At a certain point, a popular bag design reaches such full saturation that designers who make bags in its image are no longer ripping off someone else’s work, but simply designing to fit a trend. It’s a bag designer’s job to interpret what consumers want for their own brand, of course, and lately, consumers want the Celine Luggage Tote. That’s great for Celine, but it also works out well for everyone else; at this point, the shape of the Luggage Tote has become a short-term icon, and consumer demand for it far outpaces both Celine’s ability to produce bags and the market’s ability to provide consumers who all want to carry exactly the same thing.
That’s where brands like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Reed Krakoff and even Marc by Marc Jacobs come in. By designing to the shape (flared, articulated gussets, short top handles, a body that’s taller than it is wide), companies can imbue their work with a vague feeling of aesthetic relevance, which can even rub off on people who aren’t familiar with the suddenly ubiquitous shape’s original inspiration. Fall 2012 seems to be where the tide has finished its turn and everyone has some version of the Celine shape on the market, so to start the season, we’ve rounded up some of the best non-Celine north-south totes out there. Check out our picks after the jump.