R29-reader-favorite travel accessory and handbag imprint Dagne Dover (the geniuses behind the top-bought, go-everywhere Landon silhouette) was one of many brands forced to reconsider its customers’ purchasing habits in the wake of 2020. The label's “energetically light and kind of vibey” new spring collection is a testament to how the past 365 days have changed us, explains co-founder and creative director Jessy Dover. The pandemic, the ensuing lockdown, and the lifestyle it engendered were antithetical to Dagne’s mission, which is to provide customers with painstakingly researched and obsessively designed bags to accompany women “on the go from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” explains Dover. However, the brand responded by doing something that was totally new for them — for the first time ever, they made what she describes as simply “handbags.” The simpler and more decorative carryalls that make up the spring collection, while still functional, are a departure from the aggressively tricked-out satchels for which Dagne is known. “I drive a car now,” explains Dover. “I haven’t driven a car in 15 years, and I’m like, ‘Oh — I get why you might want a handbag. It just sits there, it holds everything you need, you don’t need your computer all of the time.’”
Dagne Dover designs its collections nearly a year in advance of release, so the spring assortment was incubating just as the pandemic upended lives everywhere, along with the brand’s close-knit office — which Dover remembers as a “sad and unsettled” time for the driven team. There were many unanswerable questions: “Where are going to be at this time next year,” remembers Dover, “and what are people going to want from the brand?” The new designs include the Laila Cage Tote, a multi-textured top-handle style that borrows elements from a classic Dagne silhouette and a more casual, organic type of handbag. “It’s the perfect beach-to-work tote,” says Dover. There’s also the Tokyo silhouette, which boasts “adjustable turnlocks so you can make them long, short, whatever you want,” explains Dover. Finally, there’s a newcomer to the brand’s core assortment of office-friendly carryalls, the chic, boxy Daily Tote. It’s designed with cleaner lines, minimal hardware, and is much lighter weight than its coated-canvas predecessor. “It’s our first revamp of a work tote since we launched the company, like, ten years ago,” Dover shares.
Fans of the brand’s signature neoprene, leather and organic cotton carryalls can breathe easy — these silhouettes are still in the rotation, updated in limited-edition colorways for the new season. But Dagne’s customers are clearly eager to see what kind of newness the culty brand has in store. “We have a 10K-person waitlist this season, which is unheard for us,” says Dover. Early-access shopping opened yesterday for VIP members of the brand’s rewards program, she explains, and “we’re already halfway sold through all of our inventory. Which is always bittersweet, cause like — we spent a year working on the collection and now it’s like, gone. However, it’s wonderful — I understand that it’s where it’s supposed to be.”
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