Two things to marvel at in this pic: Charlize Theron‘s uber-short buzz cut, AND the Alexander Wang Pelican Satchel! The new ‘do is for Theron’s upcoming movie role in Mad Max: Fury Road. Charlize is seen here leaving a lunch date with her mom in L.A. – wearing, I swear, one of the same outfits she donned in her 2011 flick Young Adult (which is a worthwhile movie night pick, if you like movies that are more sad and slightly snarky than not). Her Pelican can be had for $985 at Barneys.

We suspect Charlize’s cut-out, lace-up sandals are also Alexander Wang, but we don’t have any conclusive proof as of this posting. Per usual, feel free to weigh in if you feel these are definitely something other than Alexander Wang, or if you, like us, have a powerful hunch that they’re something from AW that the general public can’t get their hands on just yet.

Today we bring you our fave Brit, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Lisa Vanderpump, stepping outside the box with an unusual designer choice (for her) on her arm. We know how Lisa loves her Valentinos and her Dolce & Gabbanas, and especially her pinks, purples, and animal prints (as evidenced here by…yes, I believe that is a fur beret), so while this Alexander Wang Pelican Satchel fits Lisa’s style, the Alexander Wang brand is usually far edgier (not to mention more affordable) than Lisa’s usual super luxe, tried-and-true designer staples. Grab this Alexander Wang for yourself at Barneys for $895.

But is there anything wrong with shaking things up a bit in Beverly Hills? Of course not! The fact that Lisa’s Pelican Satchel is roughly $1500-$2000 less than practically every other bag we’ve seen her carry shouldn’t signal that the Vanderpumps have fallen on (rich people) hard times. On the contrary, Lisa’s RHOBH spin-off, “Vanderpump Rules” is scheduled to debut on Bravo on January 7th! We can’t wait!

Even though the news that Alexander Wang is the next creative director at Balenciaga has had the weekend to sink in, it doesn’t feel quite like reality. Wang rose to fame mostly on the wearability and relatively accessible price point of his downtown-cool sportswear and handbags, while Balenciaga’s departed designer/genius Nicolas Ghesquiere earned a reputation for industry-leading innovation, exceptional technical skill and an embrace of fashion’s intellectual side. (Oh, and a decade-plus of Motorcycle Bag success didn’t hurt, either.) The two have seemingly little to do with each other.

To me, Wang seemed (and to a certain extent, still seems) like an inappropriate choice to fill Ghesquiere’s shoes; the two men are completely different brand leaders in both aesthetic and approach. It seems like giving Wang the nod indicates that PPR wishes to take the French house in a more consumer-friendly direction; after all, Wang has proved himself an expert at figuring out exactly what luxury customers want to buy, which can be a weakness of designers who are more focused on abstract ideas and exacting execution. Finding both those qualities in one designer is rare, to say the least.

The more I’ve thought about it, though, the more the two designers’ aesthetics seem to converge in an area that’s not only very important to those of us at this site, but to the overall financial health of almost any fashion brand: handbags. I’ve bought and carried multiple bags from both brands, and although I hadn’t really thought about it before this news emerged, the two are not all that different.

Both Wang and Balenciaga do most of their accessories business by selling slouchy leather bags with tough, industrial-inspired hardware. The bags from both lines are then reissued in new colors and hardwares every season; the most successful designs have their shapes tweaked a bit in later seasons to provide consumers multiple options. Most brands incorporate a few of those techniques into their accessories strategies, but the similarities are more numerous than you’d expect when you look at the bag lines side-by-side, particularly considering how divergent the rest of the two brands are.

On top of that, Balenciaga and Wang’s seasonal bags have begun to share aesthetic similarities in recent seasons. Wang’s Pelican line from Fall 2012, for example, has the taut leather and clean edges that characterize many of Balenciaga’s recent non-Motorcyle bags. Both of those moves may be attributable to larger accessories trends, but they’re notable because, improbably, both brands now have their accessories collections structured the same way – a foundation of casual, easy shoulder bags and satchels with edgy hardware, combined with seasonal lines of tight, modern totes and satchels.

Ultimately, that should help Balenciaga bag lovers breathe a small sigh of relief. The Motorcycle bags, with their seemingly endless popularity, are likely going nowhere, at least in the immediate future. Not only would it be a bad business move to end the line right now, but it the bags likely won’t be contrary to Wang’s aesthetic vision at Balenciaga; after all, they’re pretty much in sync with it already.

What are your feelings on Alexander Wang’s move to Balenciaga? What do you think the link will be like?

I will never forget the first time I saw a Alexander Wang Printed Lizard Emile Satchel. I first saw someone toting around this satchel on the subway in Soho, and I will admit I was not familiar with any of Alexander Wang’s designs at the time. I was waiting for the R train on my way to class when a chic young woman in her 20s stood next to me on the platform, carrying a black leather satchel. As soon as I saw her bag, I was immediately drawn to its edgy, cool, downtown look. As surreptitiously as I could, I looked for any clue of a designer logo or a brand name. This, my friends, is how I came to discover Alexander Wang.

Needless to say, I have been a huge admirer of his designs ever since, and I cannot get enough of this burgundy satchel. Satchels are actually one of my favorite handbags styles because of their functionality and versatility. It is a handbag that holds everything you want to carry and you can wear it anywhere from work to the weekend. What draws me into this design in particular is the unique domed shape at the top. The satchel is constructed with a double-zipper closure and the silver metal corners and double handles are all used to encompass the Wang style: slouchiness meets sophistication.

Even Alan from The Hangover knew the wisdom of sporting a satchel. The fact that it wasn’t an Alexander Wang satchel…well I suppose we can forgive him for his minor fashion lapse. You can buy your first or your next Alexander Wang satchel through ShopBop for $925.

Today we have the nearly ageless Sharon Stone holding her Alexander Wang Rocco Duffel close as her handlers ferry her back to the set of her latest film, Fading Gigolo. I’m not even joking, that’s the name of the movie. (Even weirder, Woody Allen has a major role in this film, even though he is neither the screenwriter nor the director. Fortunately for all, he does not play the gigolo.) The textured black leather Rocco looks especially ferocious when paired with Sharon’s crazy black jungle fur-collared jacket.

Sharon’s looking pretty good these days – so good in fact, I managed to wait until now to discuss this whole really unfortunate satin jumpsuit situation happening below the waist. Oy vey. I am loath to throw out hard-and-fast fashion rules on the fly, but satin jumpsuits – maybe not something you should do over 50? They don’t feel like an especially youthful trend either, making me think that the satin jumpsuit (currently available from fine retailers like Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom) was tailor-made for svelte thirty-somethings. Thoughts, PB readers? If you’d rather take the Rocco and leave the rest of the outfit, you can pick one up at ShopBop for $895.

For a long time, I wondered why Alexander Wang didn’t do men’s bags. Wang’s dark, industrial, ultra-cool aesthetic is patently unisex, and bags have always been a great success for the brand. Many of Wang’s larger women’s bags have been favorites of fashionable dudes for a long time, and when there’s a clear market, a smart company tries to fill it. Alexander Wang, as a brand, is nothing if not growth-savvy.

Enter the Alexander Wang Wallie Holdall, which is among Wang’s first men’s efforts. It’s exactly what you would expect – black leather, slouchy shape, minimal hardware for the men’s market – which is kind of perfect. Launching a new line requires fleshing out the basics, and this design is as good an attempt at that as you’ll find. (more…)

My love for Alexander Wang is not new – it’s actually a long love that has built over the years. After the craze following the Rocco, Alexander Wang continued to churn out bags that became instant hits. One such bag is the Prisma tote, I always saw it but never thought much of it, until now. I’ve been craving adding a simple tote to my handbag repertoire and the more I see the Alexander Wang Prisma Tote, the more I like it and want one myself.

Skinny shoulder straps will make carrying this bag simple and there is a version for everyone, from vibrant hues to leopard print calf hair. (more…)

By now, we know what to expect from Alexander Wang’s runway bags: neutrals, weird shapes, athletic references. Every season, only a few of the designer’s cash-cow handbags make it onto the runway, and they’re generally not the ones that end up selling briskly at retail. Some brands use their runway shows like accessories ads (bags are a critical source of revenue for most of the designers who make them), but Wang chooses to use his runway accessories strictly to flesh out the mood of the collection instead.

That means there’s often not much to look at, handbag-wise, but the Alexander Wang Spring 2013 collection did offer a few clues about what we can expect from the contemporary leader for the season. As you might expect, there’s more stark black and white coming, plus some unexpected netting and terrycloth that made sense in the context of Wang’s athletic tendencies (but not in any other context.) It was also a collection of weird handbag proportions – well, check out the collection after the jump, you’ll see what I mean. (more…)

Both Amanda and I are big Alexander Wang fan girls, but even the best fall down sometimes. The Emile is not my favorite shape from Wang, but I always thought it looked presentable in crisp clean leathers and fresh colors. I ran into this version however, and I just feel like it is a sad looking bag.

Instead of being young and fun, the Alexander Wang Emile In Mustard Green Suede With Matte Black looks drab and cheap. There is some sort of embossing that only appears down the center of the bag and it does nothing to help the aesthetic of the design. And the color, mustard green suede? Ugh, that just sounds ugly. Instead of saying more, I am going to leave it to you all to fill in the blank. [$925 via Alexander Wang]

Fill in the blank: The Alexander Wang Emile Suede With Matte Black is ________. (more…)

When you think of golf, what designers do you think of? I’m guessing that your mind probably went immediately to a company like Ralph Lauren or Lacoste, both of which go out of their way to associate themselves with the leisurely sport. If you’re super preppy, maybe you even thought of Lilly Pulitzer and her bright printed shorts. The last person on your mind (other than maybe Rick Owens) was likely Alexander Wang.

And yet, fans of the brand know that on his Spring 2012 runway, Wang was inspired by a number of athletic activities, and the golf influence among his bag designs was impossible to ignore. In fact, some of his handbags looked nearly big enough to hold an actual set of clubs, with the Alexander Wang Small Golf Bag providing an alternative that can actually be carried. The question is, though, would you carry it? (more…)

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