Despite the tote’s increasing popularity, the backpack has always been the go-to bag. Understandable since it allows the palms to be free for modern necessities such as smartphone or old-fashioned habits such as shaking a hand. Despite its popularity, the backpack has rarely enjoyed a rethink in terms of design. That’s why this Lemaire backpack is immediately alluring.
There’s the shape: a truncated NS men’s Alibaba bag, but from the front view shares the organic form of a gourd, such as the one carried by one of the eight immortals (八仙) Li Tieguai (李鐵拐) or Iron Crutch Li. How auspicious since the gourd symbolises longevity, and to some, the ability to ward off evil!
But what are especially appealing to us are the clothes-making touches it sports. Instead of a top flap for closure, the bag has a wide draw-string top—just like gym pants—that can be pulled or released to adjust the opening. Buttoned tabs on both sides suggest epaulettes, adding to its overall military styling. An exterior pocket with concealed zips expands its capacity, while a single strap just below the scrunch top allows the bag to be carried in the hand.
Inside the full-cotton backpack (lined in the same fabric), is a single-compartment capaciousness that can easily accommodate everything—and some more—an urbanite would require for his or her daily commute. Perhaps, more significantly, with a style that can be called distinctive.
Lemaire soft backpack, SGD465, is available at Manifesto, Capitol Piazza. Photo: Jim Sim