Who Will Design the Last Bag I Ever Buy?

New York titans (Tory Burch, Coach) and cult-beloved independents (Kallmeyer, Puppets and Puppets) all volunteered options.

A model walks at Tory Burch with a white buckled tote bag
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Welcome to The Runway RecapMarie Claire editors’ daily rundown of the best and most closet-worthy collections we’re seeing at fashion month.

Each season, I attend New York Fashion Week hoping the best handbag I see will end a longstanding compulsion to buy just one more. My closet doors don't shut all the way because they're overstuffed with novelty bags, tweed crossbodies, and metallic minaudières; I've been known to look at a half-moon bag and declare, "This will solve all my problems!"—ignoring that I have two close cousins sitting in their dust bags at home.

The It-bag industrial complex and a fresh crop of runway collections usually play into my worst tendencies, but fall 2024's first accessories might just finally satisfy my craving. Brands seem to have stopped designing in pursuit of a cult following or online virality; they returned to thinking about what women need to carry throughout their days, injected a little brand-specific personality, and hoped attention would follow. They definitely caught mine—enough that I saw pieces I'd want to not just wear, but keep.

Two models carrying bags

Designers found ways to give everyday styles a sense of personality, from Tory Burch (left) to Puppets and Puppets (right).

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After a few seasons of novelty bags designed for maximum TikTok impact, Coach's show yesterday returned to the quilted crossbodies and gigantic leather totes for living offline. The best looks channeled the kind of aloof commuter I like to think I am, layered with three pieces of outerwear (hoodie, mid-length gabardine coat, long leather coat) and doubled-up bags (one giant leather weekender, one smaller flap bag). That said, creative director Stuart Vevers couldn't resist styling in some social media candy. A few bags were strung with oversize charms shaped like New York City's most recognizable symbols: a glistening red apple, a yellow taxi cab, and the Statue of Liberty.

A model walks on the Coach runway with doubled up bags

Coach gave up the novelty shapes from past seasons (stars, dog bones, hearts) in favor of classic flap bags and oversize leather totes.

(Image credit: Coach)

Puppets and Puppets' show was a "Goodbye to All That" essay in fashion show form. Founder Carly Mark is exiting ready-to-wear, moving her business to London, and refocusing accessories after her fall 2024 collection. While mourning the loss of her sequined pannier dresses and darkly humorous prints, she made showgoers a promise that her bags will remain excellent (and slightly unhinged).

Puppets is largely known for its top-handle bags embellished with photorealistic foods: cookies, carrots, pieces of cake. Mark started to explore what her accessories could look like beyond those cult favorites to shop-worthy effect. Several models carried "Thing 2" bags, shoulder styles with an asymmetrically wavy base; others carried totes that could never be typecast as "classic," "basic," or worst of all, "too commercial" with their embossed silver and gold metallic prints. Both silhouettes had functional proportions—but they kept the off-kilter energy that makes Puppets and Puppets a brand New York will miss.

A model walks the Puppets & Puppets runway with a gold tote bag, a fur coat, and khaki pants

Puppets & Puppets also took a step back from novelty shapes to display metallic tote bags and wavy shoulder bags.

(Image credit: Puppets & Puppets)

On Tory Burch's fall 2023 runway, models carried top handle bags with intentionally broken logo buckles. One year later, Burch asked shoppers to wear down their purses themselves. The Toryssaince turned away from pre-patinaed novelty bags toward ladies-who-lunch rectangular satchels in off-kilter colors (electric blue, dazzling white). They're multifunctional yet elegant, with a palette and a touch of Lee Radziwill-era inspiration that could be happily mistaken for a grail you dug up at a vintage store.

A model walks down the Tory Burch runway in a blue dress with a coordinating blue bag

Tory Burch models carried two bag silhouettes: rectangular totes with unfastened Lee Radziwill-esque buckles and rounded top handle bags covered in a cage of leather belts.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Daniella Kallmeyer has gained a close, devoted following for her attention to what working women really want to wear. In the conversation around her precisely tailored suits and close-fitting draped dresses, fashion week attendees tend to overlook her accessories. That's a mistake her Thursday morning presentation at La Mercerie corrected.

Bags were impossible to miss as models walked and posed with slouchy suede clutches and one exaggeratedly oversize leather bag just feet away from guests tucked into velvet-coated booths. Zip-top suedes and buttery totes sit on shelves all over New York, yet Kallmeyer's came with a sense of cool anonymity. (Helped in part by the way models reverently held them to their sides.) Just like her ready-to-wear, Kallmeyer's bags took a category most shoppers know and love and made them feel the opposite of basic.

A Kallmeyer model wears a structured vest, black pants, and an oversize leather tote bag

Through styling and sheer energy, Kallmeyer brought sex appeal to the most understated tote bags and clutches.

(Image credit: Kallmeyer)

Fashion houses are never going to stop churning out new bags to tempt me: They're one of the few items that anyone at any size can buy and wear as a walking billboard, among other accounting sheet considerations. But there's a line between real desire for something new and absentminded consumption because it's new. Yesterday's runways brought out bags that are worth crossing over that line for—just one more time.

Halie LeSavage
Senior News Editor (Fashion & Beauty)

Halie LeSavage is the senior news editor at Marie Claire, where she assigns, edits, and writes fashion and beauty stories. Her reporting has ranged from in-depth designer profiles to fashion week reviews and research-backed shopping guides. (She justifies almost any purchase by saying it’s “for work.”) Halie has previously held fashion writer and editor roles at Harper’s BazaarMorning Brew, and Glamour. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Harvard College. You can follow Halie on Instagram and TikTok.