Would You Buy A Tiny Two-Inch It-Bag?

Is Jacquemus’s tiny tote the height of fashion silliness, or proof that the handbag is now obsolete, asks Hannah Rochell

A model poses with Le Mini Chiquito during the Jacquemus show as part of Paris Fashion Week womenswear autumn/winter 2019. Photo / Getty Images

In February, Simon Porte Jacquemus, who founded the cult brand Jacquemus in 2009, debuted the smallest bag ever to grace the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week. Le Mini Chiquito is so small (5.2cm) that you’d struggle to fit anything in it at all, short of a couple of pound coins or perhaps one of your house keys.

READ: The Early Adopter's Guide To Fashion & Style In 2019

The strap is so tiny that the wearer has to hold it with one finger; it’s more like a very practical ring than a capacious tote. It’s not yet clear if the bag will be commercially available and if so, how much it will cost — a regular-sized Le Chiquito (10cm by 8cm — still smaller than an iPhone), retails at £380 ($735 NZD); Rihanna and Kendall Jenner are fans.

Whether anyone will actually carry one or not, the micro-mini bag raises a question: is the handbag obsolete? When I turned up to a fashion show without a bag last week, some of my colleagues were horrified. “But where is all your STUFF?,” they cried. My answer? My pockets.

Admittedly, I am, like many women in 2019, not one for much stuff. I don’t reapply make-up or brush my hair throughout the day: once I’m out the door, I’m ready for the long haul. I pay for everything using Apple Pay on my iPhone, which also houses all of my music, reading material and work, and is usually in my hand anyway. So long as I have decent-sized pockets, I can do without carrying a bag at all.

Men have been doing it for forever, so why not women?

READ: The Rise of The Luxury T-Shirt

The rise of dresses with pockets — see Gemma Chan in Valentino and Olivia Colman in Prada at the Oscars — has seen many women eschew the use of traditional handbags completely, even for the most clutch-worthy occasions. But for everyday, when you might need a little extra space for bits and bobs, many designers have come up with natty solutions so you can stay sac free. At Milan Fashion Week, for example, Miuccia Prada showed combat boots with zipped pouches attached (ankle packs) while Louis Vuitton’s £885 ($1715 NZD) monogrammed lipstick case on a chain, which can be worn around the neck, launched last month.

It’s not necessarily the most practical thing in the world, but Le Mini Chiquito was certainly a genius stroke in marketing. Social media was quickly awash with affectionate jokes about its diminutive size, and paper versions (included with invitations to the show) placed in the palms of hands for scale went viral. However, as a master of proportion (his waist-length straw hats were the talk of last summer), Porte Jacquemus also showed bags at the opposite end of the scale, including a tote so large that the model could probably have got inside it, and puffer-style bum bags with four compartments that looked a little like (very chic) saddlebags on a heavily laden (very beautiful) donkey.

READ: How Getting Dressed Up Got Its Mojo Back

That said, the fact that the latter could also be folded up and carried over the arm shows that while this 29-year-old knows how to whip up a storm with a gimmick, he also knows that, unlike me, many women do still want to invest in a not-too-big-but-not-too-small bag; his slimline leather totes in block colours also ticked this box beautifully.

The handbag might not be dead yet, but now that I’ve found the freedom of a bag-free life, I’ll be sticking to my pockets.

— The Daily Telegraph

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