I remember the London Fashion Week season when suddenly, almost out of nowhere, editors starting putting down their all-bells-and-whistles designer bags in favour of something far simpler and far more affordable. Sophie Hulme‘s big leather Albion totes practically demanded their own spots on the front row they were that jumbo and that noticeable—and, as a result, that desirable.

This was around 2012, and at the time, London-based Sophie was a relative unknown with a small but perfectly formed collection of quality, mid-priced leather goods to offer a very eager set of insiders. Getting one of the tan totes with the metal hardware (and the matching, fun tchotchkes) was like striking gold, and the carefully crafted stock was in understandably short supply (from what I recall).

Elena Perminova in 2012, Paris, with one of the Sophie Hulme bags of the earlier years. These days, the contemporary-handbag world is teeming with options but back in the day, it was Hulme who broke the rules and helped steer the phenomenon. I was a junior at the time and just starting out in the industry (with no budget for fancy accessories whatsoever!), and I recall the tan version being particularly popular and well-documented by the earliest street style photographers on the scene. You can still buy the Albion now in different sizes and colourways, which is just further proof of how much staying power a truly good investment handbag can have. As the designer approached her eponymous brand’s 10th birthday, there’s much to celebrate—including many, many more popular handbags, as well as the fact she’s created super-sharp outerwear to match. These two elements have been brought together to create an anniversary capsule collection, which you can see below. Keep scrolling to see who’s wearing Sophie Hulme’s bags now, and then shop them for yourself (before I do and we’re in soldout territory again).
Style Notes: A bit like the original totes only more unusual in shape and lighter in their weight, sisters Cosima (a singer) and Nina Ehni (a designer at Sophie Hulme) are into the Cube bags.
Style Notes: Sophie’s bags have been approved by Vogue’s new Fashion and Accessories Editor, Donna Wallace, since the start, so you know they’re fab.
Style Notes: It’s Sophie’s sibling Anna in the peacoat and bucket bags of our dreams—both from her sister’s current collection.
Style Notes: Hi, Sophie’s mum! Jane is carrying the Knot Shoulder Bag and looking amazing in this colour-blocked coat from her daughter’s brand.
Style Notes: Designer Katie Davies’s Cocktail Stirrer bag really highlights the fun details Sophie always puts into her pieces.
Style Notes: It’s the super-chic Sophie herself, and she’s carrying a large Swing bag and wearing the Sunday coat in tan.
Style Notes: Designer Natalie Frost also has the Knot bag, which is fast becoming my new favourite…
Style Notes: Another bold cold with a true everyday bag set against it, here’s Sophie’s other stylish sister, Kate.
Style Notes: Makeup artist Zoe Taylor has the most Instagrammable Nano Swing bag. Want.
Next up, the big ankle-boot trends of 2019.

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