I’m a handbag monogamist. I’ve never been one to hoard a large collection in my wardrobe nor have I ever found the need to match every clutch to my shoes. Even during my years of shameful fast-fashion expendables, my handbag was never a part of it. Rather, I saw my trusty side-saddler as a robust companion. An invest-and-keep-and-wear-with-everything type accessory. It would fringe the realms of trend, of course, but mostly it was its ability to get the job done – day and night through work and play – that made it truly worthy.
The path to finding The One, however, can be plagued by imperfect suitors. If there was a match-making reality show dedicated to such romance we’d see the quirky tasseled slouches, the overly-trendy-yet-cheaply-made statement bags and the eye-wateringly-sequinned party minaudières all dazzle us before we finally realised our perfect (reliable yet super-attractive) bag-mate. Such commitment to accoutrement is respectably sustainable, too. Choosing one superior handbag to tote and love for years not only drastically reduces environmental impact but with all the cost-per-wear rationalising you could allow extra budget for extra quality. But…how do we find this One?
In 1898 a small luggage company was founded in Cologne, Germany. From the outset, its travel cases were developed with exceptional quality but it was a factory fire in the early 1930s that serendipitously changed their future. The fire destroyed most product materials, leaving only the aluminium. Taking this life/lemons scenario, RIMOWA (an acronym of the founder’s name) then came to be the first company to develop aluminium hard-case suitcases – a move that eventually led to their signature grooved exterior. It was a revolutionary step for an industry previously limited by heavy leather cases and timber trunks. By 2000, the company went even further to reengineer their iconic wheelie hard-case Cabin Bag from polycarbonate – a super lightweight, durable thermoplastic. Now, in 2021, RIMOWA enters the handbag atmosphere. Having already created a unique, hard-case polycarbonate small bag that ties back with their luggage, this new venture is offering a crossbody that’s ready for action at home and abroad.
Having participated in collaborations with labels like Off-White, Supreme, Chaos and Fendi as well as a capsule within Moncler’s ‘Genius’ activation in 2020, RIMOWA knows how to manoeuvre into the psyche of taste makers. In fact, RIMOWA could be the Moncler of luggage, with their knack for keeping things fresh alongside a string of innovative artists. This attention to the zeitgeist, as well as an effortless coolness, is the recipe for instant status – and the new Never Still range sits right in the sweet spot. Engineered from cowhide leather and water-repellent canvas, the streamlined buckled flap bag sports debossed RIMOWA grooves, bespoke metallic hardware and sophisticated point à cheval hand-stitching along the leather. It has plentiful room for modern commodities, a handy exterior zip pocket and, with the assistance of its “maximum comfort” adjustable strap, also becomes…a crossbody.
Personally, I’m a crossbody enthusiast. If I was to choose a bag to have and to hold from this day forward in sickness and in health it would, without doubt, be a crossbody. This staple style is a kind of third arm. Before long, you develop a co-dependency with it. You trust it with your life (read: phone) and it’s always ready for a credit card/face-mask quick draw. Even if my day calls for a larger carry-all, I’ll wield my handsfree companion in conjunction.
With its charming good looks and flawless utility (in three chic colourways, too – black, mango and cactus) the Never Still is a tough contender for The One. Unbeatable, perhaps. With luggage fans in Amal Clooney, Cara Delevingne, Bella Hadid and Alessandra Ambrosia, it has a good pedigree. Its ancestors travelled the high seas to reach international shores and they were around for the first years of aviation, and, a century on, it’s this lasting style and honed architecture that makes a RIMOWA acquisition more worthy than ever.
The rise of conscious shopping means purchasing supremely crafted technical wearables is now at the core of futurist consuming. To represent an item today is to fledge its many benefits, not simply its look. What does it do? How does it feel? How long will it last? Urban utility is no longer a byproduct of a fleeting GORPcore trend, or a cute irony, instead fashion functionality has come full circle.
The most unicorn part of the Never Still range however, is that it is as good looking as it is earnest. Equal parts work and play. Suitably intrepid and domesticated. It’s the kind of suitor you think could only exist in dreams – it’s the Keanu Reeves of handbags. In other words, don’t let it be the one that got away.
SHOP THE COLLECTION: The RIMOWA Never Still Crossbody Flap Bag and the RIMOWA Never Still Tote in Mango and Sand are available worldwide at selected stores and online. In Australia, shop the range at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 2 8072 9083 for a virtual appointment and to arrange their distance selling service. RIMOWA.com
Photography: Sevak Babakhani
Fashion Direction: Kim Payne
Hair & Makeup: Nicola Burford
Model: Jose / Priscillas