The Micro Bag: A Liberating Accessory
The tiny purse trend has taken center stage, captivating the fashion industry as the size of highly sought-after bags continues to shrink. Strikingly cute but undeniably impractical, mini, micro, and petite bags are all the rage. While some mini bags fit the daily essentials, others can hold little more than a credit card. Yet, these modernized, bite-size bags have a rich history, tracing back to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and ‘70s. This social movement challenged the traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality, and reversing a historically restrictive dress code for women was just one piece of the puzzle. Long skirts were shortened to miniskirts and tights replaced nylon stockings, encouraging women to confidently embrace their figures. As garment silhouettes shrunk, bags shrunk with them, further complementing the changing style of the modern woman. Carrying a mini bag eases mobility, so it comes as no surprise that women in the 21st century are reclaiming this liberating style.
The Macro Trend of Micro Bags
Flash forward to 2021, and it is clear that the fervor for these micro bags is still in full force, as reinvigorated a few years back by French fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus. In the Spring/Summer 2018 collection for his eponymous label, Jacquemus unveiled an instant hit: the three-inch Le Chiquito bag. For his Fall/Winter 2019 show, Jacquemus went a step further and debuted the Mini Le Chiquito, shrinking the height of the already toy-sized bag to two inches. Other luxury brands, from Telfar and JW Pei to Dior and Chanel, quickly followed suit, designing their own take on the accessory bag trend. Interestingly, it was Karl Lagerfeld who saw potential in the micro bag before anyone else. For the Fendi Spring/Summer 2015 collection, he shrunk the signature Peekaboo bag and adorned it with fluffy fur charms, each larger than the bag itself.
Additionally, the tremendous buzz of the micro bag can be largely attributed to the celebrities and trendsetters who propel its burgeoning demand. In an iconic fashion moment, Lizzo sported an almost microscopic Valentino Garavani bag on the AMAs red carpet in 2019, bringing the ‘micro’ in micro bag to a new extreme. Street-style legends like Zoë Kravitz, Emily Ratajkowski, and Kendall Jenner have also incorporated the micro bag into their everyday looks, embracing it for a more casual wear.
Chanel’s Micro Creations
Once Chanel gets involved, a trend becomes a modern classic, and the micro bag is no exception. For the fashion house’s Spring/Summer 2021 show, Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld’s successor, transported virtual and in-person attendees to old Hollywood. While the miniature accessories were there to accompany reimagined classics like the tweed suit, they undeniably took center stage. While some models walked down the runway carrying the micro bag as they would any normal sizedChanel bag, others embraced a more creative styling choice. As such, these tiny purses were worn by way of chain belts, layered necklaces, and chunky bracelets. In a striking fusion between luxury fashion and jewelry, these Chanel micro bags are the ultimate (albeit, not so practical) statement piece.