EST. 2009

January 11, 2017

That Little Luxury

AS SNEAKER CULTURE, MOBILE WORKING and other mobility-embracing trends secure their place in the mainstream, you'd expect form to follow function with the triumph of commuter-friendly fashion. But history shows that practical isn't always necessarily the most coveted. Many of us still readily make room in our lives for beautiful, albeit impractical, things.

Such is the case with what has been dubbed "the smallest it bag ever." Launched in 2015, Simon Miller's Bonsai bag measures a mere 12 x 12.5 x 17 centimeters, with a pair of hoops as handles measuring 6 centimeters across. For scale, the iPhone 6 at 13.8 centimeters is taller than this bag. The average female palm, at 6.8 centimeters, is wider than the bag's handles.

Still, it sold out on Barneys' pre-order even before stocks reached stores. “We wanted to create something cool and cute, and to help women streamline their lives by only allowing the essentials." Simon Miller founders Daniel Corrigan and Chelsea Hansford shared with the Telegraph. The cylindrical bag has no zips or fastenings for securing its contents, and only saw the addition of straps and a slightly larger version introduced in Fall 2016.

Priced accessibly for its category, what the Bonsai truly signals, in my opinion, is luxury. I imagine that this bag's owner has nothing to lug around; neither a laptop nor an umbrella, which a P.A. or chauffeur could fetch. She wouldn't travel by bus or bicycle, because even in the absence of theft, it seems unlikely that the Bonsai would hold its contents through a rigorous commute.

That's not to say I don't want one of my own. William Morris, a 19th-century designer and poet associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement, once said in a lecture: "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." Whether it's an item of cult status or a randomly-found pebble, driftwood or seashell from a shore, objects of beauty gain their value not from their function but from the way we regard them. And therein lies their luxury.

Simon Miller Bonsai bags, images from