Olympia Le-Tan Clutches

“Cult” is a word that can be easily abused; just because a brand has a small, relatively enthusiastic group of fans does not a cult favorite make. That fans have to be so dedicated, so ardent in their love for a designer’s work that they create a high-entry point that’s almost prohibitive for newcomers.

Clutches

Ladies (and gentleman too, but this only applies to the most fabulous among your ranks), I’m here to talk to you today about an issue that’s plaguing the closets of all too many women: clutch neglect. I’m not talking about formal evening bags; I think that a lot of us have a sparkly little something-or-other ferreted away, just in case.

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.