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Item of the week: the miniature handbag

By Rachel Douglass

8 Jun 2022


(From left) Image: The Kooples, Stella McCartney, Liebeskind Berlin

What it is:

The tiny handbag has, unexpectedly, become a driving force in the accessories arena, making moves on the red carpet and runways, alike. Over recent years, designers have increasingly hopped on the bandwagon of accessories simply designed for amusement – take Balenciaga’s Ikea bags – with a few ultimately contributing to the diminishing size of handbags, many of which have taken social media by storm due to their hilariously impractical proportions. While the handbag itself has a complex and long political and cultural history, the miniature handbag is simply a fashion statement that asks the wearer to not take it too seriously, offering a breath of fresh air to accessory-loving shoppers.

Image: Charles & Keith

Why you’ll want it:

As a ‘just-for-fun’ item, the tiny handbag is a quick and easy purchase option for shoppers looking to add a bit of amusement to their outfits. Its designer and celebrity backing has flung it into the centre of pop culture, as something that has transcended beyond just an object with no purpose. Its appearance on runways, specifically, this season has seen it transform from just a frivolous accessory piece to become a multi-use handbag addition, allowing users to opt for what can essentially be considered handy compartments perfect for small everyday objects. New iterations also see it come in more functional sizes, enough for simply a phone and a few other essential items, making it the perfect practical purchase for evenings out.

Image: Kangol

Where we’ve seen it:

Among its numerous red carpet and celebrity appearances, for which it has been donned by the likes of Lizzo and Kendall Jenner, the miniature handbag was also a prominent accessory on AW22 runways. Jacquemus undoubtedly led this trend for designer brands, with the launch of its Mini Le Chiquito bag, which arguably sparked the ongoing miniature bag frenzy, however, for the upcoming season, Balmain also offered up a tiny bag, albeit in a slightly more conventional size. Meanwhile, a number of other brands have contributed to the transformation of the mini bag trend through keychains. The likes of Fendi, Versace and Ulla Johnson each presented small bags with a batch of even smaller compartments, each designed essentially with the purpose of holding specific items, such as lipsticks or payment cards. Many of these tiny bags were exact replicas of full-sized products, attached to them as a fun supplement.

Image: Furla

How to style it:

As mentioned, the miniature handbag is an accessory item to not take too seriously. Often simply found as an add-on keychain, the product can be attached to full-size handbags or coats either as a useful extra compartment or just a frivolous addition, depending on its size. Cues can also be taken from some designers who used multiple miniature bags in alternating shapes and sizes, all attached to one central bag for further storage. Some versions, however, are big enough to be standalone items, with more practical sizes that make them perfect for evenings out and daily errands and can therefore be styled with any look.

Image: Núnoo

Shoppers looking for a fashion statement will love the miniature handbag, offering them both a somewhat practical and fun wardrobe addition to their accessory collection. Its runway presence cannot be denied and its popularity online has made it a pop culture force to be reckoned with.

Image: Fossil

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.
Item of the Week