fabulous bags

“I Wore Something Similar When Ian First Saw Me:” Mulberry Bags in Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream


When I first started blogging, in 2003, the it bag frenzy was reaching its peak. I’ve never been a big spender, but in those years I put together a remarkable collection of Balenciaga (5), Vuitton (2), Mulberry (1), Chloé (1) and Céline (1) bags. The budding trend of fashion blogs and celebrity style blogs was on fire: celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, Mischa Barton and Sienna Miller became trend setters and everybody lusted over their amazing bag collections. In recent years it bags have been replaced by shoes and other accessories, but I’m an old-fashioned girl, so I must admit my heart still misses a beat when I see a beautiful bag. I haven’t bought an expensive bag for a while, but it’s always nice to spot them on a celebrity or – even better – in a movie.

It’s not the first time I’ve written about bags in Woody Allen’s movies, for example, but this is surely a post I didn’t expect to write. Two days ago I watched Cassandra’s Dream for the first time and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted two Mulberry bags. Allen put a Mulberry Roxanne bag on Scarlett Johansson’s shoulder in Match Point in 2005. Two years later, other two lovely bags by the British brand made their appearance in what is possibly the most pessimistic Allen movie.

mulberrybrookeThe first is a shoulder bag with chain strap that Terry (Colin Farrell) gives his fiancée Kate (Sally Hawkins). He works in a garage as a mechanic but he’s a gambler, too, so he gives the girl this expensive bag with the money earned at a poker table. Kate works but she could never afford the bag, so she’s surprised and super-happy to receive it. This bag is symbolic, since it represents the tangible result of Terry’s double life and vice, but it’s also a status symbol for the girl.
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“But If I’m Not the Same, The Next Question Is ‘Who In the World Am I?'”: Chanel Bags in Alice by Woody Allen


I’ve always been a cinema addicted since I was a teenager: I love going to the cinema (especially alone [1]) and I adore watching some of my favourite movies again and again. This is the case of Alice by Woody Allen, a film released on December 25th, 1990, quite an unusual Christmas film, but fascinating nonetheless. Alice is part of the top three of my favourite Allen movies, along with Another Woman and Crimes and Misdemeanours. I’ve always been intrigued by the sharp world of contrasts it introduces and by the many similarities it has with Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (the name of the protagonist – and the title – is not coincidental).

Alice Tate (Mia Farrow) is the epitome of the Upper East Side princess: she’s married to a very wealthy and handsome man (who betrays her); she’s got two adorable children; she spends her days shopping at luxury stores and getting expensive haircuts and beauty treatments. Despite this apparently perfect life, she’s unhappy: she feels passion and dedication are missing in her life, and she’s tortured by an annoying backache she doesn’t know how to heal. Two encounters – one with Joe (Joe Mantegna), a saxophonist she meets at her children’s posh school; the other with Dr. Yang (Keye Luke), a Chinese doctor who gives her “magic” herbs  – completely change her life. She’s stronger than what she looks like and is eventually able to turn her life around thanks to no one but herself.

In most of the movie she spends her rich life (the metamorphosis happens in the very end of the movie, reported by her former friends as a piece of gossip) and wears expensive clothes: she sports outfits in primary colours – white, black and red – symbolizing a world of inner contrasts (she would like to betray her husband with Joe, but her Christian upbringing makes her feel guilty), with a fiery touch of that passion she is longing for. She usually wears cardigans or sweaters with below-the-knee pencil skirts or plaid skirts, but the recurring details of her style are a long mink coat, velvet headbands and Chanel bags. I’ve always been obsessed by her Chanel obsession: these bags are the ultimate detail of her look. They speak of refinement, luxury, a prim-and-proper attitude to fashion which her sister Dorothy (Blythe Danner) considers shallow.

Here she is in one of the opening scenes, while doing shopping at the Krizia boutique in Fifth Avenue. One of her first appearances on screen presents her social persona, contrasting – in style, at least  – with her private one. She’s wearing her trademark long mink coat, low-heeled shoes, her trusty black velvet headband (totally reminiscent of the ones that Hillary Clinton sported in the early 90s) and a quilted bag on a chain, a Chanel bag. She sports two different styles in the movie, but there are more Chanel sightings to take note of.
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The Artist’s Job Is to Find an Antidote for the Emptiness of Existence: French Luxury Bags in Midnight in Paris and Some Time-Travelling


In the mid 9o I was lucky enough to attend a course of cinema history at university: it was about Woody Allen. I had rarely watched his movies before, but I had the chance to make up for that: we watched ALL his movies [1], from Take the Money and Run (1969) to Mighty Aphrodite (1995). I fell in love with some of his works (I’m particularly fond of the late 70s-80s period), so I’m always excited when a new Allen movie comes out. I must admit I have never watched most of the movies he directed in 2000s, but I want to see them all, sooner or later.

His latest work – Midnight in Paris – was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2011, and has quickly become very successful: the magical setting, the all-star cast, the incredible time travel are elements which have a great appeal on the audience. I’m a hopeless nostalgic and I’ve got a passion for Anglo-American literature, so you can imagine the impression it made on me. I watched the movie in complete awe, also thanks to the impressive eye candy that Allen provided to designer bag lovers like me.

Three of the main characters – Inez (Rachel McAdams), her mother Helen (Mimi Kennedy) and her friend Carol (Nina Arianda) – sport great bags and luggage by French luxury labels. Though different from each other, they are symbols of American upper class – active, rich, refined, understated, focused on money, “exotic” purchases and activities; pragmatic women who clearly don’t understand the importance of dreaming and dismiss it as madness or a waste of time and energies.

Inez is the soon-to-be bride of the protagonist, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson). She’s the classic American beauty: she has a simple yet refined style, which includes expensive statement bags. The first bag she sports in the opening scene is a Chanel piece – a chain strap tote from the spring 2010 collection.

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Nicole Richie’s Obsession for Chanel


Even if I’ve never fully understood the media’s obsession with celebrities, I must admit it’s funny to identify what they are wearing. The web is packed with sites devoted to this, and I gave my contribution to this craze, being – for some years – the main contributor of Star Style. For a meticulous person like me, identifying as many items as possible of an outfit was really addictive (which is the reason why, at a certain point, I decided to quit). Now I’m not a contributor, but this doesn’t mean I don’t like it anymore: besides writing about Christina Aguilera and Lily Van der Woodsen‘s styles, I sometimes like focusing on a particular feature of a celebrity’s style, as this post shows.

The evolution of Nicole Richie’s style sounds like the story of Cinderella. When she first became famous as Paris Hilton’s best friend, she definitely had some problems with her style (and her hair), but a fairy godmother (Rachel Zoe) soon turned her into the stick-thin icon of boho-chic style, thus sparking rumors about possible eating disorders she may have suffered with. Her first pregnancy (in 2007) and the wise decision to ditch Zoe meant she was ready to fly with her own wings, as her jewelry and clothing lines (House of Harlow 1960 and Winter Kate) have demonstrated. I’ve started to admire her style since she was pregnant with Harlow: she was born a couple of months before my daughter, so her style during those nine months inspired me a lot. She usually sports very simple outfits, which include basic clothes in primary or neutral colours (lots of black and white, dark green or brown) and amazing accessories. Among those, her astonishing collection of Chanel has always left me speechless: most of the vintage pieces come from her mother’s closet, but others come from more recent collections.

Would you like to take a ride through the massive number of Chanel bags she owns? In a recent interview with Lucky, she has declared she owns at least 30 Chanel bags. I’ve found 16 of them, here they are [1].

1. A timeless piece: the Jumbo size of the classic 2.55 flap bag in red. It’s the perfect pop of colour for any outfit, but it looks great with black and white (in this picture, Nicole – who was pregnant with her son Sparrow – was wearing a simple tank and black overalls).
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Hermès Takes My Inner Nerd Out of Her Shell


I love having some habits when it comes to my blog. No, I’m not referring to recurring themes only. I’m talking of the “rule” of writing about current collections, since I like living and writing according to the current season. I know a fashion blog should always be updated, should always report the currents trends, and possibly anticipate them, but you know I’m a fashion nerd, who prefers the past: in my mind, the future is what comes next, not something which is happening now. I usually respect this rule, but this post is an exception: when I last wrote about Hermès A/I 2010 collection, I couldn’t help but peeking at the S/S 2011 show. I loved it so much, that I decided to write about it now, even if it’s autumn and summer is just a promise for the future.

The Kelly bag, in different sizes, colours and materials, was again the queen of the catwalk. I guess it’s Jean-Paul Gaultier’s favourite Hermès bag style, so he probably wanted to pay homage to such a classic accessory before leaving the creative direction of the Parisian maison. I would never buy a Kelly bag made of wicker, but it’s a funny variation, perfect in summertime.
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Something Hermès This Way Comes


Have you ever experienced the inability to relax? You desperately want to chill out and think of nothing, but your mind doesn’t agree, and keeps on working. I experience this all the time, probably because I am used to doing different things at the same time, so stopping is very hard. In particular, what I would like to stop doing is establishing connections among things. I sometimes feel like John Nash (hey, I’m not a genius, but I hope you’ve got what I mean): I am not dealing with numbers, but with images.

When I first saw the fall/winter 2010 advertising campaign by Hermès, my mind soon started spinning, activated by a mood screaming Victorian London. I don’t know where the shooting by Paolo Roversi was set, but the foggy atmosphere pervading all the pictures surely pays homage to one of my favourite historical periods.

The horse-car without a coachman, riding the paved streets of a lonely town, is a mysterious image filled with charm: I am sure many of you are wondering about the content of that load of Orange potiron boxes, just like I did. This fascinating image has lead to two possible sources, movies set in London during the Victorian Age, that is in the second half of the 19th century.
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Christina Aguilera’s Style: Out in Hollywood, 19/12/09


Just a few days ago I was quietly complaining about Christina’s apparent disappearance from the social scene; then new candids have surfaced and my crave for new outfits has calmed. She was spotted arriving at Cecconi’s restaurant in West Hollywood, where she celebrated her 29th birthday with her husband Jordan. I’ve already expressed my appreciation for her new hairstyle, she looks lovely with this side-parted short bob.

The first two things that have immediately caught my attention are the amazing silver over-the-knee boots and the Union Jack box clutch, peculiar accessories she wore to complete what looks like an all-black outfit. Unfortunately it is still unknown what she wore under the double-breasted coat – something very short, for sure – but in any case she looked gorgeous.

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Crystals are a Girl’s Best Friend


Lorelei Lee, the adorable character played by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Howard Hawks (1953), had an obsession for diamond jewellery and she was lucky enough to marry a her very rich fiancè, who surely fostered this passion. Nowadays girls still love diamonds, but sometimes they can also be pleased by equally glittering and precious objects, Judith Leiber‘s amazing crystal minaudieres. The brand, founded by the Hungarian Leiber in 1963, means incomparable quality and craftsmanship, because all the pieces are hand-crafted and decorated by Swarovski crystals.

Generations of American ladies (and First Ladies) have carried these minaudieres since the launch of the brand, but Leiber became really famous thanks to Sex and the City and its costume designer, Patricia Field. I cannot count all the trends launched by the iconic tv show (just think of Fendi Baguette and Hermès Birkin bags, Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik shoes, nameplate necklaces, flower corsages and leather opera gloves), but the unique style of its characters is still lingering everywhere. For this reason, anytime I spot a celebrity carrying a Leiber clutch, Carrie’s swan-shaped bag comes to my mind.

I am referring to The Caste System, the tenth episode of the second season, where Mr Big gives Carrie what he thinks is the it bag par excellence, a Leiber animal-shaped clutch.

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Carrie is literally puzzled by this present (and so we are),but she fakes a smile for him, doesn’t know what to say about the bag and says she loves him instead.

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Christina Aguilera’s Style: Love for Balenciaga


Funny how fast fashion builds and destroys its myths. Do you remember the Balenciaga Motorcycle bag collection craze in 2005/2006? ANY celebrity sported one (or more) of those gorgeous colourful bags, Nicole Richie, Nicky Hilton and Lindsay Lohan being the ones who heaped B bags in their closets. Nicole Richie still uses her trusty black City bag, but all the others have turned to other designer bags. It’s a pity, because I can honestly say Balenciaga bags are among the best out there [1], but I am sure they’ll soon become trendy again.

One celebrity who still loves Balenciaga and has a very nice collection of B bags is Christina Aguilera. She started carrying them in 2005 and since then she hasn’t stopped yet. What I love about her collection is that she usually chooses special pieces, bags I’ve never seen on anybody else. Her style is often casual, but B bags are extremely versatile, perfect with almost any outfit.

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In 2005 she carried her first Balenciaga, a white First bag. I don’t like this style very much: it’s not roomy enough, in my opinion. Her outfit is very informal – cropped jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, big sunglasses, a red cap and Havaianas Heart pink flip-flops.

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From the Valley to the Upper East Side: Kelly Rutherford’s Obsession for Hermès


It’s a hot hot summer in New York: the cast of Gossip Girl is back at filming the third series of the show, and the Net goes crazy for Blair and Serena’s outfits. I haven’t been able to spot a pic of Kelly Rutherford on the set, probably because she has just had her second baby (Helena Grace) and is not ready to go back to work yet. In any case, though looking forward to having her back in action, I’d like to speak in depth about what seems to be a true obsession for her – Hermès bags and accessories. I have already noted she named her first son after the French maison, but now I can honestly say she’s a Hermès collector [1].

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The most classic Hermès bag is the Kelly, named after Princess Grace of Monaco, a timeless example of luxury. Kelly owns two Kelly bags, one of which is black, made of Barenia leather, with gold hardware. Kelly has been using it since 2005. From the pics above, it is clear the bag is perfect with a formal/cocktail dress.

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