After being cast aside for the best part of 18 months, our make-up bags are well and truly back in business. From a smouldering smoked-out eye (perfect dining out attire) to a pink power lip (great for a picnic), since restrictions lifted many of us have become reacquainted with our beauty stash, experimenting and having fun with it like never before.
This newfound love for our make-up shouldn’t stop at the products, it should extend to the case that carries them, too. From staycations and holidays to a friend’s house or your bathroom cabinet – a reliable beauty bag is an absolute must-have. So, if yours has seen better days, we reckon it’s high time to invest in a shiny new beauty bag.
Here to talk us through what goes into making the perfect make-up bag, as well as the inspiration behind his beautiful creations, is legendary make-up bag designer Otis Batterbee.
On Creating The Perfect Make-Up Bag
‘The perfect make-up bag is a combination of so many elements,’ says Batterbee, ‘getting the balance right is an art and takes a lot of product sampling and development.’ To find his iconic bag shape, Batterbee gave samples to a variety of real women to test and asked them to feedback after a month of carrying them around. ‘I tweaked the designs to reflect how much make-up they were carrying, where they wanted a pocket and what size mirror in the vanity case they liked.’
I remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s people calling our office and ordering gifts for her friends to be sent to film sets, that was quite a surreal moment."
On The Inspiration Behind The Beauty Bags
After training in fashion design at Central Martins, Batterbee was familiar with creating moodboards and drawing inspiration from various elements and eras. ‘My favourite moment in contemporary culture was the late 1970’s and 1980’s,’ he says, ‘I love the images of Bianca and Jerry partying in Studio 54.’ Batterbee imagined his products in the handbags and on the dressing tables of these stylish women – ‘our super shiny patent vegan mock-croc leather wouldn’t look out of place on Jerry Hall’s smoky mirrored dressing table.’
On The Otis Batterbee's Celebrity Fans
‘I remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s people calling our office and ordering gifts for her friends to be sent to film sets, that was quite a surreal moment. Our celebrity fans have always been women that I admire - Rita Ora and Florence Welch are both customers.’
Shop: Otis Batterbee London Beauty Bags
Otis Baterbee London Beauty Bags
1. The Large Beauty Makeup Bag in Black Deco, £25
2. The Large Beauty Makeup Bag in Burgundy, £25
3. The Carry-On Toiletries Case in Black Croc, £49
4. The Total-Vanity Case in Black Deco, £45
What's next for Otis Batterbee? 'Make-up brushes,' he tells us, 'I spent 12 months sampling and creating over 100 brushes before I was happy with the collection.' Batterbee spotted there was a gap in the market for professional quality brushes with a unique design. 'On my make-up brush journey I discovered that you couldn’t recycle them, so I set about finding a partner that could help us with this, after quite a few Zoom calls we got there. All our new make-up brushes can be sent back to us when they are no longer usable and we will recycle them, we’ve called it "one brush – two lives".'
To shop more of our favourite beauty bags, scroll on down...
Best Make-Up Bags 2021
1. Anya Hindmarch Bespoke In-Flight Case, £295
A cult classic, this sheer sophisticated cosmetics case is a big hit among the celebrity circuit. Yes, it's expensive - but the material is hard-wearing and it will be by your side for years to come.
2. Glossier The Beauty Bag, £28
Tall enough to fit the essentials but small enough to fit in your tote, this is the perfect beauty bag for weekends away.
3. Oliver Bonas Alphabet Make Up Bag, £15
A handbag-friendly canvas beauty bag that's available with every letter on the front.
4. Space NK Travel Bag, £24
Measuring 18cm x 15cm x 4.5 cm with a zip fastening, this bag is the perfect size for storing all your must-haves for your next holiday. Choose between five pretty pastel shades.
5. Paravel Monogrammed Cosmetics Case, £105
Paravel's cosmetics case can be monogrammed with your initials for a chic, personalised touch (which also makes it gifting gold). The case itself is made from structured canvas with leather accents and can stow away all your essentials.
6. Charlotte Tilbury Make-Up Bag, £15
A soft stylish cotton canvas bag to house all your make-up staples (including Pillow Talk, of course). The bag measures 9 inches (width) by 7 inches (height) and is machine washable.