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The Story Behind This Summer's Most Coveted Fashion Accessory

By Sarah Bray | August 16, 2018 | Style & Beauty

The untold story behind the collapsible bamboo bags having a major moment out East this summer.

cult-gaia-2.jpgGaia’s Ark bag made with varying shades of bamboo, $158, and earrings, $98.

“How do you keep things from falling out of there?” a perplexed Hamptonite asked our publisher, Lynn Scotti, at the London Jewelers pop-up last month. It’s a question anyone with Cult Gaia’s Ark handbag has heard more than once. The collapsible bag constructed of open-weave bamboo has gaps large enough for credit cards and change to easily fall through. Before Scotti could respond, two more partygoers walked in the door carrying the exact same Cult Gaia number. As they say in fashion, three’s a trend—and practicality in fashion is hardly a virtue! Functionality aside, what’s interesting about Cult Gaia’s cagelike bag is its price tag (the small size retails for $128, far less than recent “it” bag phenoms like Céline’s mini luggage tote) and its history. The Ark purse that has bloggers to thank for its bag-of-the-moment status isn’t an original design. The iconic Japanese bag, a popular souvenir in the ’60s and ’70s, was brought back to life by Cult Gaia's founder, Jasmin Larian. Original versions of the retro accessory are still available on Etsy and eBay, but it’s quicker to get your hands on a revival at Intermix. 87 Main St., East Hampton,;