When it’s gloomy outside, the tendency to navigate towards cozy designs boasting plenty of cushioning (our handbags included) is understandable. But fashion’s obsession with puffer bags has long outlasted just one season or trend cycle. In fact, the power of puffer bags is becoming somewhat of a phenomenon, with a myriad of labels launching their own take on this famously squishy style. So what’s the secret to puffer bags’ continued appeal?
Origins of the Trend
The fashion crowd’s current fascination with puffer bags can largely be traced back to one design that debuted in the late 2010s. We’re talking about Bottega Veneta’s Pouch. Introduced for Spring/Summer 2019, it’s the care-free design that shook up the handbag status quo. It became one of the most memorable ‘It’ bags of the 2010s and put the house’s Creative Director at the time, Daniel Lee, on every fashion insider’s radar.
Launching at the end of an impressive decade for handbags that saw everything from the birth of the mini bag phenomenon to large-scale retro revivals, everyone wondered how a simple pouch could warrant such fashion fanfare.
Instead of flashy logos or intricate embroidery, the Bottega Veneta Pouch attracted cult-like appeal thanks to its minimalist design and construction, prioritizing versatility and comfort when carrying. A squishy, unstructured pouch designed to be carried anywhere presented a stark contrast to the slew of bags that were dominating the market at the time.
Of course, more brands became eager to capitalize on the pouch phenomenon, leading to relaxed designs, including Louis Vuitton’s Coussin introduced for Spring/Summer 2021, and the Fendi First, new for Fall/Winter 2021.
This supple pouch style has a lot in common with the puffer bags now atop the wish lists of handbag fanatics everywhere. Utilizing the same comfort and puffy exterior, puffer bags are an intriguing evolution of the slouchy, carefree carry-all the fashion set has come to know and love.
Evolution in Popularity
A cohort of new puffer bags have joined the ranks, drawing inspiration from coveted pillow-esque styles and ultra-casual puffer jackets alike. From Loewe to Louis Vuitton, there’s no shortage of brands eager to get it on the puffer bag hype.
Despite being lauded as a cozy companion to your winter coat, puffer bags aren’t just for the colder months. Whether crafted from nylon, leather, or shearling or featuring a shiny patent finish, puffer bags are fast becoming a favorite accessory for all seasons.
But what makes puffer bags so popular? A key appeal is the style’s simplicity and the ease with which labels are able to incorporate their signature motifs. Take the Prada padded tote. Constructed from a choice of recycled nylon or Nappa, it features geometric stitching to reveal a puffer effect featuring Prada’s triangle emblem.
The sign of a truly great handbag phenomenon is whether it suits the classics. Several brands have successfully launched puffer-style iterations of their tried and tested classic bags. One of the hottest examples is the Saint Laurent Loulou Puffer bag. A puffer variation of the French Maison’s fan-favorite flap bag first released in 2017, it retains all of the original’s signature design features with the addition of puffer jacket-inspired quilting, giving the style a coveted slouchy silhouette.
Louis Vuitton is another brand using its classics to experiment with the puffer style. The LV Pillow Speedy presents a unique and playful take on the label’s iconic silhouette that fuses cozy dressing with functionality.
The Future of Puffer Bags
It looks like the fashion crowd isn’t done with puffer bags yet. New on the horizon for Spring/Summer 2023 is an updated offering of Loewe’s Puffer Goya. A firm favorite since its induction into the handbag game for Fall/Winter 2021, this squishy flap style is now available in new proportions and materials as well as a webbed strap option.
So if you’re looking to invest in a puffer design that you’ll want to hold onto all year long, forget cozy coats and jackets and opt for a puffer bag instead.