http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/10/fashion/10POINTS.html?ref=fashion By KARIN NELSON Published: May 10, 2007 IN Australia, they call it a bum bag. In France, its le banane. Apparently much of the world regards the fanny pack, that belted pouch often seen around the enlarged waists of unsophisticated travelers, as little more than a gag item. Attempts to elevate its status have met with minimal success. An episode of Sex and the City, in which Carrie Bradshaw wore a Gucci version, turned fanny packs into a hot trend. It lasted a New York minute. Lately, 80s-inclined hipsters have appropriated them, but worn with fluorescent windbreakers and oversize eyewear, the look is ironic, at best. This season, however, a host of young designers are giving the fanny pack a little dignity, thanks to chic new shapes and some proper styling. For his spring show, Takahiro Miyashita, the designer for the cult Japanese label Number (N)ine, accessorized his rock n roll frontiersmen with washed leather ammo packs in earthen tones. Phillip Lim created trim belt clutches that look as crisp and fresh as his nearly-all-white collection. And Kris Van Assche, the newly appointed Dior Homme, proved that even le banane in bright yellow suede, no less can look immensely sleek with a boxy gray suit with the sleeves scrunched up. For some, its a matter of craftsmanship. Made out of that cheap leather, theyre supercheesy, said Jordan Betten, the Lost Art designer whose handcrafted leather creations are now on view at the New York Fashion Now exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The calfskin hip pouches he made for a musician allowed him to see their potential. Done right, they can be really cool. On the other hand, Alice Roi, whose oversize coin purses were inspired by the notion of a chic French thief, appreciates the fanny packs functionality. I never saw the point of carrying around a 500-pound bag, she said. Technology has gone hands-free. Why not baggage?