The constant revival of travelling accessories

Fashion is one of the most fickle environments in our modern day society. It changes at the blink of an eye or at the whiff of the magic wand of one much too powerful fashion editor, it goes up, down, twirls around, sometimes hits the same spot twice and then moves one. And this is what matters, it always looks towards the future and constantly reinvents itself. Whether we’re talking about just clothes and accessories or an entire life style, hardly had you managed to pin point the trend of the season and get with the flow a tad when it pulls the rug from under your feet by changing to something else in a flash.

There are many factors that influence that rate at which trends change in the fashion world. At times the ‘must haves’ of one season are very easily found among the tendencies of the following, while at others two consecutive seasons are completely different. One of the most powerful influences in this trend-setting process is obviously the economical environment. Whenever it shows signs of being more permissive, the fashion designers materialize their wildest creations and they are highly applauded for it. However, when the financial conditions are more dire, a situation which we are currently experiencing, all the top fashion houses reorient themselves towards functionality and utility. And the reason is obvious: customers are no longer so willing to shell out big cash for luxury items they don’t really need. This applies to a whole range of luxury goods from clothes, accessories and jewels to cars and luggage. Probably the most severe changes caused by the financial crisis have occurred in the ‘fashion’ of travelling. From hotel preferences to luggage and airline deals, everything has been altered.

The luggage has always been an important part of the travelling experience because it can often contain a piece of the traveler’s home inside, and nothing is more precious than that when you find yourself stranded among unknown people in a strange country. When it comes to business travelling, this aspect is even more striking as these ‘professional’ travelers bring a new meaning to ‘living out of your suitcase’. In consequence, luxury brands had to adapt to the requirements and cater to the every need of their clients when it comes to offering a range of suitcases and travelling accessories. Long gone are the days portrayed in such Audrey Hepburn films as Charade or Love in the afternoon where over-sized cumbersome Louis Vuitton trunks were lugged around the halls of the Ritz Paris Hotel. Nowadays it’s all about simplicity, functionality and mobility. We all know that time is money, but in a frigid economic environment, time is even more money.

Many luxury brands have taken to this idea and are offering their travelling customers the mobility they need in the form of a trolley piece of luggage. The range is quite generous so you have where to choose from. If you prefer the more ostentatious monogram canvas you can pick the Zucca Fendi model, the Pegase Louis Vuitton or the Gucci. For those clients who don’t want to stand out because of their choice of luggage, Prada has prepared the very elegant leather Saffiano model, while Longchamp boasts the Exotic Gatsby line in python looking leather. Those who are on a fixed budget can opt for a chic Lancel leather trolley from the Flirt en voyage collection for only €950.

Other reputed luxury fashion houses have come up with the idea of reinventing some rather outdated items such as the duffle bag or the rucksack. Brands such as Louis Vuitton and Dunhill have made the once dusty old rucksack reserved only for students who travelled packback across Europe the star of their collections. Designers consider that the all purpose rucksack perfectly combines the utility of a piece of hand luggage with the refined air of a luxury item. In the Dunhill Autumn-Winter 2010 collection, creative director Kim Jones designed a large rucksack made of forest-green waxed alligator, which required the skins of six reptiles and is available only made to order in their East London factory for a rumored £50,000. Now all we can do is wait patiently until the next fashion week and see what surprises designers dish out to our amazement.

Mircea Filimon