Beaded bags are the thing to have this summer. Picture: Susan Alexandra Instagram

Slouchy crochet bags and wicker baskets have dominated the summer scene for the past year or two, but beaded bags are fast taking over as the hottest accessory for the season.

Key Influencers in the fashion industry have their Instagram feeds dotted with snaps of themselves sipping cappuccinos in quaint cafes, observing New York Fashion Week from the front row and getting bronzed in bikinis on white-sand beaches. But, no matter the gal, guy, nor the destination, there’s always a common item featured at arm's length and that is a statement bag. 

“It bag” - a term that has garnered enough online and media attention to warrant having its own Wikipedia page - describes the sellout, logo-heavy, high-priced designer handbags with trademark silhouettes that were often seen slung around the wrists of the likes of Paris Hilton and the Kardashians in the early to mid-2000s. These days, however, the bag market is saturated with more options, availability and charm than ever before, resulting in popular purse styles no longer having to boast hefty price tags to possess that highly coveted appeal. 

From micro-bags to clear plastic totes, unconventional “it bags” have been popular for a while, and joining the party for the summer of 2019, are beaded bags. 

Resurrected by Susan Korn of the fashion label, Susan Alexandra, the style is reminiscent of the 90s (like most trends as of late) and first made appearances during summer 2018, going viral after celebrity sponsorships from the Hadid sisters. With bead strung totes and clutches only gaining momentum, the movement has been implemented for this season, too.

Gigi Hadid with Susan Alexandra beaded tote bag. Picture: Instagram.

Chunky wooden beads, dreamy faux pearl or funky translucent plastic, the looks are so playful they can elevate any outfit with a touch of garishness that’s equal parts whimsical and fashion-forward to the point of being edgy. Mainstream retailers like Topshop and Zara, have been quick to adopt the '90s bag so you’ll easily find them in a range of designs, colours, and prices, from a R 4 500 Loeffler Randall option to a R 900 dupe at your local mall.

As for the heir to the beaded throne, Korn is delving into unchartered territory, as far as her own career, by launching a “small capsule line of ready-to-wear that incorporates her rainbow-coloured beading techniques”, according to a September interview with Vogue. The range of beaded bras and crop tops as well as pedal pushers and shirts embroidered with beaded fruit that was released alongside her Spring 2020 accessories at New York Fashion Week last month. 

We’re certain everything from coats to shoes and sunglasses are going to be encrusted with beading soon. 

Five beaded bags we absolutely love:

Ravelo Pearl Bag
R 5 334 from ekrdesigns.com

Pearl beaded bag in metallic purple with a matching removable drawstring satin pouch and 5-inch drop handle. Pair it with a summery midi skirt for a daytime look or spice things up with a little black dress and heels. 

Cerise Woven Bag
R 3 751 from www.harrods.com

Blurring the lines between polished and artisanal, Aranaz has created the Cerise bag to allow you to live your life in luxury. A rich combination of wood and wicker, the rectangular design forms clean lines with a fun, beaded effect. Large enough to carry your essential belongings, allow it to accompany you on your next adventure in nature.

Beaded belt bag
R 3 188 from www.net-a-porter.com

Vanina aims to give back to communities through local craftsmanship - that's why each bag bears the name of the woman who handcrafted it. Woven with smooth wooden beads, this retro "Amini" belt bag is tipped with gold tassels that secure around your waist. Wear it on vacation or to your next festival.

Multicoloured crossbody bag
R 359 from www.zara.com


Multicoloured beaded crossbody bag. Magnetic clip closure. Fabric interior lining. Top handles and shoulder strap.

Parfait beaded tote
R 5 156 from www.selfridges.com

Candy coloured in pastel hues, this bag looks good enough to eat. You only need to see the Parfait tote to tell that this is the bag of the summer. Arranged into colour-blocked stripes and held by two matching carry handles, you’ll stand out from the crowd when pairing it with a playful print blouse, faded denim and croc-embossed leather boots.