The Big Softy

Hugging your bag into your chest, or snuggling it under your arm like a soft toy, is now very much on trend. Generally handle-free, these bags take the form of oversized pouches, held in the hand as if clutching onto for dear life. We were already well-versed in "cocoon" clothing, with its protective, reassuring feel; now come the "comforter" accessories to make an outfit a whole. In response to the cosy layering à la Balenciaga by Demna Gvasalia, something of a comfort blanket in troubled times, we now have the soft and cuddly bag. At a time when nothing is private, when everything is shared and exposed, clothing and accessories have become sacred places that we're increasingly reluctant to share.


These bags, preferably spacious, are as soft and silky as can be, signalling a need for softness in our lives. Maison Margiela launched the trend with its “Glam Slam” design, half-pillow, half-cloud, bringing a dreamy, surrealist feel. It's a nod to the approach of Martin Margiela who, in the nineties, would dig around at the flea market and transform what he could find. In extremely flexible leather with curved, rounded edges, the quilting bulks out the bag, for a protective piece that is carried in the hand like the travelling companion we all need. At Lemaire, the “Croissant” bag, whose name describes the shape to a T, is also very cosy. It is worn with a strap, completely blending into the silhouette.

Bottega Veneta, Spring/Summer 2020

This season's must-have is "The Pouch" bag by Bottega Veneta, designed by artistic director Daniel Lee whose star continues to rise. It’s an oversized pouch in incredibly soft and smooth calfskin that you can take with you wherever you go, almost like protective armour. "The Pouch" has clearly been emulated: at Mansur Gavriel, there is the “Cloud Clutch” - imagined as a puffy oversized wallet without a clasp, while at Maryam Nassir Zadeh, a bag is transformed into a soft and cosy ball that is tightened to close it; there's a spacious pouch at Loewe, as well, in very fine leather with light, floaty lines.


There’s no doubt about it, bags are no longer paraded like the "it-bag trophy" of seasons past; instead they are an accessory that you choose for yourself, and one you want to keep close. They're comfort blankets, sometimes almost regressive - in the shape of a pillow or a crescent - but always reassuring. At a time when dystopia is everywhere, and an apocalyptic atmosphere invades the catwalks, these soft and cosy accessories remind us that fashion can also have a protective, even consoling effect.




Dion Lee, Spring/Summer 2020
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