Last week, exotic handbag designer extraordinaire Carlos Falchi had an event at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. Naturally, I had to pop in to say hi and see the newest designs from the master. His area at Bergdorfs was filled with fans and shoppers picking out designs and having Carlos sign them. With the shopping mood in full force, I began to examine every Carlos Falchi bag I could get my hands on.

As we’ve discussed in these parts in the past, almost every major handbag brand showed some kind of python or snakeskin bags on its Fall 2011 runway, no matter whether exotics are a collection staple for a particular line or not. Predictably, that lead to some mixed results; while I saw some exotic bags I’d love to have for fall, I saw far more whose designers could have used a remedial course in how to work with python.

I am completely drawn to the Carlos Falchi Grande Boat Anaconda Hobo. This bag will clearly work for day-to-day wear and has a gorgeous grey-silver color combination.

Over four season of careful study of the fashion on Gossip Girl, a few things become apparent: Lily loves Hermes. Rufus loves plaid. Nate loves his manbangs. What may not be quite so obvious, though, is Serena’s appreciation of Carlos Falchi.

Falchi’s bags often don’t stand out as obviously his because they don’t feature any sort of obvious logos, markings or hardware, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people were noticing the Carlos Falchi Shiny Moroccan Croc Bag being toted around the Upper East Side set very soon.

Any regular reader of this blog knows that I’m drooling over a whole lot of bags for winter – Celine, YSL, Mulberry, Alexander Wang…my list is long and expensive, just as it always is. We can go ahead and add the Carlos Falchi Gathered Crocodile Tote to it, although I’d need a bit of a windfall to make it a practical option.

As for the rest of you, please go get a paper towel to mop up the drool before we go any further.

Ready? Great.

I have a little theory about exotics that I’ve postulated around these parts before, and it goes something like this: if I’m going to pay a premium for crocodile or python (or, in this case, both), then I want the skins to be featured in the most glorious way possible.

It’s rare that you find something that’s honestly unique in fashion – designers are equal amounts artists and collectors, and they borrow from each other with great regularity. Carlos Falchi has proven repeatedly that he doesn’t mind searching for inspiration a little further off the beaten path than some designers, and he’s struck a truly unique note with the Carlos Falchi Henna Tiger Snake Satchel.

Say what you want, but there’s nothing as luxurious as exotic leather. The texture and detail are unparalleled, and stamping or embossing regular leather just doesn’t get the same effect. Exotics are pricy, of course, but if you can afford them, they’re worth it. I’m a particular fan of Carlos Falchi‘s python and croc looks – they’re less expensive than similar products from some other brands and the soft, slouchy approach that Falchi takes makes them look and feel much younger than the types of styles that traditionally feature exotic materials.

Who: Carlos Falchi

What: Leopard Totes

Where: Bloomingdale’s and Saks

When: Available now!

Why: These totes are cute, affordable, and lightweight. Carlos Falchi may be known for his exotic skin bags, but while these ultra suede leopard print totes are not exotic they pack an animalistic punch with the print. The small size is $185 while the medium size is $220.

If you are in NYC today, stop by Bergdorf Goodman to meet Carlos Falchi and his daughter. Carlos Falchi is one of those inspiring people that truly loves what he does and puts every bit of passion into his work. And then there is Bergdorf Goodman, completely ubiquitous of NYC and one of the best shopping experiences in the world.

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