Friday, 16 January 2015

The Power of Charm(s)

Cara Delevingne and a Fendi Karl Bug 

The picture above is not of a child's soft toy but of an uber expensive fox and mink handbag charm. Big enough to cover model Delevingne's face (should that be her fancy) it would dwarf nearly any bag you would care to place it on. That was last year's prize. This year it's all about the Hermes Rodeo horse charm, the GM would be bigger than most children's first teddy bears.

Charms are going through a revival at the moment, maybe it's a backlash against all the handbag minimalism. Ten years ago, in the thrall of fashion's maximalism, bags were multicoloured, had bits all over them along with their logos and were undressed without a scarf and tinkerly doo-dah hanging from its handle. For a few years major fashion and leather goods houses have removed all but their name from their 'stealth chic' bags on pain of fashion death. So forgive me for thinking it is strange to have most companies remove all defining features and hardware from their bags for reasons of (commercial) aesthetics and simplicity only to have their customers hang 1, 2, 3 or more huge bright fluffy objects on their bags.

The Fendi Bug up-close, was a beautifully made little creature, comprised of little bits of otherwise useless very expensive fur that probably graced the cutting room floor of Fendi furrier. On the positive side, it was nice to see Fendi recycling and the limited numbers available, and on the negative, the millions of cheaper copies, there is a part of me that has found the craze for pretend animals made from real animal's fur disturbing, even though the originals were made of leftovers. That was last year's craze, this year we have the multicoloured Hermes Rodeo, a similar shape as their baby toy Herpluch (no eyes for baby's mouth to munch on) but for adults. The Grand Model will blot out most of your 35cm bag, of course, handy for hiding those stubborn stains or scratches. These have taken over as the new VVVIP contraband in stores, and people are exchanging large (over retail) amounts of cash for these bright leather horses (or should that be ponies) on the re-sale market.

What do I think? I think there is a time and place for everything.  Some of the most celebrated handbags came with their own intrinsic charm. The Hermes Kelly and Birkin with their cloche and padlock, the Gucci New bamboo Top-handle with it's removable tassel, both good examples of matching or coordinating danglies that dress the bag to make it look more chic. Nothing wrong with a Fendi Bug, a H Rodeo or whatever will be the next 'it' charm either, on the right LARGE bag. Notice I wrote 'a' denotin singular,  a whole herd of Rodeos or whatever the collective name for monster bugs on a bag and the funny farm can only be one step away.

Choosing for your charm offensive:

1. Charms shouldn't scratch your bags or make 'smiles' as they swing
2. A charm should echo the 'personality' of you bag not clash.
3. The plainer the bag the more eye-catching the charm will be.
4. Scarf OR charm. If you need twillys/ribbons to protect costly/vintage/light coloured handles perhaps wrap in the same colour as the bag or wear gloves instead.
5. For expensive charms think about whether you will still use it if it goes out of fashion and whether you could add it to a number of bags.
6. Like everything, don't get 'carried away' (no pun intended) only buy what chimes with your own character, fashion should never dictate.
7. Be careful around children and pets, they will love to play with your costly/beloved charm.
8. Think about the shape and proportions of the bag and buy a charm accordingly. Getting the shape right is just as important as the colour
9. Allow the charm/s to make your bag more versatile, even the same charm in a different colour will change your look.
10. Don't 'borrow' a child's toy as tempting as it maybe. You may have bought it but it's not actually yours ;-).


  1. I thought I was anti charm- until I realise I have a Pegasus lock for my kelly and I love it. But not keen on large furry animals hanging off anyone's bag, especially the real furry ones which I find quite disturbing...

  2. I have to agree with you, I also think the smaller charms work better on most bags. You are indeed very lucky, one of those is perfectly in-keeping with a Kelly. I had opportunity to buy those lovely Pegasus cadenas a few years ago, and from what I remember they were (almost) at a reasonable price point. One of my major regrets is that I didn't, well done for having the foresight. My only 'stand alone' charm is a all leather Flot de Cheval but it needs a pretty big and simple bag to carry it (literally LOL). For me the key is affect and effect, trying to keep simple and in-keeping, but of course everyone has their own style (I guess)

  3. I would never hang a charm on my handbag, or wrap my handles with Twillies. I did however have two bespoke bags made by Hermes (not exactly how I wanted them; but who am I to question their craft?) that allows me to use my scarves and twillies as part of their design.