5 cool handbag brands to up your arm candy game
Strathberry, Manu Atelier, Cult Gaia
Handbags, no matter minaudiere or maxi, are an essential part to any ensemble. Not simply a place to put your phone, keys, wallet and just about every other important item we require on a daily basis, a handbag also hints at your personal style. And whilst we love our classics, there's perhaps nothing more exciting than discovering a new label to add a point of difference to our collections. Thanks to royal-to-be Meghan Markle, UK-based brand Strathberry recently rocketed onto must-have lists the world over after the Suits actress carried one of its totes during her first official royal engagement. Inspired, we've rounded up five of the must-know handbag labels that will add fash-pack approved cred to your lineup.
Once Meghan wore Strathberry's Midi Tote, it sold out within 11 minutes on the brand's site so we couldn't not include the Edinburgh-based brand. Strathberry's handbags are all made in Spain and can take up to 20 hours to make. Identifiable by the signature bar closure at the handle, Jamie Chung and Olivia Culpo have also been spotted carrying the designs. Given its recent royal promotion, many of the brand's styles are currently out of stock on the website so you'll need to sign up for notifications so you don't miss out when the next drop hits.
2. Cult Gaia
As far as Instagram famous handbags go, Cult Gaia pretty much tops the list. The brand was started in 2012 by Jasmin Larian and has enjoyed phenomenal success in the past 18 months in particular. The brand's signature acrylic Arc tote is both casual and cool, working for day with breezy summer dresses and by night with chic suiting. Stocked locally on The Modist the style is a constant sell-out so it's best to keep your eye on their 'New In' page to snag yours before they inevitably go again.
Started by Egyptian sisters Mounaz and Aya Abdel Raouf in 2013, Okhtein has fast become one of the region's hottest handbag labels. Undoubtedly stylish, the brand is also socially conscious, working with local NGOs that employ skilled female workers. Easily spotted thanks to the brand's signature rounded metal handle, the bag has officially become the cool girl's go-to (Beyoncé bought one, too). Get yours now at Okhtein.com.
4. Manu Atelier
If you're a prolific Net-a-Porter scroller (#guilty) then you'll have seen Manu Atelier's pieces pop up during your time on the New In page in the past year. The luxury handbags each feature an arrow detail at the clasp and are handcrafted in Turkey. Sisters Beste and Merve Manastir who were inspired by their father, a craftsman since 1961, started the label in 2014. The hardest part of ordering is deciding which shape you like best with rectangle, square and oval options available.
5. Mansur Gavriel
The OG non-label handbag to capture the hearts (and wallets) of the fash pack, Mansur Gavriel has continued to dominate since its launch in 2012. The brand's soft leather bucket bags were an instant hit thanks to the minimalist design and modern colour palette. The brand has since expanded into footwear and ready-to-wear but its bags are still some of our favourites.
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