Basket bags will always be a summer staple, but a handful of notable designers have decided to offer alternatives to the ubiquitous style. For summer 2020, the woven bag trend is poised to replace traditional baskets. The fresh take on laid back, beach-to-farmers-market accessorizing promises the same styling versatility, just through a new lens. Where basket bags of summers past have boasted cute, structured shapes, these open-weave totes exude a more laissez-faire attitude that screams "I just came from the beach" even if the only change of scenery you've enjoyed in the past month has been a visit to the local grocery store. That's not to say they are boring. Details like knotting, crochet and fringe provide artisanal flair. The roomier tote silhouettes may not boast (finicky) picnic-tops or (uncomfortable) structured handles like the baskets of yore, but you won't miss those features once you see the saturated hues and thoughtful designs on offer.
Take the versions shown by Joseph Altuzarra for Spring/Summer 2020. He reinvented his iconic Espadrille Tote, launched in 2017, in vibrant raffias of Kelly green, turquoise blue, and citron yellow. Speaking over email, Altuzarra shares what inspired his design. "It evokes the same feeling a basket would, but in a different, more modern way, in part because it's taking a humble material, like raffia, and turning into something exciting and worked." Beyond providing newness, he also points out that another alluring merit of the wider weave is simply that it functions differently. "I think what makes it feel more fresh than the basket style is the softness of the material. It's collapsible, and when you carry it, it is light and malleable."
At Miu Miu, Miuccia Prada juxtaposed a medium and wide gauge weave to add character to a shrunken top-handle tote. As part of her collection that celebrated home-hewn creativity of decades past, the tote was made from strips of leather knotted and wrapped together, but the finished bag feels decidedly modern and edgy. Meanwhile, at Valentino, classic natural raffia was woven into an exaggerated tote silhouette with short top handles. Thanks to its lining, this style is polished enough to wear to the office paired with a poplin shirt dress or fluid suiting. Prabal Gurung's slouchy version of an open-weave tote features intricate crochet and an exaggerated fringe trim. The ornate detail makes this a bag that can take even the most simple ensemble into head-turning territory, without giving the air of looking like you tried.
Whether you choose a simple iteration or one of the more elaborate styles, the beauty of these totes is their relaxed and unstudied appeal. Worn with a minimal ensemble, they can comfortably take the spotlight, but paired with a more maximalist look, they can easily play second fiddle.
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