Alexander Wang Jade Stingray and Suede Clutch, $795 via Net-a-Porter

If you’re a regular visitor to these parts, you might remember that back when I did my Alexander Wang Spring 2011 preview, I more or less drooled all over the Alexander Wang Jade Stingray and Suede Clutch. The stingray version of this design comes in both ivory with rose gold and black with matte black hardware, and I would have gleefully forked over the required cash for both options. A roomy wristlet clutch with exceptionally cool hardware and panels of exotic leather? That’s like asking me whether or not I’d like to have pizza for dinner: The answer is always “yes.” But unfortunately, reality isn’t quite as good as my dreams, and the clutch has one very important design flaw.

You see that little flap of leather that covers the zipper? It renders the clutch basically non-functional. I hope you wanted whatever it was that you managed to put inside to stay there, because without a few minutes of work, you’re not going to be getting it back out. I had an opportunity to play with the black-on-black version this weekend at Barneys for the first time, and what was glee at finding the object of my affection in person quickly turned to frustration. Because the clutch has such hard edges, it’s impossible to maneuver the zipper around the corners underneath the leather flap.

In fact, the zipper-obscuring leather is so tight around the corners that I had a hard time flipping it back with my fingers in an attempt to free the zipper, and since the bag is a clutch, that’s a maneuver that required both hands and a good bit of concentration. I wouldn’t want to be standing in line at a busy bar, frantically trying to spring my ID or debit card from its leathery prison while irritated people waited behind me, and yet I fear that would be exactly how things would go. And what if your phone is ringing inside your bag? Forget it, you’ll have to call them back unless there’s some sort of trick to this clutch that neither the Barneys salesgirl nor I could figure out. Ladies, I’m so disappointed. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $795.

  • nappy

    awww… ive wanted the rose gold/white combination… good thing you played with it first before you (and i) made a purchase… it had a good price point for something that looks so decadent… i hope Barney’swould report it to the AW team so Alexander could do the necessary improvements (crossing m fingers really hard!!!)

  • tere

    i really love this bag, amazing!

    xx

  • Lulugurl

    That is such a shame about the zipper, because I saw this post and my first thought was OMG I have to have that clutch, nevermind that I have no use for a clutch but it is just too cool and then I saw the zipper and went what the…..?! And then I read your post and worst fears were confirmed…..I am very sad about this zipper business.. :(

  • Kat

    I can’t believe no one even road tested this bag. It would’ve looked so cool in black, too. How disappointing.

    http://dontaskmetosmile.wordpress.com

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      casual shoes / top running shoes / men shoes

  • DL

    Thank god for your review or I might have kept my eye on it. What a waste of a gorgeous bag.

    And you’re right – how does one squeeze their hand in there?!

  • rose60610

    I would never buy a bag that is a hassle to open and close, regardless of looks, designer or price.

  • kelly

    i can’t believe they didn’t just expose the zip! surely that would look fine if it’s in the sam colour hardware as the rest of the bag. what a shame. cute bag but if it doesn’t function it’s no good to me :(

    • chloehandbags

      Looks, to me (from this pic), as though the zip is goldtone, whereas, the rest of the HW is rose goldtone?

      Maybe that’s why they decided to cover it?

      What they should have done, though, its put a small, looped bit of leather on either side of the zip (like an old suitcase would have); but then, that would have meant it was fairly well-constructed, which I don’t think this really is, TBTH?

      AW are made in China, aren’t they?

  • Shundy

    This clutch is very functional if you guys take a look at this:
    http://www.net-a-porter.com/intl/ViewFullSizeImage.ice?productID=105600&currentImage=105600_e1

    The zipper can be open up fully and not just that small part as shown.

    Great clutch!

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

      The zipper goes all the way around the clutch, yes, but it’s nearly impossible to maneuver over the corners as designed. The zipper gets stuck under the leather flap.

  • PhotoGirl

    Oh my goodness! This bag is a perfect metaphor for much that happens in the fashion world: pretty but ultimately ridiculous.
    I’m glad you have the courage to call it like you see it, Amanda.

    • http://www.purseblog.com/ Amanda Mull

      I might have assumed it was just me being clumsy, but the Barneys SA told me that it was a common problem people had been having. I was so excited for this clutch to come out and was definitely going to buy one, but the zipper problem is a dealbreaker for me. It’s really a shame, because this little bag is very cool. And the zipper is rose gold like the rest of the hardware, so I don’t know why it couldn’t have been left exposed.

      • jeans

        i also investigated this clutch and thought the same thing. not to mention how heavy this bag is. it was non- functional, uncomfortable to hold and not cute enough to ignore these things.

      • chloehandbags

        Oh, so it is it rose goldtone?

        In which case, yes, it does seem odd that they’d choose to cover it?

        I can only assume they did it to make it look even more like a piece of vintage luggage, then?

        In which case, though, they really should have done it properly, or not done it at all.

  • reneeo

    I wanted one too, but that is truly a dealbreaker. I really hope, too, that AW redesigns it and fixes that problem. Such a cute bag.

  • Mochababe73

    What is up with all of these handbag designers all of a sudden making bags that are not functional?
    I think that the zipper could have been exposed (which would have upped the cool factor even more) and the corners could have been sharp but pliable. The problem is that the corners are hard and rigid.

  • edoardo

    I don’t know the wearability of this bag but I do love the suede and the leather, all white, together!

    http://fashiondoesntexist.blogspot.com/

  • adrienne z

    not for me

  • Ping

    I am not a huge fan of his bags in general after looking at them at Neimans. They tend to be heavy and not well made and in general, the leather in real life tends to look cheap. DVF bags are so much more stylish and tends to be cheaper….I have LV suhali bag in this combination color which i love and have the same kind of studs/hardsware which Alexander Wang seems to have copied this from.

  • Cathy Fitz

    I am constantly amazed at designers who create beautiful bags, that are completely non-functional! It’s insulting. I want bags that I can use, not for posing.

  • Kasey

    I think this bag is perfect for Sonja from RHNY. She could just carry it around her house at her own cocktail parties, empty of course, and never have to worry about the zipper issue. ;)

    • The Fashionable ESQ

      @ Kasey HAHAHA!!

  • mimi

    It is kinda heavy too….

  • chloehandbags

    Oh dear, that must have been disapointing.

    If it helps ease that disappointment, at all, it looks a tad on the wobbly side, construction-wise, anyway, IMHO.

    • chloehandbags

      Sorry about the typo, BTW!

  • 19yearslater

    Too bad it’s not practical, because I pretty much love any design that would look good paired with a schoolgirl outfit.

  • Merve

    I cant understand from the photos how big it is but he could have gotten around the zipper issue by not having one at all. It could have been like a box clutch and snapped closed. Then Mr Wang would have been $795x 20 (of you women on here who wud buy it) richer…

  • lisa

    after reading all of this and really thinking about it, this is not a bag meant to be opened! this is the sort of this you carry around, empty, and just to look cute and chic and throw around. even if you were able to get things in and out, they would shift around and knock around the inside, so the more i have thought about it, it is meant to be empty! and on that note, i might add, that if i were to splurge for such a cute accessory with no function other than its chicness, than i’d have another little plain clutch/bag to hold necessary essentials. does that make any sense at all? it’s sort of like when you find the last pair of shoes that you have been waiting for, they are a half size to big or small, but you get them anyway, even if they don’t fit at all. and only for those occasions where you are not going to be standing or walking, but into and out of a cab, and sitting for dinner! OY!

    • rose60610

      On that note, I can also think of better things to drop $795 on, functional or not. If I received a mandate to spend on an accessory, you’d find me at a Tiffany counter, not standing in line to buy a box that is a pain to open.

  • UGH YES

    well i love AW, but this is ridiculous. he shoulda left the zip exposed. makes me think spinal tap, “he can’t even get his little fingers on the zip…”

  • GSArellano

    Seemingly, this zipper problem is common with AW bags. I purchased a Kristen and have difficulty opening it because it is stuck deep inside the corner. Gets me very impatient that I hardly use it now. AW should seriously look into this design malfunction.

  • Maureen

    This website is having this Alexander Wang jade clutch for free/giveaway! check it out http://www.reachcouture.com/2011/12/new-year-2012-giveaway-alexander-wang.html

    xoxo
    m

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