Gucci Python Stirrup Top Handle, $4700 via Saks. Gucci 1973 Python Small Top Handle, $2400 via Saks.

With so many choices in life, it’s somewhat amazing that we don’t all become hermits in the throws of deep existential crises. Skim or 2%? Decaf or regular? Heels or flats? To UGG or not to UGG? Even thinking about it makes me a bit dizzy. And if you’re a fan of python and Gucci python in particular, you’ve got another choice to make for fall – big or small?

The Gucci Python Stirrup Top Handle and Gucci 1973 Python Small Top Handle may be made out of the same yellow-green dyed python, but they sit at opposite ends of the size spectrum. One is a bag big enough for your everyday life, the other is so petite that I’d only advise that you use it for a night out. Which way would you go? (more…)

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. Whether it’s regular leather, stingray, snakeskin or crocodile, the color and texture of the finish have been carefully selected to enhance the skin’s natural beauty. And don’t forget fur, calfhair, ostrich leg, suede and embossed leather – VBH has a little something for every taste, so long as your taste is good. (more…)

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. Carlos Falchi should be the person teaching that course.

Snakeskin has been a staple of Falchi’s line for years, and the Carlos Falchi Single Strap Hobo Bag demonstrates exactly what I wish more designers would acknowledge: Python is a design unto itself. It doesn’t need much help to be beautiful, just stand back and let the leather shine. After all, that’s why customers are willing to pay a premium. (more…)

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. That would be the case with the Valentino Va Va Voom Crocodile Shoulder Bag; Valentino produces exotic bags here and there but hasn’t made it a brand trademark, although that hasn’t stopped the company’s designers from getting in on the fun. (more…)

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.

For real croc, like the Gucci New Bamboo Crocodile Shoulder Bag? I could probably do a whole one-bedroom apartment, including a nice TV. At fifteen inches wide, this is a generously sized bag for the sort of structure it employs, but $14,000 means something different for me now than it did last week. Would you ever pay that much for a bag? Are you interested in crocodile at all? Buy through Net-a-Porter for $14,200.

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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. I don’t have the social schedule or the financial means to take this little box bag to all of the summertime garden parties that it deserves to see, but maybe someone out there does and could allow me to live vicariously. (more…)

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. (more…)

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.

VBH is a brand well known for restrained luxury, and every inch of this design typifies that look. The python looks lush and textured instead of the flat, glazed snakeskin that we saw frequently during the fall shows, and the neutral color allows the exotic beauty of the skin to take center stage instead of requiring it to compete with multiple colors and design ideas. But if you want a look this refined, you have to be willing to pay the price – literally. (more…)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

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