The backpack, or rucksack, is one if the most ancient types of bag, used by hunter-gatherers who need to have their hands free as they wandered through primordial forests in search of prey.

In modern times, the rucksack has long been staple military issue, and it is understandably the bag of choice of both the long-distance hiker and the student backpacker. Unglamorous and downright ugly though such bags may be, they make the rough-and-tumble of such activities possible.

That the backpack could be stylish, even a style icon, was proved back in the 1980s, when in 1985, Prada launched its black nylon backpack to widespread acclaim. For a while, it became the ‘It bag’ of its time, influencing a whole generation of imitations and variations.

The reverberations from this ground-breaking bag are still felt years after, as seen in the Max Mara label Sportmax. There is nothing remotely macho in this bag. The creamy colour, the soft pyramid shape and the plethora of pockets, relieved the rococo curves and brown leather trimming, create a bag that is light and frothy as a cappuccino.

Ashley Olsen with a Prada Nylon Backpack

Sometimes our lives can feel not so different from those of our hunter-gatherer forebears; you really do need your hands free when negotiating the urban jungle. The natural age-old solution, of course, is the backpack.