lines of their trademark bags and introduced the half-moon Namasté which weighs in at a featherweight 600g and can carry up to 15kg without putting your back out of whack. “We worked on it for months to balance it so the weight falls on your hip,” chairman Emanuele Carmiati Molina told the FT, “We threw away over 25 prototypes”. (The price is also less painful at under €1000, that’s cheap for Valextra.)

Not to be outdone, everyone’s favourite Marc Jacobs muse, Sofia Coppola has unveiled her capsule collection for Louis Vuitton consisting of predictably fuss-free day bags and classy clutches. She also rejected the first prototype for being too heavy, finally signing off a collection that is classic, chic and ultimately useful.
Now to swap those plat-heels for something a little more manageable, perhaps these Sofia-for-L-V wedges for starters…

Alexander Wang, Dazed Digital, The Fashion Spot

Joseph – it’s back!

The prize for best catering during LFW had to go to the Joseph shop relaunch in Westbourne Grove. Not only were the non-alcoholic cocktails delicious and plentiful but the food was a never-ending succession of crispy bruscetta bites, cheesy nibbles and delicate duck wraps. Usually you are lucky to get one or two of these tasty morsels all night but we seemed to be in prime position for a proper feeding (and it’s not because we were pitched directly outside the kitchen door – honest guv). Anyway, I did circulate a little bit. Just enough to get a good feel for the space which has been carefully curated by new artistic director (and ex-Colette buyer), Alain Snege. In amongst the Marni and Maison Martin Margiela, I discovered the chiffon-petal adorned cashmeres by Koi Suwannagate, Zero Maria Cornejo’s cape cocoon dresses and an impressive shoe department. Downstairs was the casual department boasting Jerome Dreyfus (AKA Mr Isabel Marant) suede bags of every description, Golden Goose tees and stripy boy-shirts and Joseph’s own lovely soft denim collection.

Back in the eighties and early nineties, Joseph was right up there in terms of the ultimate shopping experience. Its chunky handknit sweaters (80s) and boy-cut trousers in every conceivable finish (90s) were the mainstay of fashionistas’ wardrobes far and wide but somehow it went off-radar in the noughties. It just had no personality. The latest round of revamps aims to return the Joseph brand to its former glory, let’s see if they succeed.