I tend to fawn over VBH as often as possible, and VBH Fall 2011 Handbags proves why – it’s a line for real handbag lovers, not just women who buy bags because they’re necessary to complete an ensemble. These pieces are functional, extremely well-made, and most importantly, utterly gorgeous.

VBH has an eye for exotics and textures and how they’re best used, and bags like the fan-favorite Brera satchel give those materials an opportunity to take center stage and impress upon customers how nice they really are.

As we’ve discussed in these parts in the past, almost every major handbag brand showed some kind of python or snakeskin bags on its Fall 2011 runway, no matter whether exotics are a collection staple for a particular line or not. Predictably, that lead to some mixed results; while I saw some exotic bags I’d love to have for fall, I saw far more whose designers could have used a remedial course in how to work with python.

The Valentino Va Va Voom Crocodile Shoulder Bag, $11,275 via Net-a-Porter

If fashion seasons were like the Olympics, you could call Fall 2011 the Exotic Games – everywhere you look, brands are coming out with crocodile and snakeskin bags, seemingly each a little more drool-worthy than the last. Because trends are rarely penned in to a single cycle, though, plenty of reptilian delights have turned up in spring’s collections as well, including from brands that aren’t necessarily known for their work with exotics.

The Gucci New Bamboo Crocodile Shoulder Bag, $14,200 via Net-a-Porter

It’s easy to become price-blind when you spend your days hunting down and discussing designer accessories, but sometimes life has a way of reminding you just how much a dollar is actually worth. I experienced that recently when trying to buy my first set of post-college, post-Ikea Big Girl furniture and found that I could decorate my bedroom rather elaborately for the same amount of money that I’ve been contemplating spending on a crocodile-embossed Celine Phantom Luggage Tote this fall.

Bottega Veneta Crocodile Box Clutch, $3450 via Matches UK.

I’ve never been the type to swoon, but if ever I needed a fainting couch, now is the time.

The affinity that Megs and I have for Bottega Veneta exotics is well-documented, and finding this Bottega Veneta Crocodile Knot Box Clutch in a perfect shade of pinky-orangey coral just took me to the next level.

Jerome Dreyfuss Lucien Python Shoulder Bag via Net-a-Porter for $1280

Parisian designer Jerome Dreyfuss has seen his profile rise quite a bit over the past few seasons. Net-a-Porter has picked up his luxury-contemporary bags for Spring 2011, and the Jerome Dreyfuss Lucien Python Shoulder Bag is a great place to start if you want to understand his aesthetic. The colors and combinations may be a little left-of-center, but the materials are top-notch at a price that isn’t too terrible, in the grand scheme of things.

As we’ve discussed, python is a bonafide trend for Fall 2011. The recent runways were overwhelmed with every sort of snakeskin you can imagine in every color combination that you could ever want, but sadly, a lot of them were pretty mediocre. Brands seemed to be doing python for python’s sake without much regard for the situations in which the material looks its best, and that’s never more obvious than when you compare those pieces to something like the VBH Villager Python Tote.

I know I’ve said this plenty of times before, but I still find it absolutely confounding that a former Spice Girl now designs a range of totally luxurious, well-crafted handbags that are sold by some of the finest retailers in the world. Is this real life? Am I taking crazy pills?

Beckham’s aesthetic has come a long way since the days when she was the leather-chap-wearing queen of the British WAGs (wives and girlfriends of soccer players, for the uninitiated), and pieces like the Victoria Beckham Two-Tone Lizard and Leather Clutch demonstrate the classic, heavily tailored look that Vicky B’s been working to great effect for the past couple of years.

It didn’t take long for python to make itself known as the biggest handbag look of Fall 2011; as trends go, exotic skins aren’t exactly subtle. They’re also not affordable, so if you want to buy into a piece of one of the runway, start saving your pennies now. To help motivate you, we’ve put together a non-comprehensive compendium of some of Fall 2011′s snakeskin looks, all the way from slouchy, comfortable pink Dior to rigid, bright yellow Gucci.

We’ll be doing the requisite rundown of all of Fall 2011′s accessories trends over the next few weeks, but when I saw the Jimmy Choo Saba Python Hobo Bag, I just couldn’t help myself. Mixing textures and python are both very important for this year’s looks, and this bag combines both of them in a very wearable, functional tote.

I’ve felt more positive about Jimmy Choo’s designs for Spring 2011 than I have about the company’s handbags in what seems like quite a while, and this bag in particular is an example of what Choo tends to do right.

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