Charlotte-Olympia-Russian-Clutches

It’s an interesting time to be in the fashion industry. Spheres of influence are shifting, new markets are opening up, it’s a whole new world out there for brands with the foresight to see opportunities emerging. If you’re a street style fan, you’ve probably noticed a growing number of Russian women who are gaining an increasingly large portion of the spotlight, and that’s no coincidence – newly wealthy Russians, stretching their legs after decades of political and economic isolation, are buying up everything from the priciest of Manhattan real estate to entire Chanel couture collections.

When I was looking for bags to feature in one of last week’s wedding guides, I came across the stunning Kotur Barnes Ombre Woven Clutch. I was immediately smitten – the way that the ultra bright colors mingle in the middle is so unique and so memorable that I couldn’t get the bag out of my head.

Clutches are such a conundrum. Not only are they the smallest, least often-used bags of all the major categories, but they’re some of the most expensive purses on the market because of the amount of embellishment and detail that goes into some of them.

Over the past few years, clutches molded out of clear lucite or acrylic have enjoyed wide popularity, at least on runways. It’s a trend that nearly every brand has touched on at one point or another, but because not everyone jumped on the bandwagon at once, a clear evening bag still feels fresh and modern.

Translating a winning design aesthetic from shoes to handbags can be tricky. Just ask Christian Louboutin, who has the footwear world by the tail but is still trying to figure out his perfect handbag formula. Brian Atwood, another shoe designer that inspires fainting spells among the heel-inclined, is also taking his first serious steps into the handbag arena, starting with a collection of clutches that launched yesterday on Gilt.com.

You know how they say time flies when you’re having fun? I am certain that this is both cliche and true, as I have no idea how it is nearly the middle of February. For the fashion world, this means Fashion Week (aka month) is here, and for the rest of the world it means Valentine’s day is upon us.

Stella McCartney Ava Faux Python Clutch, $1995 via Net-a-Porter

Like any proud lover of luxury goods, I spend my fair share of time trying to explain to people that we’re not all slaves to a famous name when it comes to paying for accessories.

Christian Louboutin Marquise Clutch, $1295 via Net-a-Porter

A few months ago, I wrote a funny little post about bags that could be used as weapons. As fashion’s penchant for embellishment grows increasingly inescapable, it seems as though most high-end accessories can be repurposed for self-defense in an emergency, and with the prices that designers charge, it’s frankly nice that they have the extra utility.

Dolce & Gabbana Jewel and Pearl Embellished Clutch, $6895 via Net-a-Porter

The most important thing to note about the Dolce & Gabbana Jewel and Pearl Embellished Bag, right up front, is that it’s a full foot wide. I’m going to allow you to adjust to that information for a moment, perhaps measure an air-foot out with your hands to get an idea of the scale that we’re talking about here.

Christian Louboutin Anastasia Clutch, $2345 via Neiman Marcus

If you’re a regular PurseBlog reader, you know how I feel about fur bags, even though I’ve softened enough this season to allow fur accents without too much griping. And then I see something like the Christian Louboutin Anastasia Clutch and I remember why fur bags are a bad idea all over again.