Seeing as top handles are everywhere at the moment I recently did a piece comparing two classic top handles but then I naturally got to thinking what would be my pick of the bunch right now. When this unexpectedly came through the doors I naturally decided it would be an ideal place to start. The Gucci Sylvie was arguably the bag of 2016 and it seems to have set the tone for this year too. But this is the exotic skin version, aka high luxury, a plaything for the one percenters, which even for a seasoned handbag collector is pretty exciting.
Gucci is officially the hottest thing in fashion right now. Since the magnetic Alessandro Michele picked up the creative reigns in January 2015 it has been on a dazzling climb up the charts. His intense Autumn/Winter 2017 was possibly my favourite yet. It was a big-scale riot of cultures and styles from across the decades, as far back as Art Nouveau and as far forward as some sort of sci-fi vision of the future, as far east as Japan and as far west as New York (via Mongolia!) If there was one thing that united each look it was its loudness. As always, flowers had a heavy presence, in various shapes and sizes, as did tweed and that green and red stripe was there. As for the bags it was all top handles with the occasional clutch, carryall or case.
Gucci has been making first-rate handbags for decades but it was always lagging behind the likes of Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and even Céline. But the introduction of Michele’s debut bag in 2015, the Dionysus (my review here), a crossbody with the personality to challenge even the Chanel Flap, sent shockwaves through the big players. The follow-up Sylvie, from this time last year, was even more impressive.
Like the Dionysus, the Gucci Sylvie is a classic structured trapezoid cut but this time with a top handle and a statement gold-tone chain and buckle closure adapted from Gucci’s archives. It’s classic meets new and it has come in a number of eclectic combos, prints and colours which are Michele’s key to modernising. This season it has been reimagined with bamboo-style top handles, the Web ribbon and motifs from Gucci’s heritage, but again loudness is playing the central role. And so we come to the 2016 exotic which in glossy purple crocodile certainly ticks the loudness box.
It’s made in Italy and has all the feel of super luxe that you’d hope with the price. Michele doesn’t cut corners on quality and the alligator leather is delicious between the fingers—soft and supple with a semi-gloss finish. The purple makes a big statement but the buckle and Web ribbon instantly reveal its Gucci-ness and give it the modern twist it needs. Inside it’s a large, beige soft leather compartment with zip and smartphone pockets. It comes with a detachable shoulder strap with a 45 cm drop to give you the shoulder carry option.
Whether or not its my favourite of all the top handles out there I’m not decided, but I’d go Sylvie in some shape or form and the exotic is always exciting, especially if you have the financial means to play at that level. One thing is sure though, you probably won’t find a more suitable high luxe pre-loved option for autumn/winter 2017.
For more information on handbag trends and luxury pre-loved handbags follow our magazine or visit Xupes pre-loved handbag boutique.