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. (more…)
I don’t remember exactly the words that ran through my mind when I saw the Kotur Mr. Minaudiere Clutch, but it was something along the lines of, “So. It’s come to this.” I don’t know when pop culture collectively decided that it would be hilarious to put disembodied mustaches on everything, but from twee ModClotch mustache-print dresses to people who actually have a cartoon mustache tattooed on the side of their index finger so it’s just absolutely hilarious when they hold it up to their top lip, this has got to stop.
The back of the bag has a little tophat sitting on a cloud on it, which is a pretty clear reference surrealism in general and the art of René Magritte in particular, which, in a way, makes this one of the more excusable examples of the bizarre mustache trend, but still. No. I’m not having it. We’re too late in the game for mustache fashion to take on some kind of intelligent form – that ship has sailed, and now everything just puts us one step closer to living in an actual episode of Portlandia.
I’m also a bit skeeved out by the fact that this mustache isn’t just a print – it’s actual hairs. Hairs of what kind, I’m not sure, but they kind of look like pubes on the Net-a-Porter zoom-in feature. Under normal circumstances, I’m a huge fan of Kotur, and I even appreciate the fact that they’re trying something risky here. I’m just not sure the risk pays off. If you disagree, you can pick up this bag for $650 via Net-a-Porter.
I love it when jewelry brands get into the handbag business. They bring with them a sense of embellishment and attention to detail (especially hardware) that often makes it immediately apparent that the brand started out in a more blinged-out section of the fashion business, and that’s definitely true of the Shourouk Crystal-Embellished PVC Clutch. To a certain extent, anyway.
If you’re not familiar with Shourouk, you can get a pretty good idea of the company’s jewelry aesthetic based on this clutch alone. They deal in sparkly, crystal-encrusted jewels that are partially or totally painted in bright colors and neons. That gives the pieces, which might otherwise look like estate jewelry, a modern, young feeling; this clutch has the makings of a pretty cute bracelet spread across its front flap.
The thing that’s holding me back from expressing full enthusiasm for this clutch is the use of clear PVC, although it’s also a design choice that I understand. The color matches the painted stones perfectly, and using the futuristic material prevents the jewel embellishment from skewing the look too old-fashioned. The only problem, of course, is that PVC is kind of a cheap (and cheap-looking) material, and without any leather trim, the body of the bag looks quite inexpensive, particularly around the stitching.
That being said, the clutch is still quite festive, and in some ways, it’s perfect for an evening event in the summer. Where would you wear it? If you’ve already got a plan set, pick it up for $735 via Net-a-Porter.
It’s not especially often that clutches get a trend of their own. Normally, the small, hand-carried bags are beholden to the whims of the handbag game at large and take on whatever texture, embellishment or print trends are dominant at any given moment. Right now, though, clutches are having a moment unto themselves, and it’s all about the pared-down (structurally, at least) pouch. Got an extra iPad sleeve sitting around your apartment? Put your stuff in it, because it’s the new hotness.
In all seriousness, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where a shape trend like this one comes from. If I had to wager, it’s probably partly from the minimalist bent of many of Celine’s leather clutches and partly from the proliferation of clutch-like iPad cases that designers unleashed in the wake of the gadget’s arrival. From the beginning, I’ve heard people comment that those cases are too cute to be relegated to gadgetry, and now plenty of things that look like they’re intended to hold Apple products are skipping that niche market and going straight to the handbag department. There’s something pleasantly modern about a simple rectangle pouch bordered by just a zipper, and because of the clean shape, a pouch can support a ton of embellishment, even at a fairly large size. Below, some of our favorites.
We’ve shown you the basics of what Edie Parker can do with her hand-made, retro-modern acrylic clutches, but as it turns out, the brand has only begun to experiment with inlays and textures. First came evening bags with words on them, and now, Edie Parker designer Brett Heyman has gotten even more advanced with birds and flowers for Resort 2014. As we all know by now, Moda Operandi has a soft spot for playfully luxurious clutches, so it should come as no surprise that Parker’s sunny collection is available for pre-order on the site as we speak.
The fashion calendar is often infuriating, but it’s never more infuriating than when it dangles beautiful, weather-appropriate stuff in your face and then snatches it away for another six months. These clutches won’t come in off pre-order until at least October (and at the latest, December), but they’d look so adorable right this very instant, preferably with something tailored (but not too tailored) and white. For now, sooth yourself with our favorites from the assortment, below, or shop the full selection via Moda Operandi until June 17.
Edie Parker Honeysuckle Clutch
$1,495 via Moda Operandi
Edie Parker Wilted Daisies Clutch
$1,495 via Moda Operandi
Edie Parker Flamingo Clutch
$1,295 via Moda Operandi
Edie Parker Toucans Clutch
$1,295 via Moda Operandi
Charlotte Olympia loves a literal theme (the zodiac, cats) perhaps more than any famous designer going right now, but her Summer 2013 movie-themed clutches really take the cake. At first, I thought Olympia’s popcorn-themed clutch would be the designer’s singular nod to the cinema this season, alongside a similarly themed pair of shoes. And then another clutch popped up. And another. And then a fourth, and then all the way through number seven, all available for your perusal below. By now, it’s clear: Charlotte Olympia really loves a good summer blockbuster.
We included a look at this clutch within last week’s examination of the beautiful bags of Chanel Cruise 2014, but we couldn’t bear to let this little beauty – the Chanel No. 5 Perfume Bottle Clutch – sit in obscurity within that gallery of images any longer. No, no – a piece this fun needs its closeup, even if it was already a standout in a collection full of great pieces.
Perfume bottle-inspired clutches have been a cute novelty item from brands including Lanvin and Charlotte Olympia over the past season or so, but no other brand on the planet besides Chanel can boast a product roster that includes both the world’s most iconic fragrance and one of the world’s most iconic handbags. Even though Karl Lagerfeld & Co. weren’t the first creative team to come up with this concept, it’s without doubt the apotheosis of the mini-trend. Rarely do I proclaim that a bag has been done as well as it possibly could be done, but I’m pretty sure that’s what we have here.
Cruise collections won’t be available for about six months, but for now, enjoy the photos of both versions of this little bag right along with me.
The sisterly design duo behind Anndra Neen may have started out in jewelry, but we’re glad to see that after dipping their toes into the waters of handbag design, they’ve decided to stay a while. After all, we think that the hard-but-handcrafted look of the brand’s jewelry translates quite well to the little metal clutches that have been popping up from Anndra Neen in recent seasons.
We first fell in love with the Anndra Neen Cage Clutch, which is thankfully back for another season, and the closed clutches that Moda Operandi now stocks on its website are pretty excellent as well. What impresses me most, though, is how well the brand manages to straddle several different aesthetics – the bags are grunge-y without losing their glamour, obviously handmade without looking like a craft project and luxe without any preciousness. Pretty good combination, if you ask us.
Andra Neen Oval Open Cage Clutch
$675 via Moda Operandi
Anndra Neen Polka Dot Clutch
$625 via Moda Operandi
Anndra Neen Small Web Purse
$650 via Moda Operandi
Not only do we love a scrappy upstart in the handbag world, but we also love a bold jewelry line, which means that Mawi Fall 2013 Handbags are right up our alley. The London-based brand was originally launched a decade ago as a jewelry upstart, and based on the clutch above, we’re betting you can guess what kind of jewelry Indian-born designer Mawi makes – big, statement-making, incredibly shiny. Starting in 2012, the designer chose to expand her collection to include clutches with the same in-your-face modern glamour. To us, it looks like she’s succeeded.
These bags are certainly not for shrinking violets, and if you’re going to try to mix them with anything but a very simple outfit, you better be a pro. Because the shapes are simply and the sizes are small, though, the jewelry-on-glitter look of the pouches can definitely be pulled off with aplomb. I know it for a fact; I’ve seen it done. If you’re wary, go for balance – these kinds of bags are obviously maximal, so think minimal for your clothing. That way, the clutch shines brightest of all. (Not that it’d ever have much competition in the shine department.)
These bags will be available for fall, but you can shop the current clutch options at Mawi.co.uk.
If my Facebook and Instagram feeds from this past weekend are any indication, wedding season has officially arrived. If you’re ill-prepared for the festivities you’ll face over the next few months, you’re probably not alone – figuring out what to wear to a wedding can be a little tricky for anyone who lacks a closet full of perfect spring dresses and coordinating clutches. Because that might not be you (and it’s certainly not me), we hunted down the types of handbags you’ll want to be carrying to spring and summer nuptials, and they range in price from less than $50 to more than $2,000. (You know, just in case some cousin of yours decided on a crazy destination wedding that’ll cost thousands just to attend.)
Naturally, there are a few things you’ll want to look for, especially if you want to get a full wedding season (or two – no reason you can’t still use these bags next year) out of your clutch purchase. First, pick something relatively neutral. That doesn’t mean that the clutch can’t have a print – in fact, prints work beautifully on small bags because they don’t overpower an outfit or a printed dress – but pick something in a color or colors that’s season-appropriate and not too trendy. Second, don’t be afraid to have a little fun; weddings are a great opportunity for whimsy and girlishness that might feel too precious elsewhere.