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A Closer Look at the Handbags That Debuted on Khaite’s Runway Tonight

For her first line of minimal, ultra-luxe handbags, Khaite designer Catherine Holstein was inspired by luggage from the turn of the century, when women first began to travel alone.

12.8.2019

For her first line of minimal, ultra-luxe handbags, Khaite designer Catherine Holstein was inspired by luggage from the turn of the century, when women first began to travel alone.

For her first line of minimal, ultra-luxe handbags, Khaite designer Catherine Holstein was inspired by luggage from the turn of the century, when women first began to travel alone.

First thing’s first: Why handbags? On one hand, Holstein envisions Khaite as a complete wardrobe; after quietly adding belts and lingerie to her repertoire, bags were a natural next step. It’s also worth pointing out that the bags she designed—slim cross-body pouches, box-frame baguettes, structured “envelope pleat” totes, and ultrasoft XXL carryalls—are filling a gap in the market for clean yet striking bags in high-quality materials. (They also come in at a relatively untapped price point. The bags start at $880, while most brands have inched well into the four-figure range, even for their smaller bags.)

Plenty of women will see her giant tote and cross-body sack as blessings in a post–Phoebe Philo world, but you can’t really compare Khaite to Celine, or any brand, for that matter. It launched on Instagram and has grown in its own organic, untraditional way—and established a highly specific mood and vibe. That’s something even decades-old heritage brands struggle to figure out. As far as references, Holstein was mainly looking at luggage from the turn of the 20th century, when women first began to travel alone. “We did a lot of research on the history of luggage, and wanted to make sure we had a fully intentioned line,” she said. “Calling it ‘luggage’ felt right, because it’s more than handbags. It [goes back to] how we’ve said Khaite isn’t just clothes, it’s a movement.”

Read more: Vogue Runway

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