Carry off your holiday essentials with bags of flair

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 June, 2010, 12:00am

There is a scene in the new Sex and the City movie when Carrie, upon arriving at the Abu Dhabi airport, tells the porter to be careful with her luggage as he puts it into a waiting Maybach. She fusses over a scratch on her expensive white trunk, which is understandable because after shelling out big bucks on a luxury suitcase, who wants it scratched and dented by baggage handlers?

So, for all the good looks of leather Valextra trunks or Globetrotter suitcases, unless you're flying by private jet to your summer holiday destination, opting for more humble and generic pieces of luggage is advisable. Splash out on bags that you can carry on board with you, such as Hermes' Arion roll bag in moss-green coloured calf leather with white top stitching (4). It is light and roomy and will go well with all the summer outfits we have been endorsing in this column over the past several weeks. I see myself bringing this on board wearing a pair of slim summer shorts, a crumpled white shirt, sandals and a panama hat.

Tod's has just launched its very first travel collection which features wheelies that meet cabin size requirements, and two weekend bags, all in the brand's original camel-coloured leather. The pieces are light and easy to carry while looking supple and rich. The wheelie has a sleek, modern retractable handle that looks like it was inspired by a city skyscraper.

White is a no-no for check-in luggage: you never know what colour it'll come out at the baggage carousel, but for carry-on luggage, I say go for it. Ermenegildo Zegna has a white leather weekend duffel bag with detachable shoulder straps. The colour evokes relaxing boat rides on the Dalmatian coast.

Leonello Borghi, a new brand at The Swank, has a relaxed, slouchy travel bag in beige canvas and brown leather trim. It is slightly reminiscent of the Hermes' Birkin bag but in a very masculine way. It reminds me of bags from period movies featuring Egyptian expeditions or British colonials on a steam train to India. Other pieces include a large tote with a zip top and a drawstring tube bag with a zip up compartment in the bottom.

If you want a bag with huge doses of rugged street style and one that's in sync with the hedonistic parties in Ibiza, D&G offers a distressed denim and leather multi-zip weekender (3). Throw in a couple of pairs of swim shorts, long trousers, T-shirts, a dinner shirt, sunnies, D&G rubber flip flops and you're good to go. An alternative to this would be Cole Haan's FLX weekender (2).

But if what you are really looking for is a bag that's big enough to hold everything you need there are several bags that serve this purpose. Louis Vuitton has a gorgeous off-white Taiga leather backpack called Sac a Dos. Because it is hands-free, you can slip it on your back, jump on a Vespa and speed off to explore the beaches of Santorini.

Burberry has a medium-sized crumpled canvas bag with leather handles (1) that can hold all your beach essentials. And Jack Spade, maker of the modern version of the sturdy coal miner's bag, colour-blocked its signature tote in lime and white which reminds me of Italian gelato. The perfect summer coolers.

Shopping List:

Burberry, Alexandra House, Central. Tel: 2868 3511

Cole Haan, IFC Mall, Central. Tel: 2234 7679

Ermenegildo Zegna, Alexandra House, Central. Tel: 2868 9638

Hermes, The Galleria, Central. Tel: 2525 5900

Jack Spade from Kate Spade, IFC Mall, Central. Tel: 3188 1928

Louis Vuitton, The Landmark, Central. Tel: 8100 1182

Leonello Borghi at The Swank., The Landmark, Central. Tel: 2810 0769

Tod's, The Landmark, Central. Tel: 2810 8692