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 In recent years it bags have been replaced by shoes and other accessories, but I’m an old-fashioned girl, so I must admit my heart still misses a beat when I see a beautiful bag.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.
The 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.
Later in the movie, the bag appears again on Kate’s shoulder, when Terry and she go to see a bigger flat to move in together. In the screencaps above the side pockets are visible. This is a Brooke bag, which features a front flap with buckles and two small side pockets closed by buckles. The detachable chain strap is a stylish detail. The bag seen on Kate is made of slightly metallic warm brown leather, a beautiful colour. Kate’s style is very casual, but we can assume she starts wearing the bag all the time, as an accessory which is able to turn her style around.
The other female character who owns a Mulberry bag is Angela Stark (Hayley Atwell), a theatre actress Ian (Ewan McGregor) falls in love with.
We first spot the bag on her arm while she’s leaving the theatre she’s working at. It’s a brown bag with a duffel-like shape which beautifully complements her simple yet refined style. This is an element which distinguishes her from Kate: she’s sophisticated, popular and self-centred. She’s very attractive and she knows that; she uses her beauty and confidence for her work, too. The effect of seeing an expensive bag on her is not as striking as with Kate: Angela is from a different world, so the bag looks natural on her, not as symbolic as it is for Kate.
We get a better look at the bag when Angela and Ian meet her parents at a train station. The Emmy bag is a very stylish bag, a quite popular bag back in the late 2000s (it was spotted on Kate Moss). It has a buckled front flap, a front pocket and two smaller side pockets; the double straps are detachable. The fact that Angela’s bag style was more popular than Kate’s is not a coincidence, because this mirrors the social positions of the two girls. At the same time, I don’t think it’s a coincidence the fact that both owned a bag by the same brand. Although very different, they have several things in common: they are dating two men who are brothers and who love them a lot; they have great plans for their future (Angela wants to become a famous actress and possibly move to Hollywood, while Kate wants a simple married life with Terry), which will be crushed by the incredibly dramatic turn of the events. The movie ends with a family tragedy which occurs while the girls are shopping together: Kate has got a nice shirt in her hands and Angela comments she wore something similar when Ian first met her (hence the title of this post). Another (unwanted, this time) coincidence is that Mulberry bags in Woody Allen films are always connected to tragedies – think of Nola Rice, Scarlett Johansson’s role in Match Point.
After the lustworthy Chanel bags seen in Alice and the designer bag binge we were given in Midnight in Paris, now I’m looking forward to watching Blue Jasmine to feast my eyes on the fabulous wardrobe of the protagonist. Who knew Woody Allen films were filled with so much eye candy?