Once upon a time in fashion, bag collectors only ever invested on hyped up “it” totes or satchels. Also not too long ago, the success of a designer bag hinged heavily on expensive advertising supplemented by images of the hottest celebrity carrying the latest arm candy. While this formula may still apply to most consumers, the truly fashion-forward have eschewed the “it” bag phenomena. Instead, they set out to find unique, striking accessories that convey a more intimate design narrative.
As early as the start of 2022, crochet, raffia and wicker bags were already dominating the fashion radar. Consumers were quick to spend their hard-earned pay cheques on the prescribed summer bags from major fashion houses. If you were to scroll through a luxury multi-brand e-commerce site like Net-A-Porter or Moda Operandi, you’ll immediately notice that save for the logos, emblems or leather trims, all summer totes have begun to look the same.
It was this lack of variety and connection to design that brought to light the inspired work of Marina Raphael. Born into the sixth generation of the Swarovski family, the designer and founder of her namesake brand, has been merging the use of organic materials with her signature architectural shapes since 2018. Her debut collection, birthed the iconic Rivera bag, which embodies a design direction aimed at “engaging and exciting the mind.”
Each season following the launch, the brand has managed to steadily evolve and expand while staying faithful to their codes. This summer is no exception. Marina’s Spring Summer collection is a breath of fresh air after browsing through pages upon pages of the same overpriced wicker basket bags, raffia totes and market-inspired bags. Her collection, which she named Esmeralda, relives the beloved summer memories. They also transport senses to destinations high up on the bucket list this season. She shares, “I wanted to take you with me to Sardinia, to summer days ahead, by creating handbags that evoke memories of sun-kissed moments at the beach.”
The PORTER IN RAFFIA was conceived out of a desire to create the ultimate summer accessory. Made of honey raffia with Napa leather trims and white contrast stitching, it is a versatile staple that can take you from city to coast. Its distinctive structural silhouette is complemented by functional design details that include pockets, zipper closures, and adjustable leather straps.
The MICRO CARINA IN STRIPED CHAMPAGNE reimagines the icon patterns of sun beds and deck lounge chairs during the summertime into a bucket bag. Instead of the usual nautical fare, Raphael utilizes cream and champagne Napa to create striped patterns The result: an enduring statement accessory that tells us there is life after blue and white stripes.
The MICRO PORTER IN LASER CUT NAPA is a product of the brand’s first foray into laser cutting. Marina Raphael’s mini iteration of its signature holdall is brought to life by precision cut geometric shapes inspired by cafe tables and garden tiles of idyllic summer destination, Sardinia.
Just this month, Marina also introduced a capsule collection for summer, created in collaboration with ready-to-wear designer, Caroline Constas. The two met one summer in 2020 while at Amanzoe in Greece. Both natives of the Greek isles, they immediately bonded over a shared love for the country’s cerulean and white Aegean waters, lush olive groves, beautifully aged honey colored ruins. On that very same summer when they first met, the Caroline Constas X Marina Raphael collection was born.
“A color palette inspired by our heritage, and designs which represent elements of each of our unique styles, the collaboration with Caroline Constas is Greece encapsulated,” she shares. Easy and effortless designs by Marina are met by Caroline’s lively toile prints, flirtatious fringes, and romantic ruffles. Apart from pieces setting the mood for a summer to remember, the duo envisioned each bag as transitional accessories to take one from urban jungle to the sandy shores.
The MICRO CARINA IN NAPA features two signature designs from Marina and Caroline. The mini bucket bag is an iconic design of the bag designer intended for those who prefer to travel light throughout the day. It is refreshed by Caroline’s fleur prints in an earthy shade of beige and white. Napa leather trims, adjustable straps and top handles showcase the brand’s commitment to workmanship and quality. You’ll love how this bag can be worn in a multitude of ways–from a sunrise stroll along the shore to after sunset cocktails under the stars.
The CABANA IN WHITE PRINTED NAPA is a chic and compact box bag that empowers movement. It’s sized just so you can carry the bare essentials, which is often the best choice especially for a night of dancing. Caroline’s distinctive blue and white print along with detachable tassels add a feminine and fun touch to a petite statement piece that packs a punch.