Burberry Leather Messenger BagIt appears as though a major designer is finally getting real about what the economic downturn might mean to their handbag business, and not in any small way. The Burberry Leather Messenger Bag is part of a line of several bags that the brand has put out this season with price tags dramatically lower than their normal leather offerings would be. This one, for example, is priced at staggeringly low (for a brand like Burberry) $375.

And although the bag may be fairly simple in design, it doesn’t seem like an afterthought to me. The finish of the leather reminds me of the crinkly bags that Prada has released this season, except this bag is slightly more matte and the shoulder strap allows it to be worn as a very chic oversized shoulder bag or across the body. Good design doesn’t necessarily mean extra complications, and based on this line from Burberry, it also doesn’t mean exorbitant prices. This may not be the most exciting bag that any of us have ever seen, but I think the price point is cause to celebrate indeed. Buy through Saks for $375.

Burberry Raffia ShopperI’ve heaped much praise on Burberry for their most recent collection and today, I’d like to take a little bit of it back. A lot of their stuff? Really good. The Burberry Raffia Shopper? Not nearly as good.

What I can’t decide, though, is if the bag itself is bad or if this is just an epically bad choice of color and texture combination. The bag, of course is made out of raffia straw. But when you dye it blue-grey and fade it, then fray it around the edges and stitch it together in a patchwork formation…it just looks like someone cut up my old jeans. And not in a good way. The color is definitely what makes it so obvious, but the tan version looks like frayed denim from a distance as well. I like the shape and the idea of patchwork raffia, but I think it’s lacking in execution. Patchwork denim isn’t a good look on anyone, even if it isn’t really denim. Buy through Nordstrom for $1395.

Burberry Drawstring Leather Tote

At first I only saw the picture on the right, the nutmeg version of this tote. To me it was great. A simple leather tote with simplicity as its focus. I liked the shape, I liked that it was slouchy, I loved the rich nutmeg color. But then I saw the picture on the right, the black version of this bag. And the bag lost its luster for me. When stretched out the length of the bag gets long and lanky, and looks like it will just hang aimlessly from your arm. So I am torn down the middle when looking at the Burberry Drawstring Leather Tote. Do I believe it will look more like the nutmeg version on the left or will it loose its composure as the black version does on the right?

My problem is that with the thin shoulder straps, it looks as if the bag could just hang from your body and dig into your shoulder. Leaving an uncomfortable feeling on your arm and a bag that begins to look more and more like a sac dangling. But I am still loving the nutmeg version. The style of this bag is very laid-back and the drawstring/snap closure would make this bag easy to get in and out of while securing tightly. Dimensions are 18½”W X 17″H X 3″D. The price is amazing for a large leather tote. I guess I am looking for you to push me one way or the other: What do you think? Buy through Saks for $550.

Burberry Metallic Leather HoboIn general, I really don’t like so-called “neutral bags.” The leather has to be truly special, the design truly innovative and beautiful for me to look at one twice, and if it’s not, I bore really easily. My aversion is a result of the belief that there are so many bags out there made in so many beautiful colors, why would anyone choose one in a color that is supposed to, by definition, blend in and hide?

But when I do like a neutral, that neutral is almost always some version of pewter or gunmetal, and the Burberry Metallic Leather Hobo is a great example of that color. It’s not a bright silver at all – it has a lot of grey in it, but enough shine and innate glimmer to make it decidedly glam and metallic. I can see it going with almost anything, but I can’t imagine it blending in and hiding at all, as the “neutral” moniker would indicate. So if you’re going to do something neutral, please do something with at least a LITTLE BIT of a kick. Buy through Nordstrom for $1795.

Here I am, writing about yet another Burberry bag that I really like. Whatever different creative process they’ve got going on in their handbag line this season, they really need to stick with it. In fact, they probably need to give those people raises, because I can’t remember another season where I’ve looked twice at one of their bags. Their use of intricate texture and simple shapes theis season has been phenomenal, and I can’t wait to see if they continue it in the future.

Burberry Prorsum Leather Dégradé Tote

The latest example is the Burberry Prorsum Leather Dégradé Tote. The only real gripe I have with this bag is the usability of the ombre color scheme. It’s somewhere between chartreuse and brown, which is beautiful to look at on its own, but might be hard to incoporate into an average wardrobe unless brown is your go-to neutral. It has the same square “scaling” effect as the Burberry Prorsum Willow Leather Clutch that we spoke of not long ago, and in this case, the dégradé color scheme makes the texture look even richer. You know what I really wish they had done, though? A scarlet red-to-black ombre. I’d be typing in my credit card info right now if they had. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $2395.

Burberry Cartridge Pleat Tote When I first saw the Burberry Cartridge Pleat Tote, I thought of gun cartridges. I’m not entirely sure that that’s what I was supposed to think of, and maybe it’s just indicative of my proximity to those that are, in fact, packin’ heat, but that’s what I thought of. And if that’s the picture that the folks at Burberry were trying to paint, then they did a pretty good job. Unlike the soft, ruffly Burberry tote that we featured a few days ago, the patent leather of this bag makes the rows neat and stuff, giving it the appearance of rows and rows of Rambo-like bullet straps. The handles, attachments, and optional shoulder strap are all in smooth leather of the same color, with juxtaposes nicely with the all-over pleating. I think it was wise to do the patent incarnation in a more structured shape than the soft leather, because patent is inherently more structured, and matching appropriate material with appropriate bag structure is one of the most important things a bag designer can do. I don’t like it as much as the soft leather hobo, but that’s just my personal taste – I’m still impressed with Burberry’s bags for this season. This bag appears to be sold out right now, but check back at Net A Porter.

I’ve been writing about more Burberry bags lately than I ever have before, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. Larger collection this season? No, I remember a lot of bags from previous season. New handbag designer at the brand? I can’t find any information about that online, so I guess it’s possible that someone with a new point-of-view has come in to shake things up. But overall, I think the reason that I’ve noticed them more than I have in previous seasons is that they’re just BETTER than they have been.

Burberry Prorsum Willow Leather Clutch

I’m much more impressed than I previously have been with them. So today, in our Endless Parade of Burberry Handbags That Amanda Likes, we have the Burberry Prorsum Willow Leather Clutch. Like the brand’s other recently featured bags, they’ve worked the leather in a way that gives the bag an enormous amount of texture – the little leather squares flake up like python scales, but would theoretically be much more durable than the often-delicate exotic. It’s got a little wrist strap and a cell phone pocket inside, plus it’s a great neutral color with an interesting textural concept – where do I sign up for one? Buy through Net-a-Porter for $995.

Burberry Westcott Shoulder BagIn my opinion, the Burberry Westcott Shoulder Bag is a very clear case of a bag that looks much better in person than it does online. This is the best picture I could find to see the immense detail of the bag’s construction, but it still looks stiff and kind of messy, don’t you think? In reality, it’s anything but. The neat rows of buttery soft leather ruffles are cropped close enough to the bag to not look silly, but still long enough to give the bag tons of texture that makes it much more than just another black leather hobo.

The leather that makes up the base of the bag is just as soft as that that makes up the ruffle decoration, which gives the bag a slouch that would probably break in even more with a bit of use. The strap was plenty long to carry the hobo easily and it also has an extra crossbody strap, if that’s your think. The bag is big but not oversized, and still muted enough, with ruffles and all, to use as an everyday bag that could be carried to work. On the whole, I think Burberry did a beautiful job with this bag, and it’s really too bad that it doesn’t show up well in photos. This is definitely a bag you need to see to appreciate. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $2195.

Burberry Leather ToteThe Burberry Leather Tote is so beautiful and perfect that I can’t even bring myself to snark about it. And I can snark about almost anything, it’s just what I do. But on this tote in particular, there is nothing snark-worthy because it’s all beautiful. The color is a crisp white, the structure is equally crisp, and the handles are long enough and the body big enough to make it completely functional – this bag isn’t just a pretty face. My one criticism is that the handles are rolled instead of flat, and I hate rolled handles on a double-strap shoulder bag. They always fall off. But that’s but a small quibble, and the rest of the bag is so on-point and versatile and WEARABLE that I don’t even care what kind of straps it may or may not have. It’s subtle but expensive-looking, and I’m sure the white leather is to-die-for in person. I’m kind of afraid to encounter this bag at a store, though, for fear that I may be forced to purchase one. Buy through Saks for $995.

I am actually surprised. I have to say anytime I think Burberry, the traditional check print comes to mind. I am sure many of you think the same way. So honestly, when I saw the Burberry Metallic Leather Shoulder Bag, I was wondering if I forgot to put my contacts in this morning. I guess I am just not used to a Burberry handbag or piece of clothing without the traditional check print. Ok, I’m over it, let’s talk about the bag. The pewter metallic leather bag has silver hardware, studded plate trip, and contrast shiny leather panels. I like when I see brands branch out and try new things. I am just wondering if we are all ready for this kind of change. The bag certainly had a modern feel which is so polar opposite to the traditional pattern we are all accustom to. I have to say I appreciate the effort behind the design and the desire to appeal to a new market. However, I think the bag looks a little too modern for me. Actually, now that I think of it, the bag looks a little too Judy Jetson for my liking. Yet, at the same time, with the right outfit, you could totally make the bag work. Man, it sounds like I can’t make up my mind. I blame it on how shocked I am that this is a Burberry bag. What do you think – did Burberry take a step in the right or wrong direction? Buy through Net-a-Porter for $2,995.

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