James arrived in Denver wearing a green Louis Vuitton Speedy bag.(Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)
Four-time NBA champion LeBron James is the latest male celebrity to be spotted out and about wearing a high-fashion bag. On Tuesday, the 34-year-old professional basketball player arrived at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado for the latest LA Lakers game against Denver’s Nuggets. If James wanted to make a sartorial statement for his first game of the season, it came in the form of the forest green Speedy bag from Louis Vuitton which sat at his hip — one of the standout pieces from Pharell’s debut collection as creative director of menswear this summer.
James paired the cross-body bag with a custom tweed “Damoflage” jacket (Pharell’s pixelated, Minecraft-esque print which has already become a brand motif, endorsed by Kim Kardashian and Rihanna), sunglasses and black derby shoes. He follows in the footsteps of several famous men of late who have been seen sporting not just any functional receptacle, but an “it bag.”
This year, Australian actor Jacob Elordi (who is set to star as Elvis in Sofia Coppola’s forthcoming biopic “Priscilla”) has appeared with a series of highly coveted luxury bags slung over his shoulder including, but not limited to, a Bottega Veneta Cassette bag, a Chanel Mini Messenger, a Burberry Sanford leather tote, a Valentino Loco bag and a yellow version of James’ LV Speedy. “No one can separate Elordi from his fancy bags,” wrote one user on X.
Similarly, fashion-forward musicians Tyler the Creator and A$AP Rocky are also batting for the man bag — Tyler has owned an turquoise quilted Chanel number since at least 2018, as well as a green Goyard trunk bag, while earlier this month A$AP was snapped rocking a Barbie-pink Bottega Andiamo.
A gendered stigma has long been attached to men who wear shoulder bags, however. In series five, episode 13 of “Friends” (“The One with Joey’s Bag”), when Joey debuts a new leather tote bag, his masculinity and sexual orientation is persistently mocked by Chandler and Ross. Indeed, men wearing bags are consistently the butt of jokes in internet memes, comic strips, and even stand-up comedy sets. “You better keep a gun in here bro,” comic Andrew Schulz told a male audience member who attended a 2019 show wearing a small leather satchel.
But the tide is changing. In August, Pharrell told GQ Magazine that designing accessories was something he was eager to tackle in the Louis Vuitton top job. “One of the things I wanted to do when I got here was I definitely wanted to work on the bags,” he said. Doubtless it’s a dedication appreciated by the likes of James, Elordi, A$AP and Tyler, whose street style looks contribute further proof — were any needed — that man purses are enjoying a newfound socio-cultural appreciation. Because at the end of the day, manbags shouldn’t carry so much baggage.
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