That ’60s and ’70s icon of style, actress Jane Birkin, was known for her purses. After all, Jean-Louis Dumas, Hermès chief executive from 1978 to 2006, created the Birkin bag in her honor. Truth to tell, though, she preferred that nondescript but trusty, picnic-style wicker basket she was famous for, the one she took everywhere and wore with everything. (She even took it to a black-tie dinner at a Cannes fete in 1974.)
This summer, the humble woven purse is back in style, and whether made from wicker, straw, raffia or rattan, it’s simple, roomy, built to last and goes with whatever’s in your closet. This season’s wovens come in a number of forms: tubular, circular, basket, bucket, lunchbox and top-handle, and run the gamut from glammed-up dressy to beach casual. There are totes, baskets, crossbodies, clutches, pint-size versions and more.
For the animal lovers, there’s Stella McCartney’s Falabella tote in light khaki vegan suede and raffia with diamond-cut, chain-link trim and whipstitch detailing. Poppy + Sage offers a sturdy attractive rattan tote, a perfect accessory for the warm months. Brahmin’s sophisticated take is displayed in its straw satchel with white leather accents and circular gold handles; and Isabel Marant’s natural raffia clutch is trimmed in tan or black leather and great for dinner out. We love the embellished bags, like Serpui’s structured basket-weave straw purse featuring white floral embroidery, gold-tone hardware and bamboo handles, as we do Chloé’s range of raffia accessories. Chloé partnered with Mifuko on the line, which is crafted by Kenyan artisans. One killer bag is the bucket woven from natural straw with a drawstring-fastening interior pouch and trimmed in leather. Another is the Marcie, a medium-sized, hand-braided raffia basket bag with small-grain calfskin in tan, mirage blue or pottery green that is pure, unadulterated chic. Dragon Diffusion wittily turns the straw idea on its head, creating a tightly woven basket bag in leather. And finally, for all those girls who love pearls, check out Soraya Hennessy’s basket bucket bag in natural straw with a pearl handle.