A funny thing happened at the Hotel Crillon in Paris yesterday – Balenciaga Fall 2011 graced the runway and we actually got to see handbags. That doesn’t happen particularly often under Nicolas Ghesquiere’s creative direction, but I was utterly thrilled to see that he threw a bone to those of us who tune in to see the accessories as much as the clothes themselves. Whether or not those accessories were a success is perhaps a bit more complicated.

There are none of Balenciaga’s famous motorcycle bags to be found here, of course. Despite the fact that those designs are the brand’s bread and butter, they’re not shown as part of seasonal collections, mostly because they’re always about the same. Instead, we have two groups of clutches: one sharply tailored and printed, the other made of comically oversized woven leather (even bigger than that from Prada Fall 2010) with a beautifully detailed chain strap. The former is sure to be popular with customers, but the latter might be a bit of a harder sell for Balenciaga. The idea is an interesting one, no doubt, but the too-simple shape combined with the scale of the weave might scare some people off. Alternately, I would absolutely love to see the same material in a larger tote shape.

Photos via Vogue.com.

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  • Maggie

    I really like the second black and white floral clutch!

  • edoardo

    This colelction was great by the point of view of clothes but about bags I don’t know. These bags are ncie but not, at all, Balenciaga….Ghequiere was crazy?? i don’t know but here there’s too much, too complicated and strange to be Balenciaga! no!!!

    http://fashiondoesntexist.blogspot.com/

  • Lulugurl

    Love 7 & 9! The braided (?) leather bag though? I don’t know about that one…..

  • Rosalie

    Love 3 and 4, the silver tones.

  • the proper order of things

    great for editorial coverage, but I don’t think anyone will think of these as “iconic Balenciaga” handbags…

    xoxo, http://www.theproperorderofthings.com

  • kellyx

    What’s with those balloon looking clutches?

  • dj

    Some nice finishes, but too long and narrow.

  • Sarah

    I actually love the large braids – they’re unexpected, they’re different, and they’re actually interesting. Too bad they’ll be WAY out of my price range.

  • LDJ

    I would carry all of those…and I am bot a big fan of clutches!!!

  • ninjaninja

    Love these clutches!

  • An

    I really like the prints!

  • delaney

    pretty textures and patterns. especially like the scrolly pattern!

  • Chris

    I love the printed clutches. Very stylish and definitely an eye-catcher.
    The woven/braided clutches are not so much my taste. However, if you are very fashion forward, why not – they might serve as a conversation starter.

  • Lorie

    Love the textures and patterns. But that bulbous mass of brown whatever is fugly.

  • Cathy Fitz

    The patterns and colors are gorgeous, but I’m not digging the actual bag designs.

  • Pam

    Love 15

  • Jan

    It’s a bust for me…not your usual B-Bag.

  • Earmuffs

    3&10

    The texture and patterns are beautiful! This is truly a work of art.

  • 19yearslater

    The swirly sort of Baroque print clutches are my favorites.

  • yy

    LOVE the streamlined black-and-white clutches! Off to the Balenciaga website to check out their motorcycle bags. I LOVE Balenciaga.

  • Stacy

    Really like the prints, not the braided leather. I agree with you Amanda, would love to see these in totes.

  • Raphaela

    Not that I’d invest in any of the braided clutches but, they are somewhat refreshing. I get that Balenciaga is trying to offer clutches that are different from what we are accustomed to. Kudos for that. I myself appreciate the structured series more for their awesome and well-chosen prints and colours.

  • joana

    looks like wallpapers designs! love it! :) love the color combination. love the artistic appeal. :)

  • Laura

    These purses are gorgeous and it will be interesting to see how they’ll fair with the public. The expensive fabrics definitely make these statement items. Their heavy price tag will make it a great pleasure to spend on.

  • Lizzie

    12 and 27 are fab

  • Mochababe73

    There is not one bag in this collection that I like. Reason number 101 why I have never wanted or coveted a Balenciaga handbag.
    Nicholas must have been on some good pharmaceuticals to make this ugly collection.

  • Lizzie

    I agree with mochababe73 …………

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