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. (more…)

Well this is an unexpected design from Balenciaga. I am so accustomed to seeing their motorcycle bags that seeing a suede open tote with alphabet embellishments takes me completely off guard. There is black, white, and beige versions available of the Balenciaga Alphabet Tote. Buy via Barneys for $1,795.

Fill in the blank in the comments section below: The Balenciaga Alphabet Tote is ___________.

The only way to start the new year off is with a bang. And big pink crocodile a Balenciaga bang at that, how can you find fault with this feature?

You all knew that Amanda and I were Balenciaga fan girls in 2010 and our love for the brand continues into 2011. I find it hard not to love the Balenciaga Croc City Classic in lavender. The color is subtle but eye catching and this bag combines a motorcycle meets ladylike vibe. (more…)

Chalk this up as another bag that needs to be seen in person to be appreciated. The Holiday 2011 sueded metallic finishes that Balenciaga has been parading around of late piqued my interest, but only the dark silver (Balenciaga calls it black, but whatever, it’s dark silver), because that just sort of how I roll. I was a little nervous because the Balenciaga 10th anniversary sueded bags weren’t my favorite by any stretch of the imagination, but upon closer inspection, the brand has definitely learned from that misstep.

Dark silver is perhaps the most versatile neutral on the face of the planet, and the variation and depth in the color that graces the Balenciaga Papier A3 Tote is unparalleled. I found myself touching the bag over and over, not only because it was soft but also because I halfway expected the finish to come off on my hands. It didn’t, of course, but the delicate, gritty-glittery look has a sense of non-permanence to it that I found irresistible. (more…)

Over its ten year history, the great strength of the Balenciaga motorcycle bag has been its ability to be something of a sartorial Rorschach test. Because of the design’s simple lines and ability to morph from shape to shape while still being unmistakably Balenciaga, a prospective customer can see in it whatever she would like to see, and Nicolas Ghesquiere & Co. have taken to releasing it in every color, material and silhouette possible. All the better to collect, my dears.

Balenciaga’s Spring 2011 handbags continue that tradition in leather both perforated and traditional, suede, straw, python, crocodile, velvet and canvas. Did I miss any? I might have. The collection also ranges in color from subdued, rich carmel to acid green snakeskin and hits just about every note in between. Whether your personal style is prim, punk or such that you might be compelled to buy a very expensive fanny pack (please don’t), there’s an option for everyone who has ever loved a motorcycle bag in this massive line. Over 40 pictures, after the jump. (more…)

UPDATE: Despite the name, this bag is not actually studded. MatchesFashion.com calls it that for reasons that are not entirely clear, since it has no more studs than any other Balenciaga bag, and they don’t refer to the rest of their Balenciaga inventory that way. My eyes did not deceive me the first time – it’s perforated, which actually makes me like it even less. Feel free to read the rest of this post if you enjoy reading about handbags that don’t actually exist. Although this mix-up brings about an interesting question: Have you ever bought a bag online and then felt like the bag’s photos and description weren’t as accurate as they could have been when you finally received it? (more…)

Since Balenciaga doesn’t often show handbags on its Paris runway, getting a look at what Nicolas Ghesquiere has cooked up for an approaching season can be a little tricky. From the few pictures I’ve seen, Balenciaga Spring 2011 will feature brightly colored straw motorcycle bags similar to those from Spring 2010, but the addition of this colorblocked shopper is a bit more unexpected.

Spring 2011 prices have yet to be released, so if you’re a Balenciaga lover, what price would you want to see in order to be interested in this bag?

Photo via Vogue.com.

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My Balenciaga fangirldom is by now common knowledge around these parts, and despite Megs’ ongoing inability to find her perfect Balenciaga bag, I just keep discovering things from the brand that I need in my closet with a fierce urgency. Funny how that works, eh?

The latest object of my lust is the Balenciaga Giant City with rose gold hardware, and although I’m late to the rose gold party, I hope that I still get bonus points for earnestness. I brushed off the rose gold color choice as too “niche” when I heard about it, but after encountering this very bag in person, I can ignore it no longer. (more…)

I am actually totally excited by all things related to Balenciaga’s 10th Anniversary right now. First we had the metallic finished bags at Neiman Marcus, then the lizard embossed First version, and now an animal print Balenciaga First. And this version is by far the most ‘out there‘ of the group, but it is also the one that takes the biggest chance.

I re-fell in love with the floral S/S 2008 BBag and now I am captivated by the Balenciaga Animal Print First. (more…)

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