“The people who shop for luxury products in Singapore are a largely practical bunch. What they usually end up getting is driven by price, function and FOMO (fear of missing out) – if everyone is carrying a particular bag, they want it too. Design also matters because people ultimately shop first with their eyes.
Through my years running Bagaholicboy.com, one of the questions I get most often from readers is whether I consider a design timeless – whether it offers longevity and will remain relevant beyond one season. And while nearly everyone seemed to have stopped shopping in March and April this year at the early stage of the pandemic, my readers have only reinforced what they were already prioritising pre-Covid-19 when they started shopping again.
Price matters more than ever – a bag that costs $2,000 is more attractive than one that costs $5,000 because it means the thrill of owning something new without burning as big a hole in one’s pocket. I’ve also noticed that my readers have been increasingly going for bags that are small and compact not only because we now tend to go out only for essentials and carry only essentials with us (card, sanitiser, cash – if you still use cash), but also because big bags might mean a larger surface area that could get contaminated by dirt and viruses.
The bag I’ve been asked about the most in recent months is Louis Vuitton’s Nano Speedy: It’s small (it measures 16cm by 12.5cm), compact and not so expensive (retail price: $1,560), fulfilling all three qualities I’ve said shoppers tend to look out for these days. It’s also a monogrammed style, which has remained popular because whatever the interpretation, it’s recognisable having been around for a long time (remember what I said about timelessness?).
Another style I’ve frequently been asked about is Chanel’s Mini Vanity case, which is like a baby version of the brand’s wildly covetable Vanity, measuring just 11cm by 8.5cm, and starts from $2,140. It helps that as part of the brand’s latest Metiers d’Art collection that hit stores in July, it’s been updated in supple yet hardy lambskin and boasts a slightly larger ring loop on the leather-interlaced chain strap, making it easier to slide it up and down to adjust the strap’s length. Function, I stress, is a major selling point.
Brands certainly seem to know how to appeal to customers. If you look at the Fall/Winter 2020 and Cruise 2021 collections, most of the key bags are updates of existing classics. Fashion houses seem to be going back to what sells. Take Gucci’s Jackie 1961 for example, which is Alessandro Michele’s Fall/Winter 2020 remake of the brand’s signature hobo bag that’s been around since the ’60s with cleaner lines; the option of smaller sizes; and finishes that include pretty, candy-coloured pastels.
It’s easier to tweak a classic in new colours and textures than to educate and persuade customers to appreciate a brand-new, never-before-seen style particularly at a challenging time like this. There’s a lot of comfort in familiarity. That said, scarce commodities such as rare Hermes models will always be snapped up no matter the times. People will always want things of perceived value.”
Above, our edit of the bags to consider.
Additional Coordination Imran Jalal
This article is adapted from a piece that originally appeared in the Sept 2020 Not-Your-Usual September Issue of FEMALE.