Even if you’re not headed back to school—if the only classroom you enter is the one in your anxiety dreams—backpacks are back in a big way this fall. But these aren’t the JanSports of yore. Consider the current styles graduates of a master class in cool. Sophisticated, sleek and practical, there’s nothing schoolgirlish about these accessories. Some of the best fashion talent in the game have designed rucksacks that will make your handheld bags look downright grannyish. For travelers and commuters, the style makes a lot of sense, too—just remember to flip it around to wear in front when on the train, subway or bus.
Here are 10 of our favorite backpacks to slip on this season.
rag & bone Pilot leather backpack
This style’s clean lines and pebbled leather make it a classic. Small enough to leave you unencumbered but roomy enough for everything you need to tote, the Pilot will fast become your primary purse substitute. The design also comes in a mini version, as well as a soft woven suede.
IT’S IN THE BAG: READ MORE
Some people are just more pleasant to speak to, it’s true. After a recent conversation with the Paris-based fashion designer Jérôme Dreyfuss, several reasons for this were clear. For one, the thoughtfully cheerful Dreyfuss exhibits interest in a variety of topics. Secondly, his passion seems sincere. And he doesn’t take himself or fashion too seriously, which isn’t to say that he approaches his craft lightly.
Known predominantly for his luxurious handbags that project personality, Dreyfuss has a reputation for being a bit of a rebel. He worked with John Galliano in the early part of his career and has since cut a streak across the industry both for his unique designs (his fall-winter collection includes bags made of deer and goatskin leather; some come with interior flashlights for finding your keys or phone at night) and his wildly artistic methods for presenting them.
Read on for our chat, which covered architecture, Le Marais, what “cool” really is and why fashion snobbishness is out of style.
ENCORE: READ MORE AND SEE INSIDE HIS SHOWROOM
Strapped to the side of some of Fashion Week’s most fashionable ladies were assorted oddball accessories. Although their luxe handbags needed no frippery, many chose to outfit them with a little bauble. After all, these are women who don’t miss an opportunity to dress up. And these trinkets aren’t without their charms.
Bag charms have become a popular statement for the fashion set. Spotted on models like Lara Stone and Kendall Jenner, these playful accessories for accessories let wearers add some personality to their purses.
Many of these bag charms take the shape of furry characters. Fendi has a Pompom Karl, a miniature Karl Lagerfeld doll ensconced in a fluffy tuft. British designer Sophie Hulme‘s quirky bag charms have become collectibles among those into the trend. You’ll find furry, feathered, tasseled and jeweled characters among her menagerie of creations. Burberry has a high-style teddy bear charm. Many designers, like Rebecca Minkoff and Stella McCartney, make tiny versions of their own handbags into charms, as though your purse seems naked without its own purse.
SEE MORE AND SHOP OUR BAG CHARM SLIDESHOW
It goes with you everywhere: errands, outings, meetings, appointments. You put everything you’ve got into it. If you were to lose it you would be, well, screwed.
A gal’s relationship with her handbag is a pretty dependent one. And finding the bag that’s right for you leads to a future of well-cordinated organization, i.e., bliss. To aid in your annual accessories update, we’ve selected some of the best new purses for several personalities. Find the one below that you most identify with, then follow our suggestions to discover your handbag mate.
YOUR PERFECT PURSE IS IN THE BAG: READ MORE
Writer and director Charlie Kaufman’s (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) stop-motion movie is mundane in its magnificence. Kaufman’s story follows claymation characters as they navigate the banality of an existence like any other. But the lilt of Kaufman’s questioning is touchingly met in his manufactured puppet men and women.
COLOR: “The Radical History of 1960s Adult Coloring Books” by Laura Marsh
Writer Laura Marsh traces the not-new trend of adult coloring books to their subversive ’60s counterparts. Read her piece in the New Republic, then join the revolution with an adult coloring book of your own.
HEAR: “Shakin” by Timbaland featuring Aaliyah
Part of Timbaland’s mixtape King Stays King, “Shakin” features the honeyed vocals of the ’90s pop icon Aaliyah. The R&B chanteuse tragically died in a plane crash 14 years ago, but the world was drawn back into her soulful snare this week with the hook on this catchy track.
RESOLVE TO HAVE MORE FUN: READ MORE
A short list of the icons of fashion and style who’ve had a handbag named in their honor: Jane Birken, Brigitte Bardot, Alexa Chung, Jessica Stam, Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Princess Di, Lana Del Rey and …
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By the time you read this, Rebecca Minkoff will be in the Bahamas. While we’re sure you won’t begrudge the beloved designer her beach break, please know that her time off is extra well-deserved; among lots of other things, she just visited our Seattle flagship where we talked to her about Nordstrom’s brand-new rollout of her jewelry and ready-to-wear collections.
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Our Director of Creative Projects and Pop-In Shop Curator Olivia Kim offers up daily inspiration, favorite products and things she’s super in love with right now.
“I met Pinky on the street in New York. Her owner makes vegan handbags (and uses non-toxic, semi-permanent doggy dye gel for those pink ears).”
After nailing the art of killer kicks (what city girl doesn’t drool over a pair of Loeffler Randall heels?), Loeffler Randall’s savvy creative director, Jessie Randall, branched out in 2012 with a heart-fluttering lineup of must-buy bags. Loeffler addicts everywhere suddenly had to make room in their closets (and budgets) for another fixation. Of course, no one’s been complaining—Loeffler Randall’s distinctive handbags are gob-smackingly chic, but also lie on the affordable end of the designer handbag spectrum with clutches starting at $295.
We recently asked Jessie Randall to dish a little on her brand and the Mini Rider Crossbody we’re featuring in our ‘It’ Bags for the Street Set campaign this month.
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Meet the perfect new way to show off your taste in style: the Rebecca Minkoff ‘Mini M.A.C.’, in color combos that you’ll only find at Nordstrom.