Fendi’s Fall 2013 runway was full of fur used in inventive ways, from neon zebra-striped bags to shoes that feature multicolored mohawks for your ankles. If it had surface area, Karl Lagerfeld probably found a way to make it fuzzy. If you’re not such a maximalist, though, you can always pick up a Fendi Fur Monster Charm to spike up an existing bag in your collection. (more…)

Since I first laid eyes on the Fendi 2Jours Bag, it was love at first sight. This is a bag that stands out when you see it online, but in person it’s even more stunning. Every bit of the bag is refined and elegant, without appearing old or stuffy. In fact, if you’re looking for a bag to splurge on and you want something classic and on-trend, this is the bag for you. With a bag this spacious, there are plenty of everyday essentials you can throw inside, but today the first thing I’d toss in would be the By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Protectant.

This lip protectant is adored worldwide by beauty editors and makeup addicts alike for it’s smooth and sheer glossy finish. It’s a cult favorite and that is easy to see why, plus it also protects your lips – it’s infused with anti-oxidant Vitamin E and UV filters. Keep an amazing bag on your arm and the perfect beauty products inside to make your summer chic in every way. Lip protectant is $53 and Fendi 2 Jours bag is $2,260 via Net-A-Porter.

I’ve often wondered, both aloud on here and in my own head (yes, I have many a handbag-related thought in my downtime) when, exactly, Fendi would modernize the original It Bag, the Fendi Baguette, to reflect what’s going on in accessories design right now. Small, short-strap shoulder bags are just not the ever-elusive new hotness; right now, the market seems to favor longer straps that allow for crossbody wear. Enter the Fendi Be Baguette.

This Baguette version, brand new for Fall 2013, offers a couple important modifications from the all-time classic. First, and most obviously, the bag has a long shoulder strap, this time made out of chain instead of leather. That makes it feel immediately more relevant and modern, which seemed like a bit of an issue for the brand during all its 10th Anniversary festivities for the design. Yes, it’s great that the Baguette endured for 10 years in a fickle fashion market, but what was its next step? It seems as though Fendi is finally ready to answer that question in year 11.

The second important addition to the bag is a front pocket. The original Baguette debuted before cell phones were an omnipresent part of daily life; sure, a lot of people had them, but access to one’s phone didn’t necessarily need to be constant or particularly convenient. After all, back then, it was just a phone. The pocket on the new bag is the perfect size for an iPhone, and there’s little doubt that’s exactly what it was intended to house. The bag itself also feels more substantial, more luxurious, more like it’s meant to rival a Chanel Classic Flap for enduring popularity and elegance. (Also similar to the Chanel, it appears as though the long chain strap can be doubled to form a shorter handle.)

The only problem with the design that I foresee is the price. At $2,950, the Be Baguette outpaces the rest of Fendi’s all-leather handbag lineup, and although it does look particularly luxurious, the number itself might be a stumbling block for customers used to paying less for similarly sized bags from the brand. Currently, you can get a heavily beaded or embroidered regular Baguette for less than the price of the Be, and the regular 2Jours tote, which is much larger, comes in at around $700 less. Still, the bag costs thousands less than similarly styled Hermes and Chanel options, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this design was intended to inch Fendi toward that market.

Fendi Be Baguette Bag, Taupe
$2,950 via Nordstrom

Fendi Be Baguette Bag Taupe

Fendi Be Baguette Bag, Pink
$2,950 via Nordstrom

Fendi Be Baguette Bag Pink

Fendi Be Baguette Bag, Black
$2,950 via Nordstrom

Fendi Be Baguette Bag Black

Fendi Be Baguette Bag, Purple
$2,950 via Nordstrom

Fendi Be Baguette Bag Purple

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t sleep on Fendi. Karl Lagerfeld’s creative direction at Chanel may get more media attention, but the things he’s been doing with color, texture and tech-inspired fabrications and textiles at Fendi for the past few seasons are, at their best, a fascinating look at the technicolor future of mass-market luxury. At their worst, they’re still a heck of a lot of fun to look at, and these Fendi 2Jours Mink and Leather Totes are far from the brand’s worst.

The entire Fendi Fall 2013 handbag collection was full of fur, most of it implemented in far more interesting ways than designers generally consider when making a “fur bag.” Fendi has been a furrier since the beginning of the company in the 1920s, though, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the brand is more creative with the controversial material than many of its contemporaries. On these totes, colorful, close-cropped mink is layered over the bag’s leather base to creative an acid-tripping version of zebra print. Some might sniff at the “taste level” of these bags and their mixed colors and textures, but I’d carry one in a heartbeat. They’re an electrifying example of what can be done with the handbag form, if proper creativity is applied.

Fendi 2Jours Mink and White Leather Large Tote
$6,102 via Luisa Via Roma

Fendi 2Jours Mink and White Leather Large Tote Bag

Fendi 2Jours Mink and Leather Medium Bag
$5,517 via Luisa Via Roma

Fendi 2Jours Mink and Leather Medium Bag

Fendi 2Jours Mink and Leather Bag
$6,102 via Luisa Via Roma

Fendi 2Jours Mink and Leather Large Bag

While there have been plenty of recent designs that continue to place Fendi firmly on our handbag radar, none has had such a lasting influence and effect on fashion as the Baguette. No matter how many new bags follow, there is something so special about the Baguette that makes it continue to shine as the star of the Fendi show. As the brand expands its reach, which has brought it all the way to the booming luxury market of urban Brazil.

The first Fendi boutique in Brazil – at Cidade Jardim in São Paulo – will open its doors on June 5th, and for the grand opening Fendi designed a limited edition Fendi Baguette that pays tribute to the Brazilian flag. The store still has a few more days until it opens, but the buzz has been building as the South American country readies itself to embrace the new retail location. There will be other limited edition items, but of course the Baguette caught our attention and pays homage to the bright colors of Brazil. The piece is unique to the store, of course, but you can shop Fendi via Neiman Marcus.

Fendi Brazil Baguette

Here’s Reese Witherspoon shopping at a Whole Foods in LA (where the daytime lighting is strangely perfect), carrying a paper bag of fresh flowers and other goodies in one arm and an orange Fendi 2Jours Tote on the other. I suddenly have a fiendish urge to buy something orange. This Italian leather shopper is available in eight different colorways and can be bought for $2,260 at Nordstrom. Reese’s bag collection tends to be particularly high-end; you can check out her many Givenchys, Fendis, and Saint Laurents in “The Many Bags of Reese Witherspoon”!

I’m not a hardcore Reese Witherspoon fan, but I really have to give her props for this one thing: her “I know I’m being stalked by paparazzi” face is the best in Hollywood. Many celebs have made a career out of ignoring the paps completely, while others at least attempt to treat them like human beings, but Reese’s face just turns partially to stone in the face of any paparazzo, and she’s always wearing a smirk that says “I make more money just by signing on for one movie than you’ll ever see in your entire lifetime.” Or at least, that’s how I read it.

We’re all about radical truth-telling in these parts (ok, maybe it could be more accurately termed as radical opinion-sharing), and honestly, I don’t really like the Fendi Baguette, as a bag concept. I like that the size proportion of the bag’s body makes it ripe for embellishment, and I like all the creative things that Fendi’s done with it over its decade-plus lifespan, but I really wish that the Baguette would get re-imagine as a crossbody. The short shoulder strap just feels so dated. Everything else about the Fendi Jelly Flower Baguette, though, is love at first sight.

I’ve waxed poetic about my love for the technical innovation in Fendi’s current handbags previously, and this bag’s combination of delicate flowers rendered in a thoroughly modern way is yet another example of just how hard the brand is hitting it out of the park. Few designers are willing to go so three-dimensional with their bag embellishments for functional reasons, and even though the boldness of these blooms may make this bag a little more fragile, I think that the visual effect is more than worth it. The black and white color scheme, plus the translucence of the white petals, is just perfect. The decision to use a clear acetate logo closure instead of the bag’s traditional hardware completes the look.

If nothing else, this bag is proof positive that modernity and traditional femininity can coexist in fashion, and maybe even that they can add up to more than the sum of their parts. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $2,450.

Of all of the fraught issues in fashion (and believe me, there are plenty), fur is probably one of the most fraught. It has both ardent defenders and detractors, but mostly, luxury consumers are somewhere in the middle, just like yours truly – aware of the ethical issues with wearing fur, and not necessarily a fur customer, but also not constitutionally opposed to someday becoming a fur customer, were the right piece to cross our paths. For Fendi Fall 2013, it seems as though Karl Lagerfeld’s entire goal was to tempt those of us in the murky middle. (more…)

Sometimes, there’s virtue in not quite matching. Often, I look at people wearing multiple pieces that are obviously from the same collection and see someone that would do well to think a bit harder about how to assemble an outfit. (There are, of course, exceptions.) People who’ve found their stylistic sweet spot often look great because they successfully combine pieces that don’t intuitively belong together. Think of it as slant rhyme for clothing. (more…)

Spotting a bag that you really, truly adore during a fashion show is one of the most agonizing things about working in this business. You know it’ll take six months for the object of your affections to even become nominally available, and when it does, the price will, in all likelihood, make you dizzy. And still, you remember. And you lust. And you revisit old posts you’ve written that featured the bag. (Ok, that last one is probably just me.)

One day, though, the bag shows up, and it’s at your fingertips, ripe for the taking. For me and my beloved Fendi 2Jours Studded Neoprene Tote, today is that day. Yes, the color – a bright orange that Fendi and Neiman Marcus insist on calling “red,” despite abundant evidence to the contrary – is aggressive. So are the tonal studs that divide the front panel into six sections and make the bag look like it might eventually sprout buds for new, smaller versions of itself. That’s one way to justify paying over three grand for a neoprene bag, I suppose – if it regenerated infinitely.

Still, I’m in love. If one has to deal with the inconveniences and drudgery that often mar day-to-day life, one might as well do it with a spectacularly eccentric handbag, and bright orange certainly feels fresh after the boredom of winter. Fendi Spring 2013 was my favorite collection of the entire runway season, and I still love the weird, wonderful, futuristic feeling that the bags provide. Especially this one. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $3,590.

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