What will we wear when we make our much-anticipated return to society? It’s a question that’s occupied our minds ever since we first began entertaining visions of a post-pandemic world. For the past year, our office blazers and party heels have given way to cozy-sometimes chic, and, er, sometimes not-sweatsuits and slip-on sandals.

And our handbags? The beloved carryalls that once saw us through days of business lunches and dinner dates have had no place in a world of virtual happy hours and dressed-up dinners at home. These steadfast companions have been relegated to the backs of our wardrobes for far too long. Of course, that’s all about to change: as vaccinations roll out and the light at the end of the tunnel shines a bit brighter, we have started to come out of our shelters, purses in tow.

If you have any doubts about which style to sling over your shoulder for your grand reemergence, look no further than Balmain’s soigné 1945 collection. Dreamt up by creative director Olivier Rousteing, the grouping of soft-leather and jacquard handbags was named after the joyous post-war year that the now legendary couturier Pierre Balmain opened his eponymous maison de mode in the heart of the City of Lights. The years after the Liberation of Paris are remembered as a period of new beginnings and a creative (and, bîen sur, sartorial) renaissance-not unlike what we’re experiencing today.

As for what makes a 1945 one bag-nay, the bag-to have and to hold as we flit around town (be it the Paname, Manhattan, or anywhere in between)? To begin, with a plethora of shapes and sizes to choose from, there’s a pitch-perfect option for everyone. Take your pick: detachable burnished gold chains for wearing over-the-shoulder, arrive in petit, moyen, and grand, as do magnetic closed-pouches. For those who prefer not to be weighed down, an elongated wallet made for life on the go comes complete with discrete interior card slots. The spacious tote-toss in your supplies for a picnic in the park, or even an overnight getaway-can be worn in not one but three ways.

The eye-catching jacquard pattern is sure to cause nothing short of love at first sight. First appearing on a number of ready-to-wear pieces and accessories back in the 1970s, the bold, maze-like motif’s abstract Ps and Bs (a nod to Pierre Balmain, as well as Paris itself) reflect the late designer’s passion for the labyrinthine gardens of France’s Renaissance estates-and is evidence that the pattern can stand the test of time.
Plus, the styling opportunities are seemingly limitless. “This bag is endlessly versatile,” says stylist and fashion director, Cassie Anderson, who paired the 1945 with Balmain’s Spring 2021 bold shouldered tops, striking monogrammed suiting, and sparkling midi-skirts, as seen here on model Izzy Wild. Adds Anderson, “It’s perfect for adding a little polish to an outfit for running errands or going out.” In other words, no matter how you wear it, with the 1945 by your side, life can once again be effortlessly elegant.