Earlier this week, I came across a great profile of new handbag line Mansur Gavriel by Lauren Sherman over at Fashionista, and the bags were so good – and filled such an obvious gap in the contemporary market – that I couldn’t help but run right over here to share the good news with you guys. If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so hard to find a simple, elegant leather handbag at a non-outrageous, you’re not alone – designers Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel wondered that, too.

I receive multiple press pitches from multiple new handbag brands hoping to get a mention here every day, and to be quite honest, most of them have missed the design mark entirely. The contemporary marketplace has enough slouchy, fringe-y hobos with decorative hardware. What the contemporary market needs is more brands making modern, unfussy bags using the best materials available at the price point – essentially, doing what Hermes or Celine do with their simpler leather bags, but on a more affordable scale. With its first collection, that’s what Mansur Gavriel appears to be attempting to do. The exteriors of the bag are rendered in smooth, neutral leather, while the interiors have a contrasting bright coating. Personally, I’m hoping that future lines expand the bright colors to the exteriors as well.

According to Sherman, all of the bags in the brand’s first collection are made of Italian leather and assembled in China, but there’s good news for those of you who are allergic to those words – as of Spring 2014, the brand will move production of its bags to Italy. Unfortunately, there’s also a bit of bad news. Basically the entire Fall 2013 collection, which ranges from $65 to a phone case to $495 for the bucket bag you see above, is already sold out. It’s not even August. Clearly, there’s a demand for reasonably priced bags that don’t look like they’re made for someone who looks up to Vanessa Hudgens as a style icon. (Clare Vivier’s success should have taught designers that as well.)

When the Spring 2014 bags come around, you’ll be able to shop the line at Net-a-Porter. For now, you’ll have to stalk your favorites at MansurGavriel.com and hope that your local Bird, Madison or Steven Alan boutique might have a couple left in stock.

Ok, to be fair, a lot of Ralph Lauren handbags are more or less exactly what you’d expect – after all, the brand has a very distinct and well-developed aesthetic, and when you have that, there’s not much reason to stray from it for a foundational product like handbags. Seasonally, though, Lauren does deviate from the saddlery chic that we know and love with his Collection pieces, and from spring, that means a heavy Spanish influence runs through the brand’s traditionally Southwestern feel.

The influence is particularly evident in the collection’s runway bags, one of which actually looks like a tortoiseshell and tooled leather fan, but it extends out to much of the rest of the seasonal line by way of tassel accents and rich red leather. The woven details on several of the bags keep the look from straying far from Ralph Lauren’s signature aesthetic, and the combination of the two has just enough kitsch to work – after all, if anyone can pull off a thematic look, it’s the Ralph Lauren woman. Shop the full selection via Ralph Lauren or check out our favorites below.

Ralph Lauren Laser Cut Scroll Fan Clutch
$1,100 via Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Laser Cut Scroll Fan Clutch

Ralph Lauren Vachetta Scroll Tote
$2,500 via Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Vachetta Scroll Tote

Ralph Lauren Vachetta Scroll Clutch
$1,750 via Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Vachetta Scroll Clutch

Ralph Lauren Rosette Raffia Madison Bag
$3,950 via Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Rosette Raffia Madison Bag

Ralph Lauren Vachetta Huarache Stirrup Bag
$3,950 via Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Vachetta Huarache Stirrup Bag

Ralph Lauren Vachetta Large Shopper
$1,500 via Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Woven Vachetta Large Shopper

For a new brand (not to mention a brand owned by celebrities), The Row’s price point can feel a bit shocking. I was definitely shocked by it when the brand started producing bags, but the more opportunities I have to see, feel and smell (you know you smell the leather, don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about) The Row’s bags, the more of a believer I am. It takes a lot of fine materials and top-notch construction to bring us around on a new brand with ultra-premium pricing, but that’s exactly what The Row provides; we were just as impressed by our preview of The Row Fall 2013 Handbags as we’ve been with anything recently.

Below, check out our exclusive photos of the collection that’s coming to stores soon. If you’re ready to shop now, shop The Row’s current collection via Net-a-Porter.

The Row Fall 2013 Handbags (6) (more…)

Last week, we noticed a slightly modified Yves Saint Laurent Cabas ChYc Bag had just popped up on the Nordstrom website as the Saint Laurent Paris Cabas Classique, and it seemed as though we all knew what kind of changes we could expect for the beloved Cabas ChYc, at least for the season ahead. The big wasn’t quite as tall, and as a commenter noted, the handle bales had been switched from ovals to squares. No doubt about it, that was a different bag, if only slightly different. All was solved, except it wasn’t.

Yesterday morning, the bag above, known as the Saint Laurent Paris The Cabas showed up on Net-a-Porter. (It’s actually still listed as Yves Saint Laurent, but I’m betting that’s simply a biproduct of the branding chaos that Hedi Slimane hath wrought.) This bag is much more clearly influenced by the minimal accessories aesthetic that Slimane hopes to install at Saint Laurent (if his first original bag is any indication) than the Cabas Classique, with the smooth, semi-structured leather and missing stitched panels on the front of the bag. Slimane also added a luggage tag, which seems to be a requirement for every bag these days.

I’m still plenty suspicious of Slimane and his tactics, but this Cabas refresh is much more like what I was hoping to see him do to the brand’s accessories. It’s still a Cabas, but light years more modern. But still, isn’t the Y logo a tad…problematic? And do these changes speak to you, or are you already looking elsewhere for your future handbags? Do both bags need to exist on the same marketplace, or would this version have been a modest enough re-imagining to placate customers? If you’re into this one, you can pick up the medium version for $2,695 via Net-a-Porter. (Price increase ahoy!)

NAP is also carrying a small version with a shoulder strap, below, for $2,350.

It’s been months since Target and Neiman Marcus announced that they’d be teaming up with dozens of your favorite American designers to produce a chic, affordable line of holiday gifts, and a lot of you have asked me lately if I knew anything more about it. Sadly, I didn’t; Neiman Marcus, Target and the slew of designers involved have been mostly mum since the megacollab was announced. Until yesterday, that is.

The Target + Neiman Macus Holiday Collection lookbook finally dropped, and in it we got a glimpse of exactly what each designer would be bringing to the table. Some designers stepped out of their normal niches (Oscar de la Renta designed a dog bowl!), while others hewed pretty close to their traditional markets (Proenza Schouler provided a sweatshirt and iPad case). After the jump, we’ve got the full set of accessories, from handbags to gloves to sunglasses or check out the full collection lookbook at Target.com. Form your shopping lists now – these goodies launch for sale on December 1st! (more…)

Beauty shopping online can be kind of a bummer. Not only is it often difficult to find exclusive products and special sets anywhere but in-store, but you’re almost always stuck paying full price for anything worth having. In a shopping landscape that’s been revolutionized by the Internet, the beauty industry has clung to many of its old ways. Until now, that is – that’s where Coterie comes in.

Coterie is a members-only online beauty site that gives consumers access to special offers on exclusive sets and products from in-demand companies like Stila, Kevin Aucoin and Perricone MD. We’ve teamed up with Coterie to bring you an interview with Lydia Mondavi, founder of 29 Cosmetics, which launches on Coterie today. Check out the interview after the jump or head straight to Coterie to sign up to get shoppin’. Oh, and make sure to tell your friends – for everyone you refer who makes a purchase, you get $20 toward your next order. (more…)

Ever since the fashion industry started to open itself up a little bit to the Internet, the problem of timely commerce has been looming. If the general public can see and get excited about a collection in September, why can’t we sell it to them in September? How do we get around the fact that Fashion Week is no longer simply a trade show for buyers and editors, but a media event viewed by potential customers the world over? Trunk show startup Moda Operandi made a big name for itself in the industry by being the first online retailer to feature clothes, shoes and accessories for pre-order mere days after they graced the runways, and it was only a matter of time before other retailers looked for their piece of the pre-order (and full-price) pie.

Neiman Marcus is the first major retailer to step up to the plate with a limited-time pre-order push similar to Moda’s, and they’re trying it out with a selection of ready-to-wear, shoes and (most importantly) handbags from a selection of designers as varied as Alexander McQueen, Chloe and Reed Krakoff. The pre-order period lasts through October 10, and the handbags are scheduled for delivery anywhere from January to April. My pick of the lot? The gorgeous, simple, pool-blue Reed Krakoff Python Track Tote above. Check out all of NM’s Spring 2013 presale bags after the jump. (more…)

I get used to talking about many of the same designers from day to day because let’s face it, they make great bags and they make bags that I love. But there are so many other options out there, and I would hate to leave worthy accessory designers out of our coverage. That’s precisely why I spend hours browsing online, flipping through magazines, and checking out lookbooks – so I will know as much of what’s available as possible.

Jil Sander is not a foreign name to the fashion world – quite the contrary. But Jil Sander bags have only been a blip on the radar, they have never reached out and grabbed my attention fully. That is, until now. Right when I saw the Jil Sander Malavoglia Tote, I knew it was a beautiful bag that deserved its own feature. So here it is for you Malavoglia Tote, your own post on PurseBlog. You earned it. (more…)

It’s happened. Summer has ended. I have no idea how this came upon us so quickly, but it did. Memorial Day always signifies the kick-off to summer while Labor Day represents the end, and with the passage of Labor Day not only does it mean summer is over, but also that we have to consider the old rule of no more wearing white. In today’s times, no one seems to follow that rule anymore, nor do they need to, but there are better options than carrying stark whites after the end of summer.

Instead of crisp white, opt for a black and white handbag combination which gives a modern vibe along with a fashion-forward finish. There is something so chic about black and white, and I find it even more appealing when done correctly on handbags. These three bags I picked are clean, no-fuss designs, and fresh looks to transition to fall and winter with a white touch. From Reed Krakoff to Chloe to Yves Saint Laurent, check out the three best black and white handbags to carry post-Labor Day! (more…)

Last week, I kicked off one of my mornings in an ultimate dream by having an intimate breakfast in the Bloomingdale’s Lexington Avenue flagship before the store opened. This breakfast was hosted by DKNY and Lauren Bush Lauren of FEED, whose mission is to create good products that help FEED the world, literally. I’ve been well aware of FEED bags for quite some time, noting different versions on the hands of celebrities and passersby alike. With a multitude of versions, seeing the newest FEED bag and the idea behind it is always exciting.

This time famed brand DKNY partnered with FEED to create the DKNY x FEED Survival Collection, which consists of three different items including a diaper bag, survival tote, and rain boots. (more…)

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