CASE STUDIES: THE LONDON SQUARE

In the latest in our series delving into the stories behind Globe-Trotter designs, we explore the evolution of our most colourful and versatile accessory to date

Like many modern inventions and luxuries, the handbag can trace its roots to ancient Egypt. Although, the word ‘handbag’ may be too lofty for the rudimentary sacks the ancient Egyptians wore around their waists to carry tools and practical items. One of the earliest known examples of a more quintessential handbag is a beautifully detailed brass clutch from 14th century Iran. But the modern handbag as we know and love it today didn’t really come to prominence until the 19th century.

“With the advent of train travel, people suddenly required luggage of all shapes and sizes. ”

With the advent of train travel, people suddenly required luggage of all shapes and sizes. So not only did suitcases — and Globe-Trotter — come about during this golden age of travel, but smaller, more portable bags, which came to be known as handbags, also first appeared. While Globe-Trotter is synonymous with suitcases, bags and accessories are also an integral part of our story.

Launched in 2017, the London Square is Globe-Trotter’s signature handbag. Standing at a petite yet eminently practical 7 inches, the London Square emulates the suitcases in style and colour and is made from our patented vulcanised fibreboard with the same handmade leather corners, straps and handle. Named after London’s public squares as a nod to Globe-Trotter’s made-in-Britain heritage, the London Square is the latest iteration of the 9” Utility Case. This portable square-shaped bag originated as the 1998 Mini Diana case, which was made in honour of the late princess, inspired by one of her square hat boxes.

Two inches smaller than the Utility, the London Square also introduced a leather shoulder strap to wear across the body, and a deeper drop handle for increased mobility. Like the suitcases, the London Square has no internal pockets but is roomy enough to hold all the essentials, with a clever detachable internal strap that holds everything in place when the bag is opened via a metal clasp.

In late 2019, Globe-Trotter launched the special-edition Paul Smith London Square as part of the veteran designer’s larger luggage collection. In January 2020, actress Susan Sarandon was spotted sitting front row with the colourful bag at the designer’s 50th anniversary catwalk show in Paris.

Photo by J M HAEDRICH/SIPA/Shutterstock (10530785q)

Aside from this collaboration, the London Square has so far only been available in core Globe-Trotter colours alongside two special-edition The Goring and Amethyst versions. That is until now.

This September, Globe-Trotter launched a limited edit of the London Square in vibrant and imaginative colourways. The creative team, led by Globe-Trotter designer Charlotte Seddon, wanted to launch something ‘positive and colourful’ while shifting the focus from suitcases to more everyday products.

“Since its introduction in 2017, the London Square has become a firm favourite and a staple item in all our collections”

‘Since its introduction in 2017, the London Square has become a firm favourite and a staple item in all our collections,’ Charlotte explains. ‘We introduced the seven new colourways as limited editions to add excitement, a splash of colour and some fun to our offering. The inspiration for the bags started with envisioning the types of women using our London Square, then assigning a character to each one and designing the colour combinations accordingly. It was a new and interesting way of exploring new colour combinations for the London Square, some of which I would not have thought of before! I hope the vibrant colour spectrum of the new bags excite people, and perhaps inspire them to consider placing a bespoke order in their favourite colourway in a different size case.’

With the desire to create an ‘explosion of colour’, the team worked on seven new designs in bright shades such as turquoise green, lavender, and zesty saffron yellow, with complementary leather corners and handles. As an additional surprise, each new case also features a vibrant interior lining to complement the exterior. ‘The colour palette is “poppy” but chic,’ Charlotte explains. ‘Each one is very different and has a unique character.’

“The London Square Collection is stylish, sophisticated and unmistakably Globe-Trotter. But it also introduces playful, experimental elements”

The London Square Collection is stylish, sophisticated and unmistakably Globe-Trotter. But it also introduces playful, experimental elements. Alongside the collection, Globe-Trotter has also introduced a new edit of its travel stickers in miniature ‘domed’ versions — depicting Tokyo, Paris and Los Angeles among other places. It has also launched a miniature version of the popular leather luggage tag and five new striped webbing straps, which can be mixed and matched with the bags.

Image credit: Amalie Gassmann (@amalie_gassmann)

A handbag is more than a functional item. It expresses the wearer’s style and personality and can be the perfect finishing touch. The London Square is modern yet timeless, stylish yet practical and, just like a Globe-Trotter suitcase, is designed to be cherished and last a lifetime.

IN THE BAG: TOP 3 HANDBAG FACTS

• The world’s most expensive handbag is the 1001 Nights Diamond Purse, made by jewellers Mouawad. Featuring 4,517 diamonds, the bag entered the Guinness World Records in 2010 with its eye-watering price tag of US$3.8million.

• Zips didn’t appear on handbags until 1923. Before then, a simple drawstring mechanism was the primary way to keep your belongings secure.

• Apparently, 22% of the female population would choose to spend serious cash on a handbag if they were given the chance to splurge on one luxury item, compared to just 9% who chose shoes.

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