There’s no question that an authentic Panama hat is the ultimate in woven headgear. But what of other woven accessories? What about the good old straw bag? Could it be the perfect summer partner for your favorite Panama hat?
I don’t know about you, but when I hear the words ‘straw bag’, I’m transported back to my childhood and a time when my grandmother would visit carrying one of those unwieldy and heavily woven raffia bags. Having recently helped my grandmother spring clean, I can confirm she still has that same bag. This is perhaps a testament to the durability of its simple, yet sturdy, construction.
Straw bags are one of those things that cycle round into popular consciousness every so often. Their origins can be traced back to the time of the Pharaohs, and are even featured in ancient hieroglyphics! Along with a long established history of resilience and relative strength, they are also a design classic.
The bags first rose to social prominence as a ‘must have’ for the wealthy middle classes in the 1950s, wherein they became synonymous with elegance, wealth, and travel, with the traditional bulky baskets and raffia weaves giving way to a more sophisticated and delicate (though no less sturdy) weave tote. Their popularity was further enhanced by such Hollywood stars as Audrey Hepburn and Jane Birkin being often seen with them at the height of their popularity during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
These days, there is a greater variety of straw bags on the market. However, much like the Panama hat, real quality is derived exclusively from the combination of traditional craftsmanship and premium-grade natural materials. As opposed to cheap machine-woven alternatives made with poorer quality and even synthetic materials, a genuine hand woven bag made with authentic natural materials is a masterpiece of elegant beauty.
Compared to mass produced bags, each hand woven MonPanama bag is a labor of love with great attention given to the quality of the straw and the uniformity of the weave. Ensuring the right materials are used is also of great importance when each of our straw bags is individually made by hand. When a bag needs to be hard wearing —a beach bag for example — then seagrass makes the ideal material. If one requires a bag that is more elegant than utilitarian, then bamboo provides the perfect aesthetic.
Today, the straw bag has enjoyed another resurgence as a fashion accessory. Having recently been championed by such celebrities as Heidi Klum and Olivia Palermo, straw totes and baskets are once again a popular summer accessory among the rich, the famous and the discerning.
With many fashionistas convinced that the straw bag will continue to be a ‘must have’ accessory for the coming summer season, it’s time to have fun in the sun by mixing and matching your favorite Panama hat and straw bag – the perfect summertime accessory combo.