Good news, girls! Summer’s straw bag has gotten a makeover! Say goodbye to those boxy or trapezoidal bucket-like bags that make a grown woman look like a college prep. And if straw gives you ‘Nam flashbacks to that shapeless tote granny brought back from the Bahamas — the one with the colorful 3D flowers or embroidered island women carrying fruit on their heads — think again!
Gone are the gaudy designs that seem like a good purchase after a few margarita’s in Cabo —those Mexican market finds snatched up in the excitement of travel, only to become knitting bags when we return to real life.
The 21st Century straw bag is sophisticated and sleek. And sometimes, it’s not made of straw at all. Today’s “straw bag” can be crafted with raffia, reeds, sea grass, rattan, even aromatic roots.
One definite bonus to today’s straw-like bags is that they are not only stylish, but much lighter to carry than leather. Different weaves create different patterns and textures, and many are topped with exotic wooden closures that add sculptural elements that turn your bag into a work of art.
From a loomed seagrass clutch to a rattan satchel trimmed with rosewood and brass, there’s a straw-like bag to fit every personality. And if you’re worried that these bags can’t be sturdy, think again. Rattan is used to make furniture!
Zoey Bloom’s unique collection of summer bags includes an adorable framed wicker satchel by Serpui Marie. Made in Spain, this is definitely not your granny’s straw bag! It features a bright orange handle that gives it a pop of color and a fashion edge! With a stitched leather flap and antique brass turnlock closure, this retro chic satchel is lined in soft khaki duckcloth that is so durable, they make tents out of the same material!
More exotic designs include a line of exquisite handbags made of vetiver root. Vetiveria zizaniodes is a scented tufted grass with an abundant fibrous root system. For centuries it has been used in cosmetics, aromatherapy, botanical pesticides, disinfectants, herbal drinks and, more recently, in handicrafts and home décor.
Famous perfume brands like Guerlain, Dior, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy use vetiver oil as a valuable ingredient. In traditional medicine it is known for its calming effects, as an antidepressant, and as an aphrodisiac. And in Asia it is also commonly used as insect repellant.
Mountain grown and harvested in Java, Indonesia, the vetiver roots are dried in the sun and hand woven by artisans. Each bag features a hand loomed cotton lining and rosewood accessories and/or handles. The shoulder bags use genuine cowhide straps for comfort and durability.