Emotional Baggage Part One – Hayden-Harnett

Emotional Baggage: a series wherein I rave about my favorite handbags.

When I was a little girl, I would carry my Mom’s old castoff kisslock clutch around the house, and dream of the day I’d be old enough to carry a purse for real. I’ve never lost my love of handbags, and my family members’ and close friends’ eyes often glaze over as I describe the charms of my favorite bags with a glowing reverence more often reserved for great works of art. Carrie Bradshaw had her shoes; for me it’s all about the bags.

I’ve flirted with status bags and “it” bags; yes I’ve been out on the town with Louis, Marc, and Nicolas. But it takes more than a fancy pedigree, a pretty face, or having been seen on the arm of a celebrity for me to get emotionally involved. It’s that elusive combination of design, style, functionality and personality which certain bags possess that draws me in and hooks me.

I was introduced to Hayden-Harnett bags a couple of years ago through The Purse Forum. Several of the ladies there had purchased HH bags, and raved about the quality, the design, and most of all, the leather. So I took the plunge and ordered the Mercer Satchel in black.

Since then I’ve purchased several more HH bags including the Mercer Satchel in Chalk, the Hudson Triple Strap Satchel in black, the Havana Hobo, and most recently the Suki in saddle during their most recent sale.

Hayden Harnett was started by Toni Hacker and Ben Harnett in Brooklyn, NY, and they’ve recently opened a brick-and-mortar store at 211 Franklin St., Brooklyn NY 11222. (718) 348-2247.

HH bags are probably some of the best-designed, most ergonomic bags I’ve found to date. I can’t believe the number of high end bag designers (yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, Marc and Miuccia!) who can’t be bothered to include cell phone or PDA pockets in bags that will set you back a month’s (or three!) mortgage payment. Not only does every HH bag I’ve purchased have multiple interior and exterior pockets, including the wonderfully slouchy Havana Hobo, but they’re easy to access as well. No fumbling with buckles or straps, and zippers are anchored well to make opening and closing easier. Most of the bags have an edgy “downtown” vibe, but without a lot of prominent hardware that adds weight and makes so many bags look dated after a season or two. There’s a lighthearted quality to the designs that I find so appealing; they’re more Besson than Bergman.

The quality of materials and workmanship are outstanding for bags at their price point, and the little details (like the luggage tags, chain charms and optional tassels) help give the bags a unique quirky charm. The leather is soft, distressed on most styles, and holds up quite well. The “chalk” (a slightly greyish white) is the one white bag I’m not afraid to take out. The texture of the leather really does seem to repel dirt and stains.

Their new Fall collection looks lovely too. I’m really intrigued by the Bungalow bag in Yam, and the Mimi Quilted Satchel in Lead. I think the Yam color, as well as this Mercer Satchel in Currant would look so great with this fall’s grey pallettes. So much temptation!

In a world of overpriced designer “it” bags, Hayden-Harnett’s creations stand out for their style, functionality and, especially, personality.

Edited to add: Pssst!!! As of 8/2 they’re having another sale!!! Free shipping!!!

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  1. Anonymous
    August 1, 2007 / 1:01 pm

    Great article–I totally agree, and wish I could have afforded to get more in that unbelievable sale HH had last month. I have the Havana in blue, the Mercer satchel in Pewter and Currant, the Triple Compartment in Natural, and the Louvre in Saddle. Rock on!!!

  2. Anonymous
    August 1, 2007 / 8:03 pm

    ITA! Completely! And my love of HH was hammered home this past weekend, when I was struck with a bag run – you know, when you feel driven to go look for a bag, any bag, just ‘window-shopping’, so to speak. NONE of the bags I looked at were in any way close to the quality of my beloved HH bags… and I realized that I’d finally found total contentment in a handbag. Now I just NEED HH to bring out the Inka in persian rose. 🙂

  3. August 3, 2007 / 10:42 pm

    Dear femme,

    Yours is a blog that I think ROCKS. Thus I’ve named you as a Rockin’ Girl Blogger. Please go here for details.

  4. August 3, 2007 / 11:19 pm

    Wow, very cool! Thank you!

  5. india*ink
    August 7, 2007 / 12:11 am

    I have now changed things around a bit, and also added your blog to my Purse Whisperer blog – hope you will consider doing the same… see you on tPF!

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