In your clutches


Staff member
These tiny evening bags may not seem like practical investments but carrying them makes a flashy statement

Hollywood's Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lopez flaunt them, so do Bollywood's Aishwarya Rai and Sonam Kapoor. And now flashy, bejewelled and palm-sized clutch bags have made it to every fashion fanatic's wardrobe — never mind if they defy practicality.

"The explosion of tiny evening bags has been a blessing for women who only need to carry basic items for a short span of the evening — such as the mobile phone, car keys, lipgloss and a little cash. But the latest designs today are more an object of art, a statement piece rather than just a ‘bag'", Saraswathi Arjunan, said an official of gordonMax Crysthelo evening bags.

No doubt clutches have been around in all shapes and sizes for the past few years. However it is the tiny, hard-bound, crystal-studded, expensive variety that is catching the fancy of many nowadays.

Of course, they are statement pieces. How else would one explain a pure gold clutch, encrusted with real rubies and diamonds, owned by jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali?

"I own a real ruby, diamond and gold clutch presented to me by someone. That is the most expensive clutch I own," Ali said.

But how practical is it?

"Usually I only keep my lipstick, house keys, mobile and a compact. I agree it is not a practical investment, but fashion never is. It is all about feeling good," she said.

It's all about appeal

Even socialite Riddhima Kapoor, daughter of Bollywood veterans Rishi and Neetu Kapoor, believes "nothing usually fits into a palm-sized clutch ... maybe just a gloss".

"Having one or two is good enough. I wouldn't consider it a practical investment," she added.

But Arjunan says evening bags are not really about practicality.

"Evening bags actually got their start as a coin purse hung from a girdle around the waist. The thing that differentiates the evening bag from a regular handbag is that evening bags have always had a certain status appeal and do not take practicality into consideration," she said.

Large, pocketed clutch bags ruled the roost for quite some time before paving the way for much smaller, blingy versions.

"Earlier one used to see women going out mostly with their husbands, brothers or boyfriends, but things have really changed. They move out with their own set of friends and colleagues and don't always need to carry a big bag as there are minimal things to carry — her credit cards, mobile phone, money, house keys and some make-up such as a lipstick.

"So a clutch is appropriate in terms of practicality and looks trendy too," said Nina Lekhi, CEO of bags and accessories brand Baggit.

Growing demand

Lekhi says her brand of clutches witnesses a boost of 18-20 per cent during the partying season in winter but she has seen an annual growth of around 8 per cent.

Shivani Gaur, a 25-year-old, is a regular at parties. She said: "It becomes really hard to manage a sling bag at discotheques, where you like to let your hair down. But a clutch is small, holds the important things you need and looks stylish. It's nice to have it in different colours and in metallic tones for it to go with all dresses."

Gaur's mother borrows her clutches at times for weddings and other family functions — so they are conducive for all age groups — from 16 to even above 60.

"Even if a clutch doesn't hold much, what's the harm? It looks good and attracts attention. What more do girls want?" said Rakhi Sachdeva, a marketing executive.