If you too, for a large part of 2007 and maybe even a slice of 2008, spent most of your waking hours lusting after a canvas tote bag, then come in for a cuddle. We did it, comrade, we started the efficiency revolution! A canvas tote bag wasn’t just a canvas tote bag – it was a political statement (I had one that said ‘Puppies not Politics’), an inflatable magic pocket, a bottomless Mary Poppins/Hermione’s handbag that had undergone an Undetectable Extension Charm. There were months when I exclusively carried a tote bag, keys and coins jangling under various half-eaten Pret sandwiches, amongst acrylic paint tubes I picked up at the Uni shop. As a ‘flaneur’, it was a must-have item, because the point of it was that it collected evidence of an entire day’s worth of curiosity (knick-knacks).
Fast forward a decade, bag trends have come and gone, all the shapes and sizes. I now mysteriously have enough canvas tote bags to make soup from, but it still stands that none of my bags have proved as practical. I mean, have you tried shoving an aubergine into an Olympia Le Tan book clutch? (Actually, don’t say that on a date.) Enter Smythson, whose pale blue featherweight notebooks I have time and time again poured my heart, ideas and indecipherable scribbles onto, with the new Kingly Tote. The new butter-soft leather bag is an embodiment of their delicate yet resilient stationery, which comes in black or the legendary Nile Blue of the brand’s shopping bags. Stop, drop and roll it up, stick a loaf of bread in there next to your gym clothes (microwave pizza for me), whip it out when the airline nags your about excess luggage weight. Viva la revolucion!
David Douglas Duncan
Top – Jaeha. Skirt – Celine
Coat – Emma Charles. Shoes – Yuul Yie
Dress – Exhibit. Trousers – Joseph. Tote – Smythson Kingly. Heels – Celine.
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Anderssen and Voll
assistant photographer SIMON SCHMIDT in collaboration with SMYTHSON