The Pillow Clutch Handbag Trend Has Quietly Taken Over Instagram
Since Daniel Lee’s Fall 2019 debut collection at Bottega Veneta, each season has brought a fresh crop of leather accessories that immediately become must-owns for fashion’s most influential dressers and leaders. The brand's crosshatch leather bags, nearly naked mesh sandals, and square-toe pumps tend to sell out almost immediately online. The brand has even spurred fan accounts like Instagram's @NewBottega. Bottega launched its pouch bag for pre-fall 2019, and after an incubation period, pillowy clutches are the handbag trend to try for spring. The evidence of its popularity and influence is everywhere.
Both The Pouch, and it’s more petite sister, The Pouch 20 are unmistakably leading the surge, but the puffy pieces with dumpling-like folds aren't the only comfy clutches on the market catching the eye of shoppers. "Customers cannot get enough of this trend from Bottega [Veneta], to [Maison] Margiela, to Balenciaga,” confirms Chutney Li, women's designer buyer at FWRD. Li is referencing similar puffy styles in past collections such as Margiela’s tufted, pillow-like Glam Slam bag that debuted in 2018 and Balenciaga’s plush quilted texture that's been applied to a range of handbags, clutches, or otherwise.
The unique appeal of The Pouch is clear — when perusing different iterations of the bags across several sites, such as FWRD and Net-a-Porter, The Pouch has continued to sell and be restocked — but not so simple to pinpoint from a styling perspective. As a category, clutches can be tricky — especially in winter, as they can't be easily slung cross-body or over a shoulder. But the more substantial silhouette does make it easier to tuck beneath your arm without risk of slipping. Plus, it's just plain cute. “I personally think this is a great twist on a modern classic,” adds Li of the design.
“The soft leather clutch resonated with both the Moda team and our customers,” Lisa Aiken, fashion and buying director at Moda Operandi, notes of Bottega's styles. She considers the brand “a powerhouse in the handbag space,” especially in this new chapter under Lee. Aiken herself has been spotted outside of fashion shows styling The Pouch with everything from breezy dresses to tailored jumpsuits, proving that the bag's appeal (and durability) hold up for ultra-picky industry insiders.
Another expert fan is Tiffany Hsu, fashion buying director of MyTheresa, who’s worn a bright blue iteration of Bottega's clutch with silky, romantic separates. And for stylist Pernille Teisbaek, the puffy leather piece makes for an easy part of an everyday uniform with jeans, a blazer, and boots.
But, as all trends grow and morph, keep an eye out for ultra-soft takes, as well as the crisper, Oragami-like iterations designers are adopting as a riff on the buzzy bag. For instance, the Khaite Envelope Pleat clutch, as seen on Tamu McPherson, is a more streamlined approach to the look. And the Volon Gabi clutch, seen on Aimee Song, offers a folded leather exterior and small top-handle detail. Suffice to say, the handheld approach to handbags is sure to continue to grow in ubiquity in the coming year. “Go ahead and buy a puffy clutch," advises Aiken, "I don't foresee this trend going away anytime soon.”
Peruse styles from Bottega Veneta and beyond, below.