Clutch designer Tyler Ellis walks us through how to pack those tiny bags and what makes them so pricey

By Emily Kirkpatrick
Updated January 08, 2017 07:09 PM
Tyler Ellis clutch packing Sarah Ball
Credit: Sarah Ball

Walking the red carpet on a semi-regular basis has to rank amongst the top of the most unrelatable activities celebrities engage in on a regular basis. For most of us, the last time we had people frantically trying to take our photograph while dressed to the nines in a ball gown or tux was probably prom night or your wedding day. But one thing that’s not so farfetched is trying to squeeze all of your most important belongings into a teensy tiny going-out bag. Like, seriously, what can possibly fit in there?

Lucky for you, Tyler Ellis, the accessories designer whose pieces land on the biggest names in Hollywood is giving us the scoop (and also the daughter of famed designer Perry Ellis), is answering some of our most pressing evening bag questions. Whether you’re attending an award show or just going on a date night, scroll down to find out how to artfully pack even your tiniest clutch with ease.

What are celebrities actually carrying in your bags on the red carpet?
What I see most are phones, lip glosses, event tickets and mints.

The Hollywood Reporter's Annual Women In Entertainment Breakfast In Los Angeles
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty

What is your tip for getting more things to fit into these small bags?
Only bring the essentials: Lip gloss, phone, credit card, ID and keys. What else do you need for a night out on the town?

Have the dimensions of your bags had to change in order to accommodate new developments in smartphones?
Yes! I pray the phones don’t get any larger! My original Lee pouchet was too small for the iPhone 6+, so clients requested a larger version, which I quickly developed. Now, every style of bag I produce fits the iPhone6+, allowing the owner to carry all the evenings necessities comfortably.

The 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards - Arrivals

Your Lee Large Clutch is $1,595. Why is one of these bags is so expensive even though it’s so small?
It’s all about the details. I strive to make the best product I can, both aesthetically and functionally. I use the best quality skins and leathers from France and Italy, where the bags are produced by a father-son factory outside of Florence. Every detail down to the size of stitch has been thought through. Quality is of the utmost importance to me, which puts my bags on the higher end of the spectrum, but once you hold a Tyler bag in your hands, you will understand exactly how much time and care has been put into each piece.

2016 National Board Of Review Gala - Inside Arrivals
Credit: Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
My designs are typically made on the back of cocktail napkins, which my factory then brings to life. I always wear my prototypes and refine them a number of times until I feel they are ready to go into production. It’s a really rewarding process, having an idea in my head turn into something three-dimensional. I don’t think the artisans get enough credit these days for what they’re able to create with their hands. It’s really incredible.

The 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards - Arrivals
Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

What do you keep in your clutch? Do you have any tricks to getting more things to fit in it? Sound off below!