Evening bags, particularly when in the form of a clutch, have become especially desirable in recent times. Once understatedly chic, today they are designed to be like jewels, to catch the eye and add extra pizzazz to outfits. Beautiful or witty, vibrantly coloured, embellished or both, they come in so many beguiling styles that somewhere there is something for everybody.
Though very different, the two brands that dazzle me most are Dolce & Gabbana and Charlotte Olympia. The Italian maestros seduce us with a sense of opulence. Dea (£1,850) is a riot of gorgeously hued flowers printed on satin and, as if the colour weren’t enough to enchant us, it has sequins and crystals to make it glimmer even more brightly. But they do monochrome glamour just as convincingly. Their black cotton-canvas bag (£1,850, first picture) has an overlay of lace and glitters with great big crystal flowers.
Charlotte Olympia charms us with her wit and goes where few have gone before. There’s a brilliant, almost circular, sky-blue silk-satin shoulder bag (£675) that is given life and colour by an opera mask appliquéd onto the front. Adorned with tassels, pompoms and sequins, it is inspired by ancient Chinese culture. Another equally original style (£765, fourth picture) resembles a Chinese takeaway box in black or yellow satin crepe embroidered with gold bees and dragonflies and with a Perspex handle. Still eastern-influenced is a golden fan (£1,365) with a dashing tassel; it won’t hold much, but will look a dream.
Of course, there are other names worth investigating. Also witty is Anya Hindmarch with her now famous crumpled Crisp Packet in a range of metallic colours, including lime green (£995, third picture), while Tory Burch has an adorable little shoulder bag (£425, second picture) in black acrylic with an amber, mauve and clear crystal cross on the front and a swishing tassel attached to the bottom.
And we should never forget Alexander McQueen, which has a delicious collection of little oval clutches topped with fantastically dramatic fastenings – including jewelled knuckledusters (£2,295) and a particularly chic black satin box clutch (£2,295, fifth picture) smothered in glittering Swarovski crystals and topped with a gold skull clasp.