Like many of you, I was heavily skeptical about Burberry’s Fall 2014 runway bags. Many of them looked like hastily conceived art projects, painted in the brand’s studio by people who were clearly not painters by employment. At the time, the standouts were a few velvet-on-leather bags that looked much more purposeful and high-end than their painted counterparts, but does the Burberry Padlock Dome Satchel work outside of that context? (more…)

There is something of a fine line between “art” and “art project,” and during the Burberry Fall 2014 runway show, the brand’s hand-painted handbags didn’t often stay on the right side of it. In a post-show interview with Vogue, brand head Christopher Bailey spoke of having studio staffers paint the bags, and the results generally looked like the product of hands whose primary job is not, in fact, painting things. A “back-to-basics” approach was clearly Bailey’s intent, but unfortunately it doesn’t make for bags that look particularly luxurious or expensive.

The collection also includes some bags with large swaths of Native American blanket-print textiles, which are light years more sophisticated than their painted counterparts, as well as some bags, all in the same elongated domed shape, which feature velvet embellishments. The vast majority of the bags were painted with oversized, amateurish flowers and leaves, though, and although normally I love painted bags, I wish Burberry, with its nearly infinite resources and influence, had tapped actual artists to do the painting like Prada often does; the results would have almost assuredly been no less earthy but light years more elegant.

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Kate Bosworth just launched her second capsule collection for TopShop in NYC last week, and here she is on her way to the big Soho TopShop shindig with brand new husband, director Michael Polish, and the ever-adorable Burberry Heart Leather and Haircalf Satchel. Before you start swooning uncontrollably over those heart-printed haircalf panels, we unfortunately couldn’t locate this bag anywhere, but we did find a haircalf Burberry tote with the same print for $1,857 at Matches Fashion.

While Kate Bosworth is an actress first, she’s really made a niche for herself in the fashion world with her biz endeavors: JewelMint, BeachMint, collections for TopShop, previous model/spokesperson roles for Coach and Vanessa Bruno and of course, her near-constant presence on fashion mag covers all over the known universe. The girl has both clout and the good taste to back it up. Also, “The Many Bags of Kate Bosworth” will not be a waste of your time, to put it lightly.

I always dread Burberry runway shows a little bit. When they come around, I always love everything about them – the clothes, the outerwear, even the music that the brand picks every season as a soundtrack to the Burberry Experience. Except the bags. I almost always hate the bags, which makes me sad, you guys. Upon viewing Burberry Spring 2014, I felt a bit relieved; there’s not much diversity here, but the bags feel fresh and light, like they might be the gateway to a genuinely good retail collection.

There are no shoulder bags, crossbodies, satchels or evening bags to be found here. To top off a confectionary collection of sorbet-colored clothing, Burberry outfitted all of its models with similarly pale-and-pretty zippered pouch clutches, all doubled over to reveal the floral or furry embellishments on one side. A lot of brand have taken to this scrunched-bag presentation lately, which baffles me – no one carries their clutches that way, and it makes it difficult to get an idea of the full size and proportion of the clutch. With as many bags as were presented here, though, you sort of got the idea by the end – simple shapes, ladylike colors, tonal embellishments that reinforced the shows themes. The only thing missing was a version encrusted with the intricate, large-scale bling that was found elsewhere in the show. Cross your fingers that those bags will materialize at retail.

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Little Abigail Breslin is almost a lady now at 17 years old, and I think it’s safe to say she’s quickly developing her own ideas about fashion. Here she’s paired a classic tartan Burberry Canterbury Shoulder Bag with a flowing white full-length dress, a fitted black blazer, and what we believe to be Jeffrey Campbell studded wedges. You can pick up Abigail’s Canterbury for $995 at Bloomingdales.

Abigail is also rocking some seriously platinum blond locks these days. Honestly I find her whole look here a little Olsen-esque – all that’s missing are a pair of giant designer shades, a fur throw and some wet hair. And a bag from The Row, of course. Can you believe Little Miss Sunshine came out seven years ago? Abigail has been very choosy with her film projects over the last five years, but she has a whopping seven films in the can for 2013, including Ender’s Game.

Abigail Breslin carries a Burberry Canterbury Shoulder Bag in NYC (4) Abigail Breslin carries a Burberry Canterbury Shoulder Bag in NYC (3) Abigail Breslin carries a Burberry Canterbury Shoulder Bag in NYC (2) Abigail Breslin carries a Burberry Canterbury Shoulder Bag in NYC (1)

Even after a few years working in the almost-anything-goes fashion industry, there are a couple of old-fashioned color and texture rules that are so ingrained in my consciousness that I have a genuinely difficult time breaking them, even though I know they’re silly. I never wear white when it’s cold out, I can’t understand why anyone would buy a pair of suede shoes for spring and I cannot, cannot fathom carrying a satin bag before evening. (Or a satin bag that’s not a clutch, for that matter.) The Burberry Prorsum Silk-Sateen and Leather Tote is in clear conflict with that last rule, which is what prompts me to turn the question to you guys: Could you conceive of a good day bag in this kind of textile? (more…)

Here’s Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery, about to thrust herself into a waiting crowd of British paparazzos after exiting the Burberry Fall 2013 runway show. On her arm is a Burberry Prorsum Handbag from Pre-Fall 2013, and as is perhaps to be expected, her trench and pumps both look suspiciously Burberry. If you love everything Lady Mary touches, you can pick up a Burberry bag with a similar look – the Burberry Brinkley Satchel – for $1,795 at Bloomingdales. Brits are particularly hardcore about their British designers – their Burberry, their Stella McCartney, their Vivienne Westwood, their Erdem…but who could ever blame them?

(SPOILER ALERT!) Downton Abbey fans, can we have a little aside for a minute? I’m freaking out about that last episode of Downton Abbey. I just need to put that out there for all of you fellow DA fans. I really don’t know how well I’ll be able to stick with a show that kills off two major (and well beloved) characters in a single season. Without spoiling the whole season for those who have yet to catch up, DISCUSS.

No one puts together a runway livestream like the Europeans, and Burberry has set an extremely high bar this season. I kicked off my work week by watching the show yesterday morning, and from the setting to the attendees to the apparel, the entire presentation, from start to finish, gave the fashion world something to talk about. The coats and jackets in particular, for which Burberry is known, shone (literally) as they walked down the runway. I honed in on the accessories, naturally, and not only do we have photos to share, but Burberry is selling these items straight from the runway, right now. Looks like Burberry got the memo – we see it, we like it, we want it right then and there.

The big Burberry bag for their Spring 2013 season is the Burberry Blaze Bag, which comes in a variety of finishes, most notably with see-through colored vinyl with tonal metallic python trim. (more…)

During New York Fashion Week, I found myself chatting with the designer of a burgeoning men’s accessories collection about the landscape of men’s business worldwide. He had a lot of interesting things to say, most notably that men in America prefer satchels, men in Japan prefer totes and men in Europe are somewhere in between, but that Americans are becoming slowly more open to other shapes and structures. Ever since that conversation, I’ve tried to pay closer attention to the men that I see on the street, what kinds of bags they’re carrying and how those bags relate to their overall looks in general.

What I’ve noticed in the intervening weeks is that there are a lot more men carrying bags like the Burberry Large Washed Leather Tote in New York than I had previously realized. As with the idea of man bags in general, it seems as though specific styles that were previously more closely associated with womenswear are becoming palatable to a larger male audience. The bag-carrying male population in the US seems to be cautiously expanding its purview to totes. (more…)

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In two ways, I always dread the Burberry show at London Fashion Week. First, because I know that Christopher Bailey’s beautiful ready-to-wear, and his outerwear in particular (THOSE COATS.), will threaten to drain my bank account all over again with one swift poke the the pleasure center in my brain, which apparently really likes wool. Second, because I know I’m probably going to have to write something unkind about the handbags. Both fortunately and unfortunately, Burberry Prorsum Fall 2012 did not break from that pattern.

The collection was yet another that made plenty of references to the Downton Abbey era, which is particularly appropriate for a brand that’s so utterly steeped in British heritage, both by its own marketing and by actual history. You would think, then, that we’d be in for an accessories feast of lovely whiskey-colored leather satchels and smart, ladylike handbags with lots of structure. Instead, we got big striped and quilted totes with limited personality and clutches with animal-head door-knockers on them. The few satchels in play were the highlight of the handbags, but even they seemed a little bit unwieldy in proportion to be carried. You’ll notice in the photos, though, that many of the models are carrying their bags while wearing stunning gloves made of colorful python or studded black leather. Why didn’t we see any of those ideas carried into the bags? It would have made for a much stronger collection. (more…)

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