May 16, 2013
Every spring, the world’s (arguably) beautiful and (undoubtedly) wealthy jet off to Monte Carlo for an event as much about glamour as sport: the Grand Prix of Monaco. If there’s a blue-collar “stigma” to auto racing in the US, the international audience of Formula 1 uses a different lens, balancing a respect for technological innovation with pride in a drivers’ heritage and romantic ideas about what happens when you turn the engine lights off and turn the lights in the club on.
The race itself takes place during daytime with cameras on a sea of public figures who offer unique trend cues. But more than the attendees, my strongest style association with the event is one of the innovations: perforated leather.
Perforations are small, regularly spaced holes punched through fabric that solved a problem in the years after the first Monaco race of 1929. Drivers used leather gloves to grip the wheel on high-speed corners, but the gloves trapped so much heat, body temperature could rise from 98.6 to 104 degrees. Not cool. Literally.
Punching holes in the leather let the hands breathe, a wholly (pun intended) functional use of the technique. And somewhere along the line, someone who probably didn’t know this liked it as a look, thought it’d be a great idea if applied to other leather items. Skip a bunch of steps after this…and voila: fashion.
To me, perforated handbags have fantastic dual potential: short-term, they can feed the chase for a trend without the guilt of splurging on something scary expensive. Long-term, they stand out just enough from solid leather bags of similar colors to feed a sense of uniqueness without the self-doubt that the look might be scary ridiculous. Underlying it all, Monte Carlo elegance–without needing to dress up for James Bond at the casino.
These are five perforated leather (or nylon) bags for finding:
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