If you’ve been aware of designer handbags for more than, say, the past day or two, you’ve seen your fair share of black and white bags. The sharp, modern color combination fits perfectly with the backlash against uber-trendy neons, prints and embellishments, which at times all appeared together on the same bag. (Of course, leave it to fashion to combat trend culture with a new trend.) Seemingly every designer under the sun has tried their hands at the look, but a relative handbag newcomer has beaten almost all of them with the Narciso Rodriguez Mixed-Media Envelope Shoulder Bag.
If I had to pick a handbag brand to categorize as perpetually underrated, it would be VBH. The brand turns out handbags in both regular leather and exotics that are consistently subtle, elegant and totally luxurious, and unlike similarly priced bags from more famous brands, you’re not going to buy one of these and then immediately realize that four people in your social circle already have it.
Jason Wu’s gorgeous, ladylike read-to-wear collections are always a joy to behold, but I’ve been waiting for the young designer to put out a handbag that really catches my eye. For reasons that are likely obvious, the Jason Wu Jourdan Painted Eel Tote is exactly that bag. Wu’s previous bag collections have been full of pretty, simple pieces that were nice but not bold or modern enough, and this tote solves those problems at one fell swoop.
I’m not one who usually buys lotto tickets; in fact, I’ve only done it twice in my life before now, but when I realized the Powerball jackpot had swelled to $600 million, I totally got in on that. It’s easy to see why so many people love to buy lotto tickets – that slight feeling that you just might win is enough to get you excited.
Until I saw the Balenciaga Serpent Arena Classic Work Bag, it had never occurred to me that I hadn’t ever seen a snakeskin Bal Motorcycle bag. After all, the design has been around in one incarnation or another for over a decade, and we’ve seen it in everything from straw to crocodile – surely there had been at least a python version, right?
In scouring the Internet for our article on the Internet’s most expensive luxury handbags, one thing became clear: even if a brand doesn’t do much to actively promote its most expensive pieces, almost all of them have those bags waiting in the wings for the right client. Under previous creative director Stefano Pilati, Yves Saint Laurent was one of the brands that mostly dealt in regular leather, with an occasional snakeskin or ostrich bag here and there.
By now, some of you have likely read Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger’s instantly infamous GQ piece on his Gucci leather shopping addiction. (If you haven’t and you’re interested, you should read it, but be warned, the whole thing takes a bit of a strange turn circa page four.) I’ve known a few people with compulsive shopping issues in my time in fashion, but Bissinger’s story caught my attention because, for him, it all started online and eventually mushroomed into a half-million dollar habit.
Compared to fall, spring’s textures can be a bit…down-market. We love raffia and canvas as much as anyone else, but naturally, we love snakeskin and leather even more. So what’s the secret to incorporating successfully what might feel like a heavy material into your warm-weather wardrobe? Why, a mini crossbody bag, of course. (That’s the answer to a lot of spring and summer bag problems, trust me.) The only other problem with exotics in particular, of course, is that it’s a look that tends to cost an arm and a leg; fortunately, it doesn’t have to.
It likely won’t shock anyone to hear that VBH’s Fall 2013 handbags are pristine and luxurious; that’s sort of what the brand is know for, after all. The line of satchels, totes and clutches, which are available for pre-order via Moda Operandi through March 21, are in keeping with the clean, strong lines and elegant finish for which the brand has become well known.
If having too much of a good thing is truly possible, then I think I’ve had a little too much python lately. Because of strong markets for ulta-premium accessories, exotics are having something of a golden era at the moment, and although that’s yielded a lot of utterly lust-worthy handbags, its also yielded a lot of stuff that all sort of looks the same.