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It might seem a little suspicious that after a bit of 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli satchel loving from a few notable sites, it's popped up here.  From here to the end of the post, it's one long line of defence because as most of you know, I'm notoriously dubious about so called IT bags.  The fact that one of the news stories about the Pashli was supported by that ubiquitous dangling carrot in the bag selling world – "It's sold out and already has a waiting list!" – should have had me running for the hills.

What has normally got me riled up about bags hailed as 'IT'  in the past pretty much concurs with the assessment of what I regard as a fairly dated phenomenon by Tomas Maier, creative director of Bottega Veneta, quoted from the brilliant New Yorker piece. "The It Bag is a totally marketed bullshit crap.  You make a bag, you put all the components in it that you think could work, you send it out to a couple of celebrities, you get the paparazzi to shoot just when they walk out of their house. You sell that to the cheap tabloids, and you say in a magazine that there's a waiting list.  I don't believe that's how you make something that's lasting – that becomes iconic as a design."

I'm more interested in seeing the meaning of IT transfer to the bag itself.  What makes it IT shouldn't be who carries it, the length of the waiting list it has garnered and in some cases the shock value of how many figures it can reach in price but instead, we should look at the bag itself to weigh up what makes IT worth the smackeroons we're forking out for it.    

In the case of Phillip Lim's Pashli satchel, despite the IT chit chat, it is a design born totally out of function and not out of frippery, an idea that took hold of me as I looked at my own collection of fun/novelty bags that didn't actually function that well.  "It stemmed from the idea of motorcycle bags, every detail has a function and it is ultimately a pragmatic bag.  It goes back to the lifestyle of the Phillip Lim girl ‚Äì she is a working girl, she is real she wears things from day to night from day to day.  For me it is really important for the bag to work for the wearer and not the other way round." explains Lim.  

Cue a design that on some blogs has claimed vague comparisons to Celine's Luggage Tote, something I don't seem to see having copped a feel of both.  If anything there is an improvement on structure faciliated by the main feature of the bag which are the zippered gussets.  Zipped up, the bag takes on a slightly formal form and then you tell it to relax a bit and the zippers come down to a) give you a bit more room and b) slouches the whole thing so it doesn't look so prissy.

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I don't see many pinked edges in bags.  Along with the grainy leather, they contribute a sort of neat ruggedness – yes, I need to get oxymoronic when talking cluelessly about bags…   

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If I'm not superb at getting technically descriptive about bags like the Bag Snob girls do then all I can say is that I 'feel' quality in the bag.  Everywhere my fingers run up and down the bag, in manner of naff erotically charged Magnum adverts (does one really run their fingers up a chocolate ice cream lolly?), it just feels good – the zippers zip good, the clasp clasps good, the handle handles good – you get the idea.  Bag done good.  I don't really know exactly how the price difference of a four to five figure bag translates in feel and use and whether it is say ten times better in feel/quality as the  a more moderately priced bag as the Pashli is.  

Phillip Lim has of course made a name in bridging high-end with affordable, forging a middle ground in fashion that purposely means you get bang for your buck and likewise the bag at around ¬£600 adheres to that USP.  It's not by any means 'cheap', but at this stage with how I value the worth of a 'working' bag, one that is supposed to have stuff chucked in it on a daily basis to use with brutal and negligent force (I'm a user and abuser unfortunately when it comes to bags…), then the price seems almost reasonable in comparison to the four/five-figure stonkers that are available…  

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I've never owned a 'chuck everything in and hope for the best' sort of bag because I don't mind splitting up the weight between totes and smaller bags.  However in choosing the Pashli to lose my 'all-purpose, all-carrying' bag virginity with, I expect it to be able to hold quite a bit of heft.  This will probably be the average amount of crap I'll lug around (about 5kg) with the little bag inside the big bag as a security blanket.  

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Going back to the dismantling of the connotations of an IT bag, Lim himself has a more pragmatic approach towards the phenomenon and how it will shift.  "It‚Äôs the golden rule of human nature ‚Äì everyone wants to attain the unattainable!  Anything that is harder to have is immediately more desirable.  The culture has shifted slightly for sure as people feel like they want to rebel against the idea of the ‚ÄòIT‚Äô bag but they are being subliminally taken in without them even knowing!  The street term is ‚Äòdown-low‚Äô these bags are now more anonymous and aesthetically understated the focus is now on how a bag is mage and its quality‚Ķ."

I suppose in a way, I'm one of those that have been taken in, swayed by the understated look and realistic pricing of the Pashli satchel despite having initial misgivings towards the hyped up chit-chat surrounded in.  I'll consciously acknowledge all of that but take nothing away from the fact that the Pashli fulfills a quota of function and aesthetic value, which is all the I ask of IT.  

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(Wearing Eudon Choi jacket, Proenza Schouler shirt, Balenciaga dress, Topshop floral skirt, Alexander Wang wedges)

Note on pricing/sizing:  Curiously on Net-a-Porter the bag is ¬£200 more expensive than it is on Far Fetch (comes in black on Far Fetch as well as in the other larger tote size).  Not sure how that stacks up once duty and VAT is imposed on the Far Fetch sale.  Saks Fifth Avenue has it in the lovely inky blue and jade green – good for US customers but alas us EU folk get whacked with a ton of duty/tax fees.  

Comments (46)

  1. Brigadeiro says:

    I’m seriously in love with this bag!!! Especially in jade green or in ink…Now I’m so incredibly jealous…
    L
    O
    V
    E
    IT!!!
    xx
    http://brigadeirochoc.blogspot.com
    http://www.peutetremagazine.com

  2. Cassie says:

    the bag is cool but what i really love are those Alexander Wang wedges you have on! <3

  3. gorete sousa says:

    Beautiful!!!
    love it!!!
    xx

  4. Lucia says:

    I like that it has a “handmade” feel to it, with lots of crafted details. Fab!

  5. notsoChiara says:

    Awwww darling I am drooling over this bag for a while now…I love the blue one and I hope to get it soon!!
    You look lovely as always
    C:
    http://moneygonefor.blogspot.com

  6. Wow, that’s an amazing bag. Perfect design and color!! Looks great with the outfit
    XO Charlotte
    http://www.thefashionguitar.com

  7. S says:

    i want this bag… i loooooove your shoes ;)
    http://magmoiselle.fr

  8. Lorena says:

    Love your bag the color is amazing, and your outfit is fabulous!
    http://bitterdoglady.blogspot.com/

  9. blondehaus says:

    I love this bag. It really is the perfect bag for everything.
    http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/2681061/blondehaus

  10. When I saw the first pic and the illustration, I immediately thought about the Celine Luggage, and to be honest I would go for the Celine if I had to choose (maybe because the design and elements are more ‘minimal’). At the same time, I think this is a lovely bag: you described the ‘quality’ feeling so well and you are absolutely right about the pinked edges…
    Actually I have a question related to something that would go in the bag: what is the label/where did you get that lovely aquamarine BB case? Thank you in advance for the help!
    http://notjustaprettydress.blogspot.com/

  11. susie_bubble says:

    Not Just a Pretty Dress: The case is by Smythson… http://www.smythson.com/blackberry-cover-jade-collection.html – they don’t have the pale blue online but there is a Smythson store in London/New York if you can get to it…

  12. Many thanks Susie! I will be in London this Friday and I’m going to check…

  13. orange_rain says:

    I was just dreaming today about new schoolbag because the old one is too small and now I saw this..it’s perfect!(:
    http://mandarin-stories.blogspot.com

  14. Leah says:

    This bag is so beautiful. I’m sold. Thanks for sharing the review.
    I’ve been a fan of 3.1 Phillip Lim for ages it seems, but never thought of his handbags.
    <3
    I’d also want to use it for school… Although I’d be afraid of getting mugged/stolen downtown.

  15. Helena says:

    I love that bag. It’s a dream. I can¬¥t find the right words to express how much I love it. It’s so…PERFECT!
    And by the way your outfit is amazing!!!
    http://foreverfashion-2011.blogspot.com/

  16. Shini says:

    Le awesome, the pinked edges remind me of those scissors that cut stuff like MAGIC, therefore the bag is magic.

  17. Kit says:

    Tis the size I WANT to accommodate all my junk (laptop and camera).

  18. Meena Dhuga says:

    it is so nice! perfect in fact :)
    http://pinklemonsorbet.blogspot.com/
    Meena ‚ô•

  19. Cassandra says:

    The rich details of this bag are blowing my mind.
    http://www.cassandrahsieh.com/

  20. This bag gives me butterflies. I love Phillip Lim.

  21. zina says:

    Is it heavy… must know!

  22. Oh my god I L O V E it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So beautiful, and the lcolor is jsut amazing !!!!
    Enjoy !!!

  23. Laura says:

    I have the Pashli in black (although I’m kind of kicking myself for not getting it in Jade) and I couldn’t agree more with your description. I was apprehensive about getting an “It” bag as well, but in the end the bag was too difficult to resist (so I reasoned with myself).
    Love your blog, by the way! Have been a reader for a few months now, but this is my first comment.

  24. Laura says:

    PS: Best solution for those in the EU wanting this bag but not wanting to pay for VAT/Duties is to (if you can) order it and have it shipped to a friend in the U.S. and then they can ship it to you :).

  25. loubehr says:

    gorgeous ! smart ! gorgeous !!!!! smart !!!!!!
    LOVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!
    http://rocknrealprincess.blogspot.com/

  26. susie_bubble says:

    Well, it’s not feather light! It’s a good 0.6kg before you put stuff in it which makes them lighter than say a Chloe/Givenchy bag of a similar size I think…. I plan on carrying the bag in my hand rather than in the crook of my arm so for me I’m happy to load it up with stuff….

  27. Ali says:

    Do people really spend this much on bags?!

  28. this purse design really beautiful i want to buy this purse for me thanks for this pic

  29. susie_bubble says:

    Do you mean the price of the Pashli or erm… the scarier four figure sums of say a Celine or a Chanel bag? Like I said, I’m by no means saying ¬£600 for a bag is cheap but I suppose for a person with an above average incoming working full time, it’s not outrageous, especially when compared to the aforementioned bags…
    My eyes would bulge at bag prices at one point but then adding up how much I spend on shoes and clothing with individual items costing less but adding up in quantity, the ¬£600 didn’t seem so ridiculous afterall…
    It’s all relative of course and we can go back and forth on the price of fashion for days on end and it’s all dependent on personal situation but in short….
    Yes, people do spend that much on bags…. and a great deal more….

  30. Duck says:

    I *can* see the claimed similarity to the C√©line based on those zipper vents which aren’t so common in the bag world, but the rest of the design is pretty different and for the price it’s an effing bargain! I would like a Luggage though…

  31. Victoria says:

    This bag is just so me, which is not something I say very often. Infact I think I am a ‘Philip Lim 3.1′ kind of girl! x

  32. Lo says:

    Wow! Awesome blog!
    Please check mine out at…..
    http://colourmehappy-laura.blogspot.com/
    <3 xxxx

  33. Arietta says:

    This post is the best description/definition of the IT bag. It now makes sense why someone should buy this bag, because waiting lists and celebrities (carrying it) don’t mean anything. Not to the connaisseur they don’t! x
    http://stripesandscarlets.blogspot.com

  34. Emily says:

    eyyyyeeee….
    love this bag so much.
    we just started a blog–would be awesome if you’d come check it out! http://www.thestylemaponline.com

  35. Annabelle says:

    I love the bag. What colour is it please? X

  36. Maris says:

    Does it fit over your shoulder? I was about to buy this bag but my one concern was that the straps were not long enough to be able to throw it over shoulder if I wanted to–the lady in Barneys told me that next seasons Pashli would have a longer strap (like the mini pashli) in the big size….thoughts? do I wait for that….or get the reed krakoff gym….or wait longer and save up for a PS1?? PLEASE HELP i just need some bag advice and I trust your opinion!

  37. noni_chan@hotmail.com says:

    where did you get this color?

  38. jen says:

    which size did you get? do you have a macbook pro 13? i’m torn between which size to get and i load up my bags heavily like you do!

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