Do a quick search of the hashtag #PradaCleo on Instagram and you’ll be greeted by over 1,000 posts in black or white, each featuring a fashion influencer or celebrity armed with the same chic pared-down leather hobo bag.
The women might differ in style (they range from the sexy, often street-wear-clad Korean rapper Hwasa to the always ladylike Chinese actress Fan Bingbing to our very own chameleonic street style heroines Mae Tan and Yoyo Cao). Whatever they’re wearing though, the said bag – christened the Cleo – is most often carried over the shoulder or in the crook of the arm using its short leather strap and always matches effortlessly.
While its feminine shape evokes the kind of elegance better associated with a bygone era, its sleek, streamlined curves and minimalist finish – there are no decorative details save for Prada’s triangular emblem – lends a futuristic edge.
The Cleo was the star bag during the Multiple Views Spring/Summer 2021 show.
Debuted during Prada’s Multiple Views Spring/Summer 2021 show in July, the Cleo hit boutiques here last month and in fact draws inspiration from a ’90s design, continuing the house’s clever revival of archival treasures. Cue its Re-Edition line of nylon bags, a remake of styles from the 2000s.
If Re-Edition brings back the cool utilitarianism that first made Miuccia Prada famous in the ’80s, the Cleo is a reminder of another one of her signature moves that cemented her iconoclastic status in the ’90s: the appropriation and deconstruction of symbols of bourgeois taste.
The Cleo gets an air of noir elegance in a campaign lensed by Steven Meisel.
The Cleo’s clean, modernist curves are achieved the traditional way (the brand’s been a leather goods specialist since 1913 after all): Artisans mould smooth brushed calfskin over custom lasts. With soft, sloping sides and a contoured base, the lightweight bag is essentially engineered to hug the body when worn (which might explain why it looks so effortless on every one).
Scroll below for a closer look at this new hit bag, which is available with or without a flap (the former is slightly smaller) and – true to its cool yet timeless nature – in all-over black, white and aqua. And if you see what you like, click here to shop for it from the brand’s newly launched e-commerce service in Singapore.
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