Odds are that you either loved or hated the handbags from Prada Fall 2012. It was a bold collection for sure, full of prints, appliquéd leather patterns and heavy jewel embellishments, and it takes a particular kind of personal style (not to mention lifestyle) to get optimal usage out of such a bold accessory. Perhaps unsurprisingly, being a gorgeous, young actress or model like Miranda Kerr or Jessica Alba makes carrying a Prada Floral Applique Tote look pretty simple. But who wore it better?

Miranda and Jessica are actually carrying two slightly different versions of this bag, but for styling purposes, they’re quite similar. Jessica’s Prada is slightly taller, while Miranda’s is more of an east-west shape and looks a bit more structured. Indeed, both Jessica and Miranda chose to wear the bag in similar ways; they both took the opportunity to mix prints (Miranda with her scarf, Jessica with her jeans), they both chose to wear simple black boots and narrow jeans, and they both finished the look with a bit of leather outerwear (sleeves optional).

It’s worth noting that Miranda lives in New York, while Jessica spends her time in Los Angeles. In that context, it’s easy to see these two handbag-centric ensembles as a microcosm of how style differs in the the US’s two biggest cities. Even the differences between the bags – Miranda’s is the sleeker, more severe option, while Jessica’s bag is roomier and less structured – are instructive of the coasts’ subtle style differences. Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments! Unfortunately, all of Prada’s floral applique bags from Fall 2012 appear to have sold out online, but you can shop Prada’s full collection via Neiman Marcus.

Megs and I have had our eyes on the Mulberry Zigzag bag ever since it came down the runway in several sizes and colors back in February, and now that it’s available at retail, we have some deciding to do. Namely, which version is the best? Are they all best? Does the definition of the word “best” inherently preclude them from all being best? These are the questions of our times.

For expediency’s sake, we’ve narrowed it down to just two versions of the Zigzag: the medium black one with multicolor studs and the large ivory one with tonal studs. At first, my instincts told me to go with the black version. It’s very similar in color composition and feel to my beloved Proenza Schouler PS1, and I carry that bag pretty much every day – I don’t know what could be a better endorsement. On top of that, I love the use of multicolor studs; instead of a flat textile or painted leather, enameled studs on a contrasting leather color create a three-dimensional pattern of sorts, particularly when used in a repetitive manner across a bag like these are. Pretty good, right?

But what of the bag’s lovely, slightly larger, significantly paler sister? The tonal leather and enameled studs feel cleaner to me, more modern. The bag feels even a tad futuristic, like it was made entirely out of some kind of space-age ceramic. I’d never, ever advise wearing it with dark denim (the color transfer!), but if you’re prone to clothing that won’t rub dye, I’d definitely choose the white version. Which one do you prefer?

Mulberry Medium Zigzag Bag

$2750 via Net-a-Porter

Mulberry Large Zigzag Bag

$3150 via Net-a-Porter

Within the accessories industry, runway bags have a very special spot. They’re the most directional of a season’s accessories; they tell us where our beloved handbags are headed in the months and years to come and set size, color and texture trends that often endure for seasons at a time. Most brands produce many more bags in their full retail line than they include in their shows, but the runway bags are always the most fashion-forward and experimental of any given group.

Most runway coverage focuses on full looks, though, and even though we cover as many bag collections as we can, looking through all of those posts can be daunting if your goal is simply to get an idea of what’s to come and where you’ll be spending your money in six months. That’s why we’ve distilled all of that coverage down to a list of bags that not only represent the very best of what’s going on in accessories for fall, but give you some inspiration to start filling your savings account. Fall pre-orders will be here before you know it. (more…)

If I had a nickel for every post I’ve written about mixing colors and textures over the past year…well, I guess I actually do have a nickel, since I get paid for this. The point is, I’d have a lot of nickels. Not enough to retire, but enough to pay my rent, even though they give me a really hard time when I try to pay it in nickels. I’ll admit, it’s a heavy bag.

Anyway, the trends represented by the Anya Hindmarch Stripy Gracie Mini Shoulder Bag and the Reed Krakoff Kit Python and Leather Shoulder Bag are nothing new – exotics, brights, you guys are all old hat at this. But which do you like better, lots of natural snakeskin with a little bit of color, or lots of color with a little bit of texture? Check out the larger photos and vote in our poll, after the jump. (more…)

Marc by Marc Jacobs Snakes on a Frame Crossbody, $298. LeSportsac Divine Sunglasses Wristlet, $25. Both via ShopBop.

In my three years at PurseBlog, I’ve written a lot of posts that I never expected to write as part of my job here. For example, I never imagined myself Photoshopping a picture of a small, yappy dog next to a very expensive clutch for comparison’s sake. I never expected to write half of the things I’ve written about all manner of Real Housewives. Today’s Bag Battle, though? It might take the cake.

When I first saw the Marc by Marc Jacobs Snakes on a Frame Crossbody, I smiled at its relative novelty. A sunglasses bag! Cute! But yesterday morning I noticed the LeSportsac Divine Sunglasses Wristlet, and the coincidence seemed to fun to pass up. Of course, with two bags that share an unconventional theme, we have to put it to a vote: Which one do you like better? Check out larger photos of both bags and vote in our poll, after the jump. (more…)

Last week, exotic handbag designer extraordinaire Carlos Falchi had an event at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. Naturally, I had to pop in to say hi and see the newest designs from the master. His area at Bergdorfs was filled with fans and shoppers picking out designs and having Carlos sign them. With the shopping mood in full force, I began to examine every Carlos Falchi bag I could get my hands on. Everyone including myself were buzzing about the superb quality and the fact that his bag are made in the USA.

Right now I am coveting the classic Carlos Falchi Hobo in both python and crocodile skin. As fall attempts to set in, I find myself drawn more and more to brown bags and both of these are stunning options. (more…)

A bag standoff between two Celine giants. In the blue corner, the Celine Cobalt Blue Mini Luggage. Entering the red corner, the luscious Celine Triptyque.

So different, yet both equally lovable. Which one captures your heart? Click to see the full gallery and let us know your pick!

Alaia Leopard Tote, $4770. Jimmy Choo Gaia Leopard Tote, $2295. Both via Net-a-Porter.

Much to my eternal delight, leopard print is going absolutely nowhere. It came on strong as an accessories trend last fall, but the pattern has been falling in and out of favor for decades and it’s here to stay as long as fashion’s love for maximalism remains strong. In fact, the amount of leopard that’s surfacing for Fall 2011 might be an all-time high for the modern fashion industry.

Assuming that you’re still in to leopard, that means you’ve got some accessories decisions to make. Natural or grey? Satchel or tote? Partially leather or all haircalf? Alaia Leopard Satchel or Jimmy Choo Gaia Leopard and Leather Tote? Personally, I’ll pick Alaia every day, all day, but take a look at the larger pictures and pricing information after the jump before you let us know which design wins this Bag Battle. (more…)

One should never underestimate the power of accessories. Not only can the right bag change an outfit, but it can make you sit up a little straighter, smile a little brighter and have a better day. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me! Bags: They’re like self-esteem that you can buy.

Ok, sarcasm aside (and yes, that was absolutely sarcasm), this conversation is one that I’ve had with several friends recently: Do sales associates in high-end stores treat us differently when we’re carrying our fanciest bags, as opposed to bags that are just regular-fancy, or is it all in our heads? In a feat of journalism that would likely impress absolutely none of my college professors, I put that question to the test. The results? Not all that surprising. (more…)

Which Jil Sander Spring Market Bag do you prefer?

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