12 February 2011

"Fanny packs" become high fashion

The Wall Street Journal reports that fanny packs are now fashionable:
His $325 DVF belted satchels hitting stores this month aren't actually called fanny packs, of course. Mr. Mispelaere refers to them as "hands-free bags"—a name, he says, that helps convey "a functional shape, but with a touch of glamour, a touch of luxury and a touch of seriousness."..

Fanny packs, small bags that fasten around the waist, are among the most reviled accessories in modern culture, carrying inevitable associations with "scary American tourists at the Louvre," says designer Isaac Mizrahi.

As it turns out, more sartorial types now are butting in on the look, even as they shun the "f" word. Korean-American handbag designer Sang A Im-Propp, who sells an alligator version for $1,995, calls hers a "belt bag." The term "fanny pack," she says, "is just eww, so cheesy, so tacky, so horrible."..

Louis Vuitton helped reignite the fanny-pack fad last year after putting new styles on the runway. Hermès gave the trend a luxury lift with its slender $4,675 "Kelly Bandeau," set to arrive in stores for spring.

Some international designers have a cultural reason to back away from the word "fanny." Innocuous slang for the gluteus maximus in the U.S., the word is an obscenity in the U.K. and Australia, where it refers to female genitalia. In those countries, fanny packs are typically known as a "bum bags."
More at the link, including a gallery of photographs.

Addendum 2018:  In the very interesting book The Prodigal Tongue: The Love-hate Relationship Between American and British English, by Lynne Murphy, the author (a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sussex) wishes "... I had a penny for every time someone tried to explain to me why fanny pack is funny in England (because fanny refers to the vulva, not the derriere)..."  New info to me, and it better explains the title of English author John Cleland's classic erotic novel Fanny Hill.

Image credits:  Getty Images (top) and Louis Vuitton.

1 comment:

  1. In Chile, these are called "bonanos" and hand crafted leather examples can be obtained for $20-$40. I love how the "designer" ridicules the wonderfully useful fanny pack, being a clear representative of one of the most reviled professions of modern culture. I mean, really, does anyone care what a man says who thinks a reasonable price for any accessory is $325 to nearly $5000?


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