"i think most women have their own personal paper bag hierarchy. the really good ones are for holding personal belongings, the ordinary ones are for holding groceries, the cute ones for using as gift wrappings, etc.”
- akiho mizuta, a part-time tokyo waitress in her late 20's
calfskin bags inspired by chanel boutique's gift bag
in tokyo, it is no longer cool use a backpack, shopper or even an eco-friendly bag. creative consumerism has driven the women there to employing high-end boutique paper bags for carrying everything from gym clothes to soya milk. case in point: ayaka nogami, 17, carries her sports uniform, lunchbox and plastic drink canister in a crumply prada bag that her older sister sold her for yen300. a cecil mcbee bag she has at home is for use only on weekend dates with her boyfriend and is ironed (inside-out so as not to burn the gold foil logo) after each outing. the trend has gone so far as to spawn an online market for such bags ranging from yen800 for the said cecil mcbee to yen2,000 for a large size louis vuitton. the key seems to be to separate your valuables (which go into a proper handbag) and everything else such as cigarettes, makeup case and a paperback (which go in the paper bag). so, ladies - save your bags. if you can't afford to shop right now, at least you can cherish the memory of the experience and, failing that, imagine it.