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Black Tie International: Now Trending With Alison Minton
Bags in Wicker, Straw & Palm

Now Trending
With Alison Minton
Bags in Wicker, Straw & Palm

A summer staple for eons (yes, the trend began in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt) the modern era of wicker and straw bags was ushered in during the mid-twentieth century by celebrities and socialites who carried them during luxurious summer getaways.  Wicker novelty bags were also in vogue in the shapes of monkeys, frogs, fish and more.  By the 70’s straw bags were mainstreaming for beach outings and vacations from coast to coast.  I remember my mother had a large straw bag that she bought while on vacation that became her beach tote. 

J. McLaughlin Romina Wicker CrossBody Bag. J. McLaughlin's many philanthropic partnerships include COVID-19 relief

J. McLaughlin Victoria Wicker Bag in Color Block. J. McLaughlin's many philanthropic efforts include making and donating masks to front line responders
J. McLaughlin Victoria Wicker Bag in Color Block. J. McLaughlin's many philanthropic efforts include making and donating masks to front line responders
Into The Woods Montauk Meadow Bag made by artisans in Indonesia & South America from ethically sourced palm

Into The Woods Tropical Jungle Bag made by artisans in Indonesia & South America from ethically sourced palm

KAZI Navy Grass Tote Bag made by African artisans from sustainable materials supports fair wages.jpeg

My wicker monkey bag, now vintage

 At the tender age of six I was given a monkey shaped wicker bag by a model in a fashion show my mother attended in St. Thomas.  All the models were carrying them during the show and afterwards they stepped off the runway and handed them to members of the audience.  That bag sat on a shelf in my closest for twenty-five years until I carried it to an event at the Central Park Zoo where the late, famous photographer Bill Cunningham photographed it for his column in The New York Times, ultimately inspiring me to research wicker novelty bags and to collect a zoo of them, many of which Mr. Cunningham photographed over the years. 

Given my fun memories with wicker bags and the easygoing summer vibe they connote, I look forward to taking them out of my closet annually and switching up my bag wardrobe.   This spring I was excited to see that wicker bags were forecast to be popular for the summer season.  I have been frequently using a large straw tote bag from the Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection from a number of years ago that I scored by stalking Target’s online store the moment the collection was released.  It makes me feel like I’m headed to the beach, even though the closest I’ve gotten to a body of water during this pandemic is in my own tea tree oil and lavender scented bathtub.  Even if you are not out East in the Hamptons or vacationing in Nantucket during this abysmal year of COVID-19, you can still savor a bit of the season with the wicker (and her close cousins straw, palm & grass) beauties showcased above.  There’s plenty of summer left to indulge and everyone wins by drawing one of these straws.


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