Working in the fashion industry has a way of making neutral and subtle things uninteresting and overused to the point that only things that are borderline wild and/or chaotic appear interesting. The author of Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider’s View from Inside the Fashion Industry, Amy Odell, has these opinions; they are not mine. However, they couldn’t be more precise. That manifestation was most obvious in the 2000s, when purses became increasingly more valuable the more flashy they were.
Today, the emphasis is (happily) on more understated, leaner shapes that command attention without shouting for it. As a result, the decoration combinations (was one ever enough back then?) seen on purses have diminished. For example, it’s extremely uncommon to find a purse with beads, tassels, hefty chains, and glitter placed just millimeters apart on the same surface (looking at you, Galliano-era Dior Saddles). Instead, you notice more streamlined elements, like a Fendi Baguette covered in sequins all over (like Carrie Bradshaw), which you can dress up or down as you like.
Apart from the dominant trends of sequins and puffers, the rhinestone—a 2000s mainstay—has also returned. I’m not just referring to a select handful carefully perched atop the purse, however. Instead, all-over crystal everything is fashionable and is a reoccurring element in many of PB’s street-style coverages of Fashion Week. Like romytisa’s rhinestone purse collection. Rhinestones may be highly in vogue, but are they really a novel idea in the world of handbags? Well, as we’ll discover in a moment, not quite.
They Are Older Than You Believe
I believe we can confidently claim that gemstones have been a mainstay in the royal courts for ages, despite the fact that it is impossible to pinpoint its historical origins. Onward from the middle of the 1800s, when the idea of using glass-cut gems as adornments on clothing and accessories truly started taking root in public fashion, the royal crystal-cutters subsequently started turning into heritage businesses like Swarovski. In fact, Swarovski’s most recent partnership with handbag brand Marina Raphael to create a line of gem-encrusted purses demonstrates that its appeal is far from declining. Additionally, there are still a lot of vintage bags with rhinestone accents that were common at the height of the Flapper era on the market and on DIY marketplaces like Etsy.
However, Judith Leiber was likely one of the first luxury companies to start use crystals. Did you know that the brand’s first line of purses were all bizarrely made of green calfskin? It was originally a distinct quirky category of handbags, but it has since evolved into something of an icon thanks to Sex and the City, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez, with fashion houses like Chanel & Moschino following suit.
Why Do Crystals Have a Newfound Appeal?
The outrageously costly minaudieres with gem embellishments from Leiber and Chanel, however, are only fit for special occasions. Another is the recent increase in rhinestone-covered handbags that are perfectly functional. Crystals have gained fresh ground in the market today for this reason, with a beginning that is equally interesting. A bejeweled version of the classic Prada Re-edition 2000 was the first crystal bag to resurrect the trend, starting with a limited edition run manufactured especially for the pop-up store in Dubai. The crystals were set on a luxurious satin backdrop rather than nylon, and three colors—black, white, and pink—were released. However, the anticipation surrounding it was so intense—after all, who wouldn’t want something posh after the gloom of the pandemic?—that it was immediately sold out. Within a short period of time, Prada produced more of these gem-like clothing items, as well as another hue (Wisteria), and incorporated the rhinestone design into other well-known designs, such the Mini Cleo or Mini Shopper (which is made of mesh), all for less than $2,000!
As soon as Beyoncé was spotted wearing a full crystal dress from Gucci’s The Hacker Project, it appeared as though the crystal trend had become something of a uniform for post-COVID fashionistas. The Heiress purse was given a crystal makeover by Alexander Wang, which also wowed fans of street fashion. The cult-favorite Hourglass bag, which was naturally seen on Kim Kardashian, also received a special crystal edition by Balenciaga’s Demna Gvaslia.
Do They Actually Fit?
Rhinestone purses aren’t really meant for everyday wear unless you’re a big (and I mean very large) enthusiast of bling. However, as shown by the clothes we’ve been seeing at fashion week, most are remarkably adaptable. The majority of us favor wearing simple, frequently dark-colored clothing on a daily basis (New Yorkers are even renowned for wearing all-black attire), which, when you think about it, makes for the ideal contrasting backdrop to highlight a crystal purse. Without a question, the Re-edition has been the highlight of this rhinestone movement. Though the Cleo isn’t far behind, both of them are excellent ways to spruce up your everyday wear, whether it be a pair of casual jeans or a more fancy jacket and pair of slacks. You’ll have even more room to fit your requirements if you choose the small shopper! This small Gucci Jackie is one of my all-time favorite crystal-studded handbags. It is made of black lizard skin and has the GG logo encrusted in crystals. It appears to be simple to incorporate into ensembles while yet adding a little shine to you.
Rhinestone bags are so important for evening or party occasions. We should always keep one in our wardrobe just in case!