I don’t mention it much in these parts, but I’m a big, enormous vintage fan. At a certain point, I think I hit a wall with regular shopping – I felt like I had seen everything before it hit stores, so once it was there, I was often underwhelmed and ready for something different. The curse of working in the fashion industry, eh?

Images via Vogue.com

While we wait for the Milan shows to start in earnest, now seems as good a time as any to post the small but very beautiful collection of bags that graced the runway for Marchesa Spring 2012. I know that bags are an afterthought for the gown-heavy line, but they’re always so beautiful and special that I really wish Marchesa would do more.

Judith Leiber is one of those brands that you don’t often see at a big discount. Leiber’s tiny, sparkly evening bags are a favorite of collectors and hold a special place in the heart of so many bag owners that seasonal discounts are often unnecessary; one of her bags is like dessert after a steady diet of functional, durable leather bags.

Lanvin Lizard Box Clutch, $2127 via Matches

Yesterday, I got to talking about my love for Lanvin in general and Alber Elbaz in particular over at TalkShoes, and now I’m prepared to do to do the same here. Bags like the Lanvin Lizard Box Clutch just inspire that in me. I could look at this little bag all day, mostly because it shirks the traditional conventions of evening bags in order to pursue a look that’s a bit more unexpected; you won’t find any gleaming hardware or intricate beading here.

Matthew Williamson Embellished Satin Clutch, $1610 via Net-a-Porter

Judith Leiber bags are undeniably beautiful, but it’s also hard to deny that they skew to a certain customer – older, well-established women with a penchant for straight-up glitz. Leiber’s done extremely well with that demographic and they wouldn’t dream of going elsewhere for a small, sparkly evening bag, but what of the women who want something that’s as modern as it is tiny and detailed?

We’ve heavily covered Christian Louboutin‘s hit-and-miss record when it comes to handbags in general, but when it comes to the footwear master’s clutches, I rarely have a negative review to report. Something about the small size and structure of an evening bag lends itself well to Louboutin’s design sensibility, probably because the scale and rigidity make clutches more similar to designing a shoe than other types of bags.

Christian Louboutin Sweet Charity Glittered Shoulder Bags, $795 and $995 via Neiman Marcus.

We’re longstanding fans of the Christian Louboutin Sweet Charity Bags, which come in virtually every size, color and texture that you could think of, and the advent of the Christian Louboutin Sweet Charity Glittered Bags only makes our affection for the line grow. The structured shape and signature metal bow mean that the design is a perfect candidate for an evening out, and these two miniature sizes make that dream a reality.

To say that the Marchesa aesthetic is distinctive would be a massive understatement; season after season, the brand creates over-the-top, elaborately feminine evening wear and cocktail dresses that are as architecturally impressive as they are glitteringly ornate. Ruching, draping, beading, laser-cutting – not only might it all appear in one collection, but it might all appear in one dress. Marchesa’s handbags have a lot of visual splendor to live up to.

Judith Leiber Blue Bows Crystal Minaudiere, $6995 via Judith Leiber

Do you know what day it is? Of course you do, it’s Royal Wedding day! The ceremony started at 6 a.m. but your mimosa hangover will surely last into the afternoon, so while you contemplate why you got up before dawn to watch two strangers get married in another country (Go ahead, guess who among us doesn’t have Royal Wedding fever!

Judith Leiber Houston Semiprecious Beaded Clutch, $4995 via Bergdorf Goodman

Even if most women don’t have many occasions on which they might use a Judith Leiber clutch, looking at the tiny, sparkly, intricately beaded evening bags is a pastime in which we can all participate. Bergdorf Goodman has recently added a six-bag Judith Leiber Fall 2011 preview to its website, which not only gives us a closer look at what Leiber is doing for the season, but also lets you pre-order from the selection for delivery at the end of July, if you’re so inclined.

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