Campaign Bag by Stuart & Lau

Campaign Bag by Stuart & Lau


Perfect for those who want to carry their life with them and have a private car to do so

The context

You smell divine, said the Mister.

He should know. I was wearing his perfume. Dior Homme if you must know. That combination of leather and wood drives me mad.

I don’t know about you but I find men’s products very alluring. Not that I am a transvestite—and not that there is anything wrong with that. It is just that I have reached a point when I am fed up—just absolutely fed up—with all the frills and frippery that accompany some women’s products.

You could say that I am just following a custom that has now become passe. After all, women have had a long tradition of trying on, and eventually appropriating things that typically belonged to men. For proof, look no further than what is now quaintly called the “boyfriend jacket” but worn not by a boyfriend as the name would suggest but by his girlfriend.

Ditto for any of those objects, accoutrements or activities that men dominated: stand-up comedy, perfumes, or for that matter, blue jeans. That rugged sack-cloth made of blue denim which was once the purview of cowboys, miners, carpenters, construction workers and any man who needed protection in those delicate areas has now been taken over—and made sexy—by women.

The fantasy

The fantasy is the perfect bag really. Customers, consumer experts, survey groups, and designers have spent, and continue to spend countless hours, effort and money to come up with the perfect bag for our multitasking world.

The reality

The reality is hand-wringingly complicated because we live in a contradictory world: at once compartmentalized and fluid. We humans have become adept at using different tools—or bags in this instance—for our multitude of activities. We have gym bags, back packs, messenger bags, carry-on trolleys and other bags that contain our life and activities.

The quest for much of modern humanity is to find a bag that can go fluidly from task to task, place to place.

The product

The Campaign Bag is built for an English rose: not someone like Princess Di, but perhaps her mother-in-law, the Queen. It is sturdy, robust and discreet. My original thought was to replace my handbag with this one and it would certainly serve the purpose. But it is just way too large. Larger than one of those Celine totes.

Made with nylon, like Prada, with leather handles, the Campaign Bag is perfect for those who want to carry their life with them and have a private car in order to do so. This being India, both conditions are fulfilled.

Want to go to the gym? Sure, bung in some gym clothes and even a pair of shoes. Want to head to the office after? There are compartments inside for a laptop or iPad. Want to carry some cosmetics and jewellery to go to a cocktail networking after work? Just shove your make up things into one of the several pockets that close with a satisfying magnetic click. There is a flap for an umbrella in case you are caught in a monsoon shower, and another flap to slip through the handle of your carry-on trolley. The bag fits neatly on top.

I wish there had been a flap inside so that dirty gym clothes could be separated from documents or paper. I wish the size had been a tad smaller which would make it perfect for the everyday rather than for the weekend. But these are quibbles.

The keyring that attaches magnetically to an inside pocket is brilliant for all those times you have had to fish around inside a cluttered bag while waiting in the dark corridor outside your apartment. The retractable pen is also a great idea if you need to fill out passport forms while travelling internationally.

The details

The Campaign Bag is available at the Stuart & Lau website here and at other online stores for $335

Free global shipping, 30-day free exchange, lifetime guarantee.

The bottom line

With a weatherproof Duralite exterior, multiple pockets and zippered sleeves, this is an easy bag to take around town or away for the weekend. For those who guzzle water by the litre, the umbrella sleeve will hold a nice-sized water bottle. Try it for everyday use and if it is too large, keep it for weekends.