In case you hadn’t heard, Grace Coddington, the unsung hero of Vogue herself, is also the world’s most elegant cat lady. Step aside, Choupette Lagerfeld – Pumpkin Coddington is fashion’s new favorite cat, and he’s being feted by a capsule accessories collection from Balenciaga, in collaboration with his fabulous owner. For a pet, it hardly gets more fashionable or luxurious.

The Grace Coddington for Balenciaga Pumpkin Collection will launch on Fashion’s Night Out, and it’ll include the Balenciaga Pumpkin Paper Tote, $1000, seen above. The bag, which also comes in ecru canvas in addition to this shade of, well, pumpkin, features Coddington’s drawings of her cat wearing seminal Balenciaga runway looks from the past 10 years. A silk twill scarf, $395, and a fringed wool and silk scarf, $495, will also be made in the print. These pieces are quirk for a good cause, though – 20% of proceeds will go to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. I can’t help it, I think the bag is kind of cute, particularly since the funds will go toward helping animals. What do you think?

The name Balenciaga is synonymous with the brand’s highly coveted Motorcycle bags. That can’t be what Balenciaga had in mind as the brand’s modern iteration grew; along with the motorcycle bags, the brand designs ready-to-wear, many other handbags, shoes, and accessories, almost all of which are overshadowed by the omnipresent bags. Most of my research for Balenciaga involves seeing the new season colors as they are released.

But while I perused the Balenciaga website, I ran into a new handbag recently added to the brand’s collection, the Balenciaga Tube S. This bag has a different aesthetic, a touch more refined with its lines and design. In fact, there is a bit of a Givenchy feel, and that dear readers is a great thing – as we believe Givenchy is about to have the next big handbag moment. (more…)

Men’s bags don’t vary all that much, although they’re starting to vary a little bit more, so seeing something like the Balenciaga Creased Leather Pouch always makes me a bit confused. This bag was in the new arrivals at Mr. Porter alongside what can only be described as a Jil Sander Black Leather Lunch Bag which had completely sold out, so it’s undeniable that there’s a market for what is essentially a men’s clutch. But how are they used? Even in New York fashion circles, I’ve never seen a dude just, you know…carrying a clutch. Except for perhaps Bryan Boy, but he’s the exception that proves all kinds of rules, now isn’t he? (more…)

Generally I love anything that Balenciaga does with its much-loved Balenciaga Motorcycle Bags. I love them in regular leather, patent, prints, raffia…you get the idea, I’m a fan, and so is the rest of the PurseBlog team. In fact, the only trepidation I can remember expressing over Balenciaga’s bags in the past concerned the brand’s first foray into perforated leather, and I don’t think I like the Balenciaga Polka Dot Bags any more.

This design features perhaps the biggest perforations I’ve ever seen on a handbag, and I can’t help but wonder how that will play into the bag’s longterm wear. Cutting that many holes of that size into a piece of leather significantly changes how the material distributes stress and weight, which will likely lead to a shorter lifespan for the bag. Of course, if you’re buying a look this bold, you probably don’t want to wear it forever; a single season might do just fine. And now that I think of it, if you’re looking for a bag in which to carry your extremely tiny dog, these might be nice, breathable options. Check out more pictures of the bags after the jump and then let us know what you think in the comments. (more…)

If you think that “luxe straw tote” is a contradiction in terms, I don’t blame you. That’s a totally logical position to hold, and one that I happen to hold myself. In fact, the Balenciaga Panier Basket Totes are the exception that proves the rule; that they’re so chic that they make almost all the other high-end options look like exactly what they are – overpriced straw bags.

If you’re grousing at the notion of paying a grand, give or take a hundred bucks, for a straw tote bag, I understand your consternation. On the bright side, super-seasonal styles like these often go on sale at the end of the season, and sometimes even end up with steep discounts. If you’re the type of person to whom a thousand dollars is not a great deal of money, shop now for the best selection of colors. Either way, we’ve got our picks for the best of the season from Balenciaga after the jump. (more…)

Megs and I? Balenciaga fangirls. Even our new marketing director Hilary is getting in on the act – a Balencaiga Giant City Bag was the first thing added to her wardrobe after she joined our team a few months ago. The brand is best known for its Motorcycle Bags in a litany of colors, which are refreshed every season and sometimes fiercely sought by collectors for years afterward. Today, I’d like to talk about something Balenciaga does occasionally that’s slightly less well know: prints.

Every couple of seasons, Balenciaga will make a special edition of its Motorcycle Bags bearing some sort of pattern. Florals, animal prints, stripes, traditional toile – they’ve done a little bit of everything over the years, spanning aesthetics from ladylike to super modern. The Motorcycle Bag makes a great canvas for prints for two reasons – the signature Balenciaga trim gives any version a serious dose of leather to counteract the pattern, and the bag design is so recognizable on its own that it doesn’t lose the brand’s personality with the addition of print. Check out our past and present favorites after the jump. (more…)

Love it or Leave it: Balenciaga Glaze?

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Note: Balenciaga asked us to remove the images as they are for internal use only.

I’m continually surprised and impressed by our PurseForum members. The kinds of things that these ladies are able to get their hands on before the rest of the fashion community always impresses me; it’s like they were all detectives in another life. If you need a handbag mystery solved, it’s them you should be asking. They can find anything, even things that brands try very hard to prevent from being found.

Take, for example, this page from a Balenciaga boutique’s sales book, which shows the Balenciaga Fall 2012 color swatches in all their glory and which we found in a thread on our Forum. These are the shades that Balenciaga’s much-loved Motorcycle Bags will be made in for the coming pre-collection and collection, the first of which will start hitting stores at the end of the summer. Want to see how these hues are going to look on actual bags? Well, you’re in luck. Check out an expandable swatch chart and a first look at the bags after the jump. (more…)

I’ve always loved Balenciaga‘s motorcycle bags for men, but I always hear the same criticism of them from dudes, gay or straight, who are concerned about looking masculine – they look too much like the women’s bags to be distinctly male. And really, that’s fair – there have been times when I’ve questioned whether a particular shape belonged to the men’s or women’s collection, and with Balenciaga’s signature grommets, buckles and zippers on everything, it’s genuinely hard to tell what’s what.

It looks as though Balenciaga has heard those concerns loud and clear, at least if the Balenciaga Wide Leather Messenger is any indication. That’s why it’s the subject of this week’s Man Bag Monday – this bag keeps the Balencaiga feel but adds a healthy dose of masculinity for regular dudes who want a nice bag. (Or for fashionable ladies who want to treat their regular dude to something special.) (more…)

Y’all. YOU GUYS. The Balenciaga Fall 2012 runway bags are good. They manage to play with proportion in that signature Nicolas Ghesquiere way without sacrificing wearability, the combination of which is making me absolutely salivate with handbag lust. I never expect to get particularly excited about Balenciaga’s runway accessories because even though I’m a fangirl who loves the brand’s runway collections, the bags usually sacrifice wearability for experimental aesthetics. That’s not the case for fall.

The wide, flat shoulder straps will likely be a sticking point for someone who prefers a more traditionally proportioned look, but for me, it’s that element that makes the bags so utterly Balenciaga. Challenging proportions are a hallmark of Ghesquiere’s often brilliant work at the brand, and to see him incorporate that into such a wearable bag makes me very, very excited. The collection’s school folder-sized portfolio clutches are great too, although they might be too thin to be usable if the leather has any structure to it. (more…)

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