The smaller the bag, the more embellishment a designer can pile on it without worry that it’ll completely overtake any outfit with which it’s paired. That’s a basic tenet of good handbag design, and designers have taken the idea so much to heart over the past couple of seasons that we now appear to be hurtling toward the concept’s logical extreme rather quickly. What will happen when we hit Peak Swarovski? I’m too afraid to contemplate it, frankly, but you should probably enjoy Fall 2013′s bumper crop of embellished clutches while you can.
As we mentioned recently, there’s a lot going on at the other end of the clutch spectrum as well – simple zippered pouches are having quite the moment. If you consider yourself more of a maximalist, though, fall should be a pretty good season for you. Skulls, cherubs, flowers, giant rhinestones, pom-poms – these clutches have everything you could require on a little bag, whether you’re one of those ladies who lunches but doesn’t actually eat anything but martini-soaked olives or a questionably hygenic hippie looking for a place to stash your patchouli oil. Below, a sampling of the glitter-covered, heavily embroidered end of the handbag continuum.