If a sighting of another basket bag triggers a reflexive eye-roll, we get it. The ubiquitous Jane Birkin-inspired summer accessory has, then again, submerged us with its wicker presence for some consecutive seasons. While the craze is still very much on a high, a successor is speeding its way up. Scoot over, basket bags: beaded bags are here to stay.
You’ve probably already seen them hand-held by some of your favourite Insta-cool cats — Gigi Hadid, Irene Kim, Alexa Chung, among others. While today they amass thousands of fervent double taps, the existence of bead-embellished bags extends way back into the 12th century.
For centuries, fine beadwork has been considered as a highly prized collector’s item — most notably known to swathe 19th century European style icon Empress Josephine’s go-to reticules in patterns of pastoral sceneries. It should be acknowledged too that hand-beaded accessories were synonymous to Peranakan culture — often taking form as purses and slippers for nyonyas to match with their kebayas.
Years after gathering dust in your grandma’s wardrobe, they’re poised to resurge with a tongue-in-cheek vengeance. A confection of beaded bags of all stripes now populates Instagram, courtesy of cult labels the likes of London-based Shrimps and New York accessory wunderkind Susan Alexandra. A zesty multi-hued revamp from the straw-weaving we’re accustomed to, the beaded bags’s retro come-hither appeal is hard to resist.
Here, shop the new anchors to your warm-weather dressing.
(Main image: Lucy Johnston; featured image: Liza Child)
Since its feted inception in 2016, the faux pearl-built Antonia mini tote is notoriously hard to get, running out of stock the instant it launches, thus inspiring countless Etsy knock-offs. Fret not, click on the button below to snag a spot on the waitlist ahead of the It-bag’s next drop.
Good things come to those who wait. This maxim applies to Susan Alexandra’s uber-popular Ash bag. Handmade in New York upon order, the bag strings over 300 beads and takes over a month to construct. Its motley of square-clumped pellets is inspired by the groovy ’70s — think: Joni Mitchell and corduroy patchworks.
While in Taipei this year, accessories designer Evelyn Tao stumbled upon a decade-old beaded bag in one of the local bead shops. Inspired, Tao expanded her label, Not Impressed, with her own drawstring beaded purse range naming it Tulipa. Despite the label’s name, each Tulipa bag strings approximately 2,300 acrylic beads, all hand-beaded by Tao herself.
Crafted in Madagascar, sustainable label Edun’s wooden beaded clutch is made by local artisans under a Fair Trade partnership. It’s as ethical as it gets, even the bag’s manufacturing factory location is openly disclosed (geolocation: -18.90° 47.57°, the website cites).
Trust Simon Porte Jacquemus to be ahead of the curve with next summer’s totable hit. His Spring 2018 Perola bag marries bead mania with macramé netting. Housing a tan envelope clutch, this is the sophisticated French Riviera iteration you’ve been looking for.