How and when does an It bag become an It bag? Does it have classic features and fine leather, or a modern mix of synthetic? Is it a large holdall for all occasions, or a more Zeitgeist-y, less functional, hand-sized minaudière? And what about the brand? Is it the designer who gives the bag its cool edge, or the person carrying it? If we look back through the last number of decades, it’s obvious that most designers (the ones who’ve successfully created an It bag, at least) did so with purpose.
Today’s designers work to a different, more modern tune, and British brand Danse Lente is a perfect example of this. Danse Lente (which means “slow dance” in French) is not your average It bag brand. Headed by Youngwon Kim, this London-based brand brings together experimental features and classic shapes, making for thoroughly modern accessories with a fresh and new aesthetic. Having just opened its first bricks-and-mortar studio in the heart of Covent Garden, Danse Lente is still in its infancy, but the brand has already accumulated a cult-like following, both online and off. In the first two years of the brand’s launch, Kim had successfully pre-launched through Net-a-Porter, with Selfridges quickly following suit, and Moda Operandi, Le Bon Marche and Lane Crawford jumping on board after the success of the brand’s first line.
Mini Phoebe forest, €355 at danselente.com
“Each piece is conceived in-depth in order to create a purpose-built product that will also create a unique experience to its predecessor” is the description given on the brand’s website. When the sales pitch is pared back though, you’re left with a beautifully designed product that certainly looks like it will withstand the fast fashion cycle. In other words, this is the only bag you’ll need. There is a playful and curious element to each design that appeals to a wide range of audiences, too. Multicoloured panels in rejuvenating colourways give each bag a completely different feel (doesn’t the Mini Phoebe above remind you of autumn?), while the stylised twisted handles are what gives Danse Lente’s bags their unique appearance. Designer Kim works with craftsmen, tanners and metalsmiths in London to create each look.
Johnny crossbody mini, €355 at brownthomas.com
So why is my money on Danse Lente being the It bag of AW18? Aside from the elegant structure and complimentary shapes and colours, the robust leather means durability is a given. Whether running from the gym to a breakfast meeting, a client pitch or dinner, the sturdiness of a Danse Lente means it’s functional, wearable and completely transitional. Although It bags are synonymous with brand names like Chanel, Gucci and JW Anderson, I have a feeling Youngwon Kim’s unique designs will be right up there with them.
Shop now at Brown Thomas and Danse Lente.