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.
Before I read the name of the bag, I thought that Wu and his team had simple chosen a geometric colorblocked pattern and run with it. When you look closely, though (or, uh, read the name), you can see that the colorblocking is actually dictated by narrow strips of eel. Eel skin is an under-used exotic, and it imparts a texture that’s subtler than stingray or most types of snakeskin. It also doesn’t boost the price tag as much as those materials, something we all can appreciate.
I’d be interested to see this bag in just black and white, but as it is, the addition of deep violet and gold add a bit of a royal quality to the structured, elegant tote. I’m not sure I love the hanging tag in the middle, but that’s a signature Wu detail that I’ve been skeptical of from the beginning. If you could have this bag in any color combination, what would you pick? If this one’s already idea for you, pick it up for $2,195 via Neiman Marcus.