On one hand, I can barely believe that we’re down to the last days of 2013. On the other hand, the screwy fashion calendar means that I’ve been writing “2014″ for nearly six months, and I’m really looking forward to that not being usually incorrect. To celebrate the year that’s passed, we’d like to take a look back at the PurseBlog posts you liked the best in 2013. (You guys really love celebrities, Celine and Chanel.) (more…)

If Hermes’ continually increasing profitability and Louis Vuitton’s recent shift toward capitalizing on its history with more high-end, all-leather products is any indication, the ultra-high-end leather goods market seems to have a nearly infinite hunger for heritage goods, and French heritage in particular. To help meet that voracious need for fancy purses, 19th century French leather brand Moreau has relaunched and its bags are exclusive to Barneys in the US.

French design and craftsmanship have always been markers of quality and status in fashion, and that’s why those brands are having such a moment right now. Not only are high-end western costumers constantly looking for something more special, limited and expensive than those behind them who are looking to keep up with the Joneses, but consumers in the burgeoning Asian markets seek out heritage goods as de facto indicators of their newly high social status. Because those Asian markets have become sophisticated more quickly than most, a flashy logo bag won’t do the trick; consumers are increasingly looking for pieces that are exclusive, handmade and include a sense of history on their price tags.

That’s where Moreau comes in. Originally founded in the mid-1800s in France, the brand has been revived, at least in part, to capitalize on its origin story. (There is, after all, only so much heritage to go around. It’s a non-renewable resource.) The brand’s limited, rather simple collection of bags will all be made in France, by hand, in Moreau’s saddlery. The look, as you might expect, recalls some of Hermes’ basics, but in a good way – classic, functional styles that whisper about their pedigree instead of shouting. If you’re the kind of woman whose friends’ closet are already full of Hermes and you want to pick up something new that they’ll actually ask about with curiosity, perhaps one of these Moreau bags is for you.


Moreau Bregançon Zip Tote
$3,100 via Barneys

Moreau Bregançon Zip Tote

Moreau Bregançon Open Tote
$2,890 via Barneys

Moreau Bregançon Open Tote

Moreau Chenonceau Messenger Bag
$3,200 via Barneys

Moreau Chenonceau Messenger Bag

We’re always excited when a relatively small brand that makes exquisite handbags becomes a little more accessible to those who might not get the chance to shop in one of the world’s few fashion capitals (after all, everyone on the PurseBlog team was in that situation before we moved to New York), and to that end, we have some exciting news to share with you today. Starting now, you can shop Loewe Handbags at NeimanMarcus.com.

A couple of years ago, Spanish brand Loewe (prounced Lo-AY-vay) was barely visible in the US. Once recently departed (he’s headed to Coach) creative director Stuart Vevers showed up, they surfaced in an extremely high-end boutique here and there, plus a few New York department stores. The brand’s steady success and growth has found it available in more and more places, including some notable online outposts – first Net-a-Porter, now Neiman Marcus.

The selection at NM is mostly neutrals and classic Loewe shapes at the moment, although who knows what’s coming – the number of bags on the brand’s product page doubled spontaneously during the day yesterday. Neiman Marcus also carries a sampling of the brand’s wallets, so hopefully more bags and small leather goods will be on the way as fall deliveries start flooding in. For now, our favorites are below or you can shop the full selection via Neiman Marcus.

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…)

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