Thursday, October 13, 2016

My wonderful new bag, an escapist post

A little while back, I saw a handbag - the handbag - on a Japanese Instagram account. It was Hervé Chapelier, a brand popular with private school girls on Upper East Side circa 1998, and a look I'd always sort of associated with 15-year-old girls dressed like grown women, but in a preppy way. But! The bag was camouflage. Camouflage in very much the same pattern as a skirt I had, in either middle or high school, from a punk store, I think. A kilt, with a pin, but camouflage. I loved that skirt. Somehow this all came together and... perfection. Also hundreds of dollars. Also readily available in Japan (where the brand appears to still be a thing) but nowhere more convenient.

Then I had the brilliant insight that such bags exist elsewhere. And sure enough! The L.L. Bean version, with zipper, was $39 with free shipping. Technically a hunting bag, but apparently also useful for "dog training," in which case, very practical! The bag arrived today. Looking at it, and one of the other Chapelier varieties online, I'm wondering whether the high-end version wasn't inspired by the less-so. Or vice versa because clearly the $39-and-available version would win out. The lining looks identical, which suggests some influence in some direction.

At any rate, I know exactly how to style it because of this thing called Instagram. Conveniently, what it goes best with are striped shirts, jeans, and sneakers or ballet flats. Probably also white Birkenstocks. Basically everything I own. And in an unanticipated actually-practical plus, it fits my computer.

No, this is not an ad; I'm not angling for any further tote bags. This one, however, is fantastic.

1 comment:

Glove Slap said...

What was the Instagram account where you saw the bag?

I was wondering what happened to Chapelier bags-- why so hard to get?

In the late 90's - early 00's I took a family trip to Paris (a dream come true for my working-class family) and made a beeline for the Chapelier shop. I'd seen the bags carried by visitors to MoMA, where I worked as a ticket seller, and, too cool to ask their owners where they came from, I peered and scrutinized until I managed to read the little green tag.

My bag was pale blue with a chocolate-brown bottom and top-- such a popular color combo then. (After a few days in Paris, my family visited Venice, where I bought a Missoni scarf to coordinate with the bag!) My Mom one-upped me by buying a pair of leopard-print Chapeliers, one large and one small, which she would carry together! What an idea!

Though the shape of the Chapelier is its charm, you're surely better off with the Bean bag. My Chapelier was awkward to use, had only one little pocket, and was not sturdy. It's long gone, but a sweet memory... now, the Missoni scarf, I literally wore just yesterday! And I smile every time I think what I paid for it at the favorable exchange rate back then! :-D