Women's Fashion | The Reconnoisseur

Reasonably priced, beautifully made – is this the perfect tote?

It’s not an ‘It’ bag, but it’s proved a hit with one busy woman

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Reasonably priced, beautifully made – is this the perfect tote?

March 06 2011
Karen Wheeler

Unlike many people I know, I’m not a serial accumulator of handbags, and if a style has been declared a “must-have”, then for me it’s a “must not”. The bags that I am drawn to are either those that come in wonderful and distinctive prints – Marni’s rose-pink bag in PVC (£160) is, for me, one of the most desirable styles this season – or they are completely plain and anonymous. And because I spend a great deal of my life carting vast quantities of reading material around on planes and trains, I also find it hard to resist a good shopper or tote bag.

Which leads me to my most exciting bag discovery in ages: the Flat Work Tote (£122.56) by Clare Vivier (not to be confused with the Roger Vivier label). Available in silver (so this season, and the colour I have bought, first picture), gold (third picture) or chestnut brown, the bag, like most of the designs in the Vivier range, is made from vegetable-tanned Italian leather. Perfectly proportioned, it is big enough to accommodate a laptop and magazines and is somehow both understated and wonderfully luxe. It is, in short, the perfect tote – and so reasonably priced, it’s hard not to want one in every colour.

Vivier is a former French television journalist, now based in LA, who developed her own range because she too was looking for the perfect bag to carry her laptop and papers around while travelling. Her La Tropézienne bag (second picture, £214.46) has quietly become a favourite of several fashion editors. As for me, I fear that thanks to Vivier, I do have the potential to become a serial handbag accumulator after all: my next bag purchase is going to be Vivier’s purple patent Shopping Tote ($189), which is top of my shopping list when I visit New York in a few weeks’ time.

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