Radley x Jonathan Saunders, £169
Radley x Jonathan Saunders, £169

Swirling prints and graffiti patterns: How to wear this season's best bags

Stripes and checks, tessellated or pixelated – graphic patterns, of all shapes, sizes and guises, have swamped accessories to become the must-have story of spring/summer 2016, says Sarah Young

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Tuesday 24 May 2016 10:40
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This season’s must-have accessories are bright, bold and hard to miss providing a heavy dose of wow factor to your wardrobe; from satchels to backpacks and everything in between, the style is inconsequential; what’s important here is the print.

A print bag seems a tough sell – less serviceable than black, navy or brown, and easier to get wrong than a sharp colourful bright. Plus, what if the patterns clash, or crash? The spring/summer catwalks were the most succinct and seductive argument – the season’s best bags were decidedly simple in form. Instead, it was the mix of bold textures and motifs that commanded attention. An all-encompassing line-up of designers opted for hard-hitting handbag proposals, allowing punchy accessories to take centre stage.

Part of Louis Vuitton's spring summer collection

Quite naturally, luggage aficionado Louis Vuitton lead the way – the monogram motif (a pattern in itself) was present, but this season it took a back seat in favour of embossed chain patterns with relief finishes, hologram-inspired lurid spray paint blotches, or swirling prints based on palm fronds or Hockney-ish blue pools. Marc Jacobs scribbled graffiti patterns or stamped sequin designs in stars and stripes of checkerboards across his accessories; meanwhile, over at Stella McCartney and Kenzo, bold baggage was taken quite literally with a primary colour palette of cobalt blue, yellow and heady reds. Their motif of choice? Stripes, though Stella built in seasonal tide with picnic blanket bucket bags swathed in gingham.

The high street have cottoned on to designers’ fixtations, giving us the chance to perk up our spring wardrobe with some serious colourful clout. Casting a bag as the leading protagonist in your outfit may seem unnerving at first, especially for those of us who cling to the safety of an all-black go-to, but it’s really quite simple. At its easiest, invert: wear black head to toe as a foil for a punchy handbag. But it’s important to let this trend take you out of your comfort zone so don’t be afraid to go big and bold; accessories can really set the tone of your entire get-up. If you’re still not convinced then ease in with modest stripes but for those of you who live on the wild side it’s time to get matchy-matchy; try opting for a bag that mimics the print in your outfit so be it gingham, pinstripes or florals make sure your bag follows suit.

While graphic bags are surely having a fashion moment circa right now, you will be glad to have invested in such an identifiable item for season’s to come. Ensure the shape is a classic and there’ll be plenty of wear guaranteed, provided you don’t mind being the centre of attention. This is after all, a trend that defies to go by unnoticed and neither will you.

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