My Life In Handbags: Thérèse Hellström

In her role as Fashion Director at Custommade, Thérèse Hellström– @TessHell to her 100,000 Instagram followers – has spent years developing a discerning eye for bags. From her first designer purchase to her favourite vintage finds, here are her highlights…
By Elaine Lloyd Jones /

My love of bags started when I was at school. I remember being so interested in fashion, even as a little girl. Back then it was more likely to be a beautiful H&M bag. Now it plays such a big part in my life. 

My all-time favourite bag is my red Chanel in textured caviar leather. I only bought it this year, and because they’re hard to come by, I bought vintage. I managed to find one through a Stockholm-based vintage shop called Still in Fashion. This colour and leather haven't been reissued by Chanel in years – which makes it extra special. 

The bag I love to take on holiday is my Goyard bag. It’s the perfect carry-on. I have the small tote in classic black/brown and it fits everything I need. It even looks good when it’s full – so chic and practical at the same time. 

The bag that holds the most sentimental value for me is my Celine Triomphe that I bought when I was still in school. I remember saving so hard for it. It’s black and was designed by Phoebe Philo before she left the house. I bought it eight years ago and it’s still a favourite. I don’t wear it so often now, but I still love how it looks.

The bag with the most SENTIMENTAL value is a LOEWE bag which I borrowed from my MOTHER when I was 15, and I'm still lucky enough to have in my wardrobe today.

My best bargain find has to be my vintage Hermès Constance from the 90s that was in great condition. I found it on Vestiaire Collective after quite the hunt. I have it in the classic brown colour, which was produced quite a lot back then. 

I find the best places to shop for pre-loved and hard-to-find styles are small vintage boutiques such as Still In Fashion as they have a more personal selection and the service is great. However, I’m also a fan of the French platform Collector Square, the store is just around corner of my home - if you're in Paris, it's a hotspot worth visiting.

I was lucky enough to inherit bags from both my mum and my aunt. They both had a lovely mix of brands like Loewe, Louis Vuitton and Tod's among others. 

The bag with the most sentimental value is a Loewe bag which I borrowed from my mother when I was 15, and I'm still lucky enough to have in my wardrobe today. It's a lovely tote bag in one of their old prints. 

For evenings out my favourite bag is my Jimmy Choo silver clutch. It works so well with all my party looks. It’s the perfect size and comes with a chain strap, so it can be used as a clutch or a shoulder bag. The silver croc-look is also quite festive.

When it comes to bags, I avoid anything mini or micro. I really need my phone to fit in whatever bag I’m wearing – be it day or night. 

My FAVOURITE era for handbags is the 90s. I love everything about the style of that DECADE.

My two top bag designers are Chanel and Hermès. Nothing compares to wearing a signature bag from one of these iconic fashion houses. The feeling, the look… it’s all so on point. 

My favourite era for handbags is the 90s. I love everything about the style of that decade. The shoulder bags with short straps, the colours and the interesting use of logos. 

If I could design my own bag, it would be a sparkly party-bag, I’m still looking for one that ticks all the boxes – preferably a mid-size shape that fits in all the essentials for an evening out.

The bags I'd recommend for now are the Loewe Paula's Ibiza leather-trimmed woven raffia tote, which is great for holidays. A classic Chanel Flap bag if you're looking for an investment buy. The classic Goyard Tote bag for everyday and the Dior Saddle bag for something a bit more fashion. 

The bag high on my wish list is the Prada Cleo satin bag with rhinestone appliqué. It’s so beautiful. I do think it will be a good investment  – I think it’s the kind of bag people will covet for years to come.

Follow @TessHell on Instagram.

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