The Dior Saddle Bag, the Fendi Baguette, the Gucci Jackie, the Prada Re-Edition, the Celine Sulky, the list goes on. It’s no secret that archival revivals have been one of the biggest, if not the hottest, bag trends of the last few seasons and this movement can be tied back to the vintage fashion and 90s trend boom. Given the jump in popularity of shopping the secondary market for vintage or pre-loved styles, designer brands (most of whom do not have a stake in resale) smartly chose to re-introduce vintage styles as a way to take advantage of the trend. From both a consumer and a business standpoint it makes sense—the demand for particular styles of the past has dramatically increased and, being that the styles are vintage, the supply is low. By re-creating these styles, brands are not only able to please trend-hungry consumers, but they’re also able to capitalize in a way that they would otherwise be unable to, due to lack of control over their aftermarkets.
The trend shows no signs of slowing as more and more designers dig into their archives for inspiration, finding ways, both obvious and not-so-obvious, to tap into the nostalgia movement. But what does this mean for consumers who are craving newnesses and something never before seen? Those handbag lovers have turned to Daniel Lee’s work at Bottega Veneta, whose innovative designs and unique perspectives are impossible to ignore. It has also helped contemporary brands continue to experience success with fresh bag designs. While there’s certainly a case for both sides and a place for both innovation and nostalgia in a handbag lover’s closet, gone are the days when most things felt fresh. Has fashion exhausted its innovation?
The question is a complex one to answer and unpack, but as Gucci just recently followed in the footsteps of Stella McCartney and Burberry, partnering with the Real Real to help resell their own goods, and more brands follow suit, it will be interesting to see where the vintage-inspired trend goes. As designers gain a piece of the secondary market pie, they’ll no longer need to produce re-edition bags in order to capitalize on trends of the past. It’s possible that, by having a hand in the resale market, designers would once again be able to focus on newness and innovation, rather than keeping their focus solely on missing out on sales dollars from archival designs.
Personally, I’m happy to ride the wave of nostalgia for the time being and I’m enjoying the revival of styles that were before my time, but I’m also excited and intrigued to see what the future of the handbag world looks like when the focus on bringing back the old dies down.