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I think that for the spring/ summer 2018 bag trends the overwhelming theme was moderation. Nothing was extra – and instead, the spring 2018 bags were either just a blend of elements, or pure minimalism. We saw a lot of leather, with a bit of snakeskin and fabric here and there for variety. The colors were all about soft and minimalistic, with only a few louder prints, sparkles, and appliques standing out.
If you’re a lover of simplicity, this is totally your season, but if you’re into extravagant you haven’t been totally abandoned by the spring/ summer 2018 purses, since there were still interesting elements. Enjoy this comprehensive list of all of the spring 2018 handbag trends, and tell us which were your favorites!
#1. Fringe On Your Bags
Fringe was all over this season’s runways, adding a south-western twang to the spring outfits. Fringe also made it to the spring/ summer 2018 handbag trends, where it flowed down from all manner of bags, complementing the rest of the season’s designs perfectly.
At Balenciaga, large sack-style bags were covered in a thick fringe, cut out from a fabric that had been emblazoned with the brand’s name.
There was more fringe than bag on the Calvin Klein runway, where bright bucket bags were positively covered in it. The fringe went past the bag, in what we are not certain is a comfortable bag, is certainly a chic one.
Never one to be mundane, Donatella created a bejeweled fringe on the bags at Versus Versace that was unusually ornate, in a symmetrical design, on handbags with an envelop closing, in bright colors.
#2. Solid Bags
We saw sporty elements all over the runways, which included the spring/ summer 2018 bag trends. One of the ways we saw sporty bags was with solid backpacks and purses that looked perfect for more extreme adventures where you might need your wares truly protected.
At Louis Vuitton, there were gray backpacks with a rounded top, with lots of sporty straps perfect for attaching carabiners. There were also lunchbox style bags, in a similar design.
At Balenciaga, solid plastic handbags in striking colors were like the chic version of a construction worker’s lunchbox – tough and sturdy, but also impeccably designed.
Tassels are a fun element that is easy to create out of spare leather, and it always adds extra interest to a bag or purse. We saw all manners of tassels of different shapes and sizes decorating the spring/ summer 2018 bags.
At Balmain, my personal favorite was a round, silver bag, with silver tassels coming off of its zipper. Many of their other bags were also decorated in tassels.
Snakeskin wrist bags at Tod’s were embellished with tan tassels that were almost double the size of the bag itself.
#4. Bucket Bags
Bucket bags are a perfect choice for the summer 2018 handbag trends. Their shape is on the more casual side, and they look good when holding a lot of things, which means they are perfect for summertime errands or outings. We saw all manner of ways in which both feminine, sophisticated, and casual design elements were implemented in the designs of these bags.
At Miu Miu, bucket bags were adorably seasonal. The handbags had woven straw bottoms, while the bulk of the bag was made of feminine, colorful fabric, with leather straps making sure to give the bag a more professional vibe.
The bucket bags at Baja East, which were tied off with a rope as a drawstring, actually had a very modern vibe since they were made of pastel snakeskin.
Lastly, worth noting are the black leather bucket bags that were part of the Fenty x Puma by Rihanna collection. The bags represented the label’s sporty vibe with a number embossed onto the bag, and instead of a drawstring or handle, the top was held closed with a plastic belt buckle.
#5. Classy Triangular Hobo Bags
Hobo bags will always be an easy and comfortable bag choice to make. For the spring/ summer 2018 bag trends, a lot of hobo bags were designed in a triangular shape, instead of a more traditional rounded shape. The other thing that stood out about these hobo bags is how classy they were.
At Tom Ford, we saw large hobo bags made of plain black leather, with a front pouch – elegant and simple. Yellow crocodile skin was the perfect material for the drawstring topped hobo bag at Michael Kors.
At Jason Wu, navy suede was the material of choice for a medium-size triangular hobo bag, with some shiny embellishments.
#6. Saddle Bags
Saddle bags are a classic purse choice for casual occasions, with their rounded design and rustic feel. We saw plenty of leather saddle bags channeling the wild west in the spring 2018 bags, but there were also some more modern takes on this bag shape.
It was all about the saddle bag design at Chloe. Small purses with rounded bottoms were the key bag style for the season, often in brightly colored leather and with silver or golden chains for handles.
Saddle bags took on some unique elements on the Roberto Cavalli runway, especially in the way they were closed. For the most part they were fairly small, in all kinds of differently colored leather, with some metallic elements for decoration.
Snakeskin saddle bags stood out as part of the Loewe collection, along with other different designs.
#7. Brands Front and Center
A bag is one of the best signs of wealth, which is why people will always buy bags with large logos and prominent brand names. Designers know this to be true, which is why their logos graced many of the spring/ summer 2018 purses.
With a brand like Christian Dior, where there are so many iconic design elements, you really cannot fault anyone for making the name of the brand be so prominent. All kinds of bags, clutches, and purses proudly displayed the name of the label, or variations on the slogan “J’Adore Dior”.
At Lanvin, pointillist jewel appliques were used to emphasize the brand name, on top of a red envelope bag. At Moschino, the brand name was everywhere, including on the spring 2018 bags. Clean white bags were embossed with the name of the label in stark black.
#8. Pillow Bags
My bag functions as a pillow fairly frequently, since I’m an avid traveller, and sometimes, a clean piece of grass and your bag are all you need for a quick nap when you’re stuck somewhere in the world without a bed. Seeing cozy looking pillow bags on the runway for the spring/ summer 2018 purse trends was a treat, and I even think these bags might be a better candidate for carrying the name “hobo bag” (which is a terrible, classist name for a bag, actually, so I take that bag).
We saw the coziest bags at Maison Margiela. It was made of a plush, white material, and was almost exactly pillow shaped, with the exception of the handle and some feather decorations.
At Simone Rocha, we saw loose bags made of velvet that looked plush and soft, but also classy and evening-appropriate. From Nina Ricci, drawstring bags without handles made for the perfect pillow bag, as they were made of luxurious silk and looked super comfy.
#9. Fur Bags
The spring and summer seasons are too hot for fur elements on clothes, but what if you still want to show off some ridiculous opulence? Having a furry bag is a great way to go! It’s ridiculous in the kind of way that you can really only get away with bags.
Almost every bag at Altuzarra was covered in a fuzzy white or black fur, from clutches to saddlebags, channeling winter in a whimsical way that gives a nice counter to all the summery clothing.
At Sachin & Babi, a loudly colored fur trim decorated the edge of bags and clutches, a design choice that ended up working well because the main print of the bag was matched to the outfit. We saw some furry boxes at Marni, Simone Rocha, Roberto Cavalli, and more.
#10. Handle with Charm
If you’re opting for a chain handle on your bag, why not opt for a truly charming one? Many designers blurred the difference between the spring 2018 handbags and jewelry, by decorating their chains with lovely and adorable charms.
Chains covered with charms were a lovely way of making the bags at Alexander McQueen both cute and a little punk. The chains on the bags, which were carried like clutches, ended up looking like bracelets, which really reinforce the concept of a bag as an accessory.
At Balenciaga, charmed chains gave a lovely touch to the clutches, working well with the delicate design.
#11. Raincoat for the Bag
Okay, so yes, we only saw this particular one of the spring 2018 handbag trends at Balenciaga, but it rocked our world so it deserves a mention. The bags at Balenciaga were covered in colorful, plastic-y fabric in what some are calling “skirts” but we really feel were more like tiny raincoats for the bags.
#12. Studs/ Punk Bags
Normally, when you think about metallic elements, you imagine them classing up a bag, adding an expensive element. Studs are one way to get around that, and instead give the bag a punk feel. We saw all manner of punk backpacks and purses make it into the spring 2018 bag trends.
At Alexander Wang, we saw a mixture of smaller and larger studs, especially on red bags. They were only in small rows, along the bottom of the bags, so the bags were still overall quite elegant.
On the Balmain runway, a small, early-90s style backpack made of black leather was covered in little silver spikes. We saw a sportier backpack at Jeremy Scott that was covered in diamond studs – it was a unique mixture of punk and high glamour elements, which, along with the sporty design, made for a unique mishmash of a bag.
#13. Small Cross-Body Bags
Cross-body bags are the perfect choice for a wild night out, because they hold exactly a bit of money, a phone, and a lipstick, and they won’t bounce around too much when you dance. Designers came up with some really gorgeous cross-body bags for spring 2018, to go with any wild outfit you choose.
At Creatures of the Wind, these plain black bags (with some circular handle elements creating interest) were created to go with any outfit, and to work even for more sophisticated occasions.
Like in the rest of the Tory Burch collection, the simple bags had some bohemian elements that were minimalist rather than overdone. Glittery cross-body bags made a splash at Valentino as the perfect choice for an outgoing party girl.
#14. Bags Feeling Patchy
Some designers harkened back to the ‘70s punk rock scene by covering the spring 2018 bags with patches. This was not just backpacks we’re talking about, but all manner of purses, in some cases making for interesting juxtapositions.
At Libertine, sleek leather clutches were covered in post-modernist patches like a photo of Salvador Dali or the iconic cover of Velvet Underground’s Sunday Morning.
At Coach 1941, we saw cute, colorful patches on top of more classy Coach-esque designs in fabric and leather. Lastly, at Vivienne Tam, patches had a bohemian vibe, with colorful suns and moons pairing perfectly with braided decorations attached to the handle.
#15. Geometric Creations
I love me some architectural inspiration and geometric shapes, so I was very happy to see the spring/ summer 2018 bag trends include all kinds of truly extraordinary creations in all kinds of unique shapes.
From Cushnie et Ochs came some gorgeous, minimalist designs – solidly colored handbags, with different colored thread to emphasize the unique origami-style folding.
Cube-shaped bags at Louis Vuitton were turned on an angle, with the pointed edge down, which was a fun twist on the square bag shapes. Bags from Gabriela Hearst were truly architectural, with flower pot-shaped bottoms, and accordion tops.
#16. Miniature Duffels
A duffel bag is a great thing – it holds so many things, and it has a really great shape that is perfectly gender neutral and sophisticated. However, sometimes you need a simple, normal sized handbag, so for the spring/ summer 2018 handbag trends we saw smaller-sized duffel bags.
At Coach, these duffel bags were simple, made of leather, with few flourishes, while on other runways, they were a little more fun. At Jeremy Scott, they were studded with diamonds, for the sport-glam-punk vibe that ruled their collection, while at Brandon Maxwell, they were simply crafted out of brightly colored leather.
At Sportmax, medium purse-sized duffels really stood out in bright and cheerful pastel shades.
#17. Pure White Bags
If you’re planning on rocking monochrome white outfits this spring, then a white bag is a must. White was all over the runways, looking pure and minimalist, and that included the spring/ summer 2018 handbags.
At Creatures of Comfort, we saw the most innocent of white handbags, made of a cotton eyelet fabric and many knots, looking like something hastily crafted to purpose as both a bag and a picnic blanket.
Modern minimalism was apparent in both color and design on the Sally Lapointe runway, where we saw oversized clutches in white. The tiny white wrist bags at Etro were decorated with some silver thread and a few mirror appliques, as a delicate embellishment.
Other designers and labels to create gorgeous white bags included Roberto Cavalli, Blumarine, Chloe, and more.
#18. Straw Bags
The straw bags weren’t necessarily a reasonable trend in the fall/ winter season, but as part of spring/ summer 2018 purse trends we are all about them! Straw bags make us think of summer, the beach, and picnics (just like the straw hats for spring 2018), so we loved seeing them in all of their forms.
One of the most beautiful examples of this trend was one of the handbags at Phillip Lim. While the bag part was made of traditional woven straw, the handle was surrounded by an explosion of straw, making the whole creation look like a straw floral arrangement in a vase.
At Badgley Mischka, the straw was combined with colorful fabric to make chunky, textured picnic bags that were spring-time perfection.
There was no trouble with double bagging straw bags at Ulla Johnson. A large, white canvas bag just on its own would have been beautiful and chic, but there was also a small, rounded straw bag paired with it.
We also saw straw elements be part of the bags at Miu Miu, Zimmermann, and Michael Kors.
#19. Cartoon Bags
Cartoons and characters are a fun way to add whimsy to an outfit, but it can also seem a little childish. The spring/ summer 2018 purse trends are a great way to add some humour to your wardrobe, with different kinds of cartoon elements.
The patches on the Coach 1941 bags stood out the most, which represented adorable cartoon characters.
At Prada, it was more about female cartoon characters in a variety of styles, from the retro Rosie the Riveter style images to more modern, edgy styles. These images were stamped over classy flap purses made of leather.
#20. Transparent Bags
Transparent and PVC items were a key trend everywhere, from the spring 2018 shoe trends to the summer 2018 fashion trends, including as part of the summer 2018 bag trends. In addition to boots, and various clothing items, we saw all manner of bags – although especially handbags – made of clear, transparent materials.
At Celine, models carried clear bags with drawstring tops – a more casual take on the transparent trend, that would be perfect for a beach day or casual errands.
Truly absurd was a clear plastic briefcase at Helmut Lang, which was unfortunately left empty on the runway, although we are sure that fashionistas will find lots of creative ways to fill it up and make it even more interesting.
At Valentino, a plastic-y envelope purse was a great old-school way of making bags in this trend. Lastly, at Chanel, naturally there were many clear PVC bags made to match with the iconic clear boots the models wore on the runway.
#21. Bags with Floral Prints
You can’t have a list of spring 2018 handbags without mentioning all of the gorgeous floral designs and prints. Flowers are the key part of the spring/ summer 2018 print trends, and it was more than adequately represented in the various bags we saw on the runway.
Some of my favorite floral prints were part of the Giorgio Armani bag collection. The prints were colorful, with a handpainted-feel, and they really stood out over bags and clutches made of white leather.
At Blumarine, the trend of round bags was combined with a floral print. The bag was black, while the floral print was in various of purple. From Max Mara we saw one of the more delicate floral prints – tiny flowers, matching to the outfit, all over a large white bag.
#22. Bags with Beads & Sequins
Beaded bags, especially in the form of smaller clutches, were a cute addition to the spring/ summer 2018 handbag trends. Beaded and sequin bags have something distinctly carefree and bohemian about them, despite the painstaking work they require to create.
At Oscar de la Renta, we saw both beads as a decoration to floral appliques, and solid clutches covered in bright and shining sequins. A few of the smaller bags at Altuzarra, in addition to some fur elements, were also decorated with a lovely beaded floral design.
#23. Floral Appliques on the Bags
In addition to floral prints, floral appliques were another part of the spring 2018 bag trends. These three-dimensional design elements exude springtime fun with both color and texture.
At Christian Siriano, the flower appliques were made of the same pastel leather from which the bag was made, adding a simple, feminine touch.
A single, large flower decoration in the center of a clutch at Oscar de la Renta would have made for a nice but unremarkable design. However, a multicolored splatter pattern all over the white bag elevated the whole creation.
We also saw floral appliques used on the runways of Andrew Gn, and John Galliano.
#24. Box Bags
I am thrilled that box purses are part of the spring 2018 purse trends. There is something that I find so elegant about them, but in a way that is unusual and really stands out. While in practice they are not necessarily as comfortable as other bag designs, the attention they attract is certainly worth it.
Box bags at Marni were covered in a plaid pattern, and had thick chain handles. The design of the bag was small and modern, and it was interesting to see it paired with the rougher elements.
At Dolce & Gabbana, we saw smaller box bags, covered in design elements oh so classic to the label, like floral needlepoint and lots and lots of gold.
From Stella McCartney, we saw cross-body box bags covered in sleek black snakeskin – a way of combining classic design elements with newer ones. The box bags at Off-White were anything but subtle, as they were made to look like gift boxes, complete with ribbons.
#25. Fanny Packs
Will fanny packs finally ‘happen’ in the spring/ summer 2018 bag trends? With the examples we saw on the runways, I can genuinely admit that I do hope so! These convenient bags have had a bad reputation, but there were so many stylish takes on them this time around!
At Zimmermann, a white straw fanny pack combined two of the season’s bag trends, and it paired perfectly with the rest of the floral collection.
Fanny packs at Marc Jacobs had a distinctly sporty feel. They were oversized and neon, and made of a plasticy, waterproof material. Fanny packs at Fenty x Puma were even more oversized, with enough space to fully replace a backpack.
#26. The Belt Bag
Distinct from the fanny pack, a belt bag is of a pouch or coin purse that is attached to, but separated from the belt. It’s a much easier item to style, but it doesn’t have the size of a fanny pack. Think of it as your go-to choice for casual nights going dancing, because all it’ll carry is a bit of cash and maybe a phone.
At Givenchy, a tiny belt bag made of brown leather had a timeless, casual vibe, and it was a serious stand out in their bag collection. We also saw tiny belt bags for spring 2018 at Salvatore Ferragamo, but they had a more modern vibe thanks to a rounded shape and thick metal detailing.
We saw a larger belt bag on the Noon by Noor runway. It was connected to a belt looped around the waist twice, and was made of black snakeskin – in other words, it looked expensive and chic.
We also saw spring 2018 belt bags at Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Public School and more.
#27. Round Bags
When it comes to smaller handbags, a rounder shape can be extra cute! We saw all manner of rounded and circular bags in the spring 2018 purse trends.
At Alice + Olivia, these round bags were delicate and feminine, thanks to gorgeous crochet designs, and gold trims. Impossibly, the circle bags at Delpozo were even more adorable. They were quite small – just about hand-sized, and covered in textured, floral fabric appliques and some beaded tassels.
The bags on the Mansur Gavriel runway, made of leather in various pastel shapes, had an innocent, mod feel. Their bottoms were straightened out, so while they were perfect circles, at least they could be set on the ground without falling over.
We also saw some rounded bags in the collections of Salvatore Ferragamo, Manish Arora, Anya Hindmarch, and more.
#28. Double Bagging (and Triple Bagging, and So On)
Sometimes a single bag just doesn’t cut it, so it was quite nice to see designers give us all kinds of multi-bagging options that are stylish rather than bag-ladyish.
We’re used to multi-bagging from previous seasons, but for the spring/ summer 2018 bags there was one new variation: Fendi’s multi-pouch bag. It was a single, primary leather handbag, with multiple, multi-colored smaller pouches attached to a long handle – perfect for holding coins and other knickknacks.
At Chloe, we saw bags that seemed to me especially ideal for travellers. Two envelope-style pouches were attached to each other, one above the other, in a design that could be easily carried over the shoulder, or hung and reached into.
#29. Animal Bags
Bags shaped like animals are not just for toddlers on leashes. As part of the spring 2018 bag trends, there were all kinds of cool and adorable animals represented in the form of purses and backpacks.
At the Philipp Plein show, for example, models carried tiny backpacks shaped like teddy bears. To avoid an overly cutesy effect, the bags were made of black leather and had details like eyes and paws created out of dozens of tiny crystals. We also got some adorable dog purses from Thom Browne that were slightly moderated by black leather.
Another favorite was a straw crocodile bag that was part of the Kate Spade collection, pairing nicely with the demure dresses in casual patterns. We saw a powerful, abstract take on animal bags at the Emporio Armani show, with bags in the shape of the label’s eagle symbol.
#30. Sweet Pastel Purses
Pastels are a natural color choice for the warmer seasons, because they feel so cool and they really allow the eye to rest. Many designers opted to make spring 2018 pastel colors a key part of the spring 2018 bag trends, in a variety of designs.
Pastel pink was the shade used for the loose hobo bags at Tom Ford, although a touch of black on the large zippers made sure the bags weren’t too sickly sweet.
The whole Acne Studios collection was rich in pastel shades, so matching bags made sense. We saw many different types of handbags in shades of pastel green, pink, yellow, and blue.
It was a similar situation at Victoria Beckham, where simple pastel bags made of solid leather went perfectly with the draped, pastel collection.
#31. Striped Bags
You really cannot go wrong with stripes as a bag design element. Stripes are bold and powerful, but they can also be fun and whimsical, depending on the colors, and the type of bag they’re decorating. While this design element is not great for evening bags, it is excellent for daytime to exude power and uniqueness.
At Tory Burch, horizontal stripes decorated all manner of leather handbags, in bright primary colors that matched the outfits worn in the collection.
We saw simple, red and white striping on the day bags at Kate Spade that worked well with the beachy theme of the collection. Straw bags at Emilio Pucci, covered in vertical pastel stripes were equally beach-perfect.
Other labels to feature striped bags included Marques’ Almeida, Celine, Proenza Schouler, and many more.
#32. Undercover Bags
There are always some great bags that simply don’t look like bags. For the spring/ summer 2018 handbag trends these were some of the funnest creations.
The best of all was a shiny little clutch that looked like a roll of money as part of the Alexander Wang collection. Another favorite is a whimsical bag at Dolce & Gabbana that looked like a very ornate table lamp with a red velvet lampshade.
Probably the funniest was an air-freshener bag from Moschino, in yellow, with a floral pattern.
#33. Oversized Bags
Oversized bags can run the risk of looking bulky and inelegant. However, the spring 2018 bags that had been super-sized were made in such clever designs and gorgeous fabrics that they looked totally stylish.
The oversized bags at Celine were especially sophisticated, because they had been made of clean leather or solidly colored fabric with a single, simple print element.
There were large, comfy looking gray shopper bags at Celine. Lastly, at MSGM, we saw oversized backpacks in prints matching the outfits, which seemed like an awesome choice for travellers.
Photos via Vogue, Livingly