A Bag Returns From the Year 2000

Fashion Week is back in full force, and there’s a lot to see. Blink (or scroll too fast on Instagram) and you’ll miss the details: tiny bags, tall shoes, feathered hats, leather capes and diamond dog collars. So as part of a new series, Wow Moment, we’ll spotlight things we saw on the runways that delighted or mystified us.

PARIS — The new Valentino bracelet bag is meant to be seen in movement, wind rippling through its ostrich feathers, light catching the sheen of its silk satin and the sparkle of its embroidered crystals as it swings from the hand of some glamorous person. (This person may not be naturally or holistically glamorous, but the bag alone could make it so.)

It is decadent. It is couture. It is also not technically new.

The piece, which appeared at Valentino’s spring 2022 show on Friday night, is a reproduction of a bag designed by the brand’s founder, Valentino Garavani, in 2000 — one of several items that the current designer, Pierpaolo Piccioli, said he decided “needed to be seen and worn again.” It was remade (not redesigned) as part of his Valentino Archive project, which also resurrected and then reproduced for this show a miniskirt set from the 1960s and airy gowns from the 1970s.

The 2021 version of the bracelet bag appeared in neon green and purple, matching the electrified colors used for oversize shirts and pleated gowns throughout the collection. Its 900 dégradé dyed ostrich feathers were reminiscent of the large, much-applauded, jellyfish-like Philip Treacy-designed hats that Valentino debuted in its couture collection a few years ago. Harder to see on the runway was the bag’s bejeweled snake — another original Valentino motif — wrapping around the top of the metallic bracelet handle, which the brand said was made with 295 Swarovski crystals and green enamel to recreate the serpent’s scales.

Given the clothes-wearing public’s current hunger for all things Y2K, it’s no surprise that one of the most eye-catching Valentino Archive pieces came from the 2000 couture collection.

Yet there is something timeless about the flamboyant design; glamour is glamour, and it may also come as no surprise that Elizabeth Taylor owned two of the original bracelet bags. They were sold at auction after her death for $9,000 in brown and $13,750 in pink.

While the price of the new bag wasn’t immediately available, the style (or an unsettlingly similar copy) sometimes appears on resale websites, such as a mint-condition coral version that sold on Poshmark for $1,450 — likely a steal, comparatively.

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