With the resurgence of past fashion influencing current style trends, Prada has turned the tables with the Cleo bag. Many luxury brands have started to feature archival pieces in their recent collections, including Prada with the Re-Nylon – a new take on their iconic 00s accessory. However, the brand also released a new handbag design that has since taken over the fashion world. The Cleo successfully combines contemporary style with this desirable timeless elegance, making it a must-have staple in the closet of many fashion enthusiasts.
Prada’s Cleo bag has quickly become synonymous with the brand despite only debuting two years ago in the brand’s ‘Multiple Views’ 2021 Spring/Summer collection. While the Cleo is a recent addition to the house, its design is reminiscent of the classic Prada style. The stunning spazzolato leather used to make the bag honours the brand’s origin as a leather goods company. Equally, the Cleo is a collaborative design between Raf Simmons and Miuccia Prada, the latter of which took over as head designer from her grandfather and the brand’s founder, Mario Prada. Having led the company since the 1970s, Miuccia Prada is credited with the iconic 1990s design features that inspired the Cleo, such as the minimalist lines and enamel triangle logo.
The Cleo can be purchased for $4,700 directly from Prada, who has not altered the structural design of the Cleo since it was first released. The spazzolato leather has a tactile sheen that gives the bag its signature glossy finish, which was initially available in four colourways: black, white, blush and aqua; however, as the popularity of the Cleo grew, Prada has since expanded the range of available colours.
In addition to the beautifully sleek appearance, the Cleo is engineered to be a highly functional accessory. The unique curvature of the bag, with its distinct high-low form, is made to fit the body of the wearer when worn on their shoulder. Following traditional practices, artisans achieve this structured shape by using custom casts to form the bag and ensure it holds its shape over time. Coupled with its delicate strap and lightweight materials, the Cleo is built to sit comfortably on the arm for practical everyday use. Moreover, the thoughtfully designed dimensions, with a height of 21cm and width of 27, provide ample space for essentials. There is also an interior leather-back pocket to hold essentials like keys or a phone (if it’s not a Max size) so they are secure. While the stiffness of the bag prevents items from falling out, this security is reinforced by a magnetic closure sewn into the edge of the bag’s opening.
The brand has also developed different iterations of the Cleo, such as the crystal-embellished Cleo bag. This variation also comes in a diverse range of colours and, with the entirety of the bag’s surface being covered in crystals, offers a more maximalist design. The extravagant crystal Cleo is available on Prada’s online storefront for $6,200. Alternatively, Prada released a variation of the Cleo, where they not only changed the appearance of the bag but adapted the functional design. The front flap edition has the same curved shape as the standard Cleo, however, it has been scaled down slightly, instead measuring 17cm x 21cm. Furthermore, as the name suggests, the designers changed the closing mechanism to a flap that folds over the front of the bag and attaches with a magnetic clasp. Prada also offers this variation with the classic short shoulder strap or an extendable cross-body strap. These additions enhance the bag’s everyday functionality by increasing its security and ease of wear throughout busy day-to-day activities. This variation of the Cleo costs around $4,700, up to $4,850 for the extended strap.
The Cleo bag has since become a symbol of modern luxury as its presence on red carpets, in editorials and on social media platforms has solidified its status. Its enduring appeal speaks to its timeless design and the quality synonymous with the Prada name. In the last two years, the brand has released multiple designs and collections of the Cleo, making it the most versatile shoulder bag on the market. This shows that even as fashion trends continue to evolve, the Cleo bag will remain a symbol of revolutionary elegance.