After two seasons in a row of furry, futuristic, ultra-covetable wildness from the brand, Fendi’s Fall 2014 Handbags are a bit of a step back toward simplification, if only a small one. There’s a bit less fur, fewer textural embellishments and not as many colors residing on a single purse, but there’s still the signature Fendi look that Karl Lagerfeld has taken care to develop over the past few years.

Fendi fans will automatically recognize both the Peekaboo and the 3Jours bags, both of which debuted for fall in new iterations that include details like fur handles and aggressively industrial metal trim, but the bags that dominated the Fendi runway were overwhelmingly small, squat, squarish and, dare I say, highly reminiscent of Hermes, with their leather-cloaked keys, short handles a la the Kelly Longue and traditionally French detailing. The bags were show as hand-helds on the runway, but I suspect they’ll come with removable shoulder straps at retail; if not, they might be a tough sell.

[Images via Vogue.com]

You can say a lot of things about Fendi creative director Karl Lagerfeld, but you can’t claim the man doesn’t have a sense of humor about himself. Fendi, a brand that knows as well as any other when it has a hit on its hand and how to maximize its success, opened its Fall 2014 runway show (full coverage of the show’s handbags is coming your way at noon) with one of the brand’s popular Bag Bugs in the visage of Lagerfeld himself, held aloft daintily by Cara Delevingne so that one and all could snap clear pictures of it for Instagram and beyond. Well played.

Lagerfeld intuitively understands better than almost anyone else in fashion how powerful moments like this little Bag Bug can be – photos of this furry, miniaturized version of himself immediately flooded social media after the show, and East Coasters woke up to find Lil Karl staring back at them from their phones. Not only that, but Fendi had the biggest model in the world carry it; the brand signed Delevingne to a Milan exclusive, so her appearance along with this Bag Bug was the only one she’ll be making on the Italian runways. It was, clearly, the only such handbag accessory presented in this way. Based on our sources, Lil Karl saw his shadow, so we’re predicting six more months of brisk Bag Bug pre-sales.

If you want to get your hands on one of Fendi’s original furry bag charms, check out our guide to pre-ordering them.

[Image via Vogue.com]

During her tenure at the brand, creative director Frida Giannini has taken enormous strides in streamlining and simplifying what it is to be the Gucci woman. Tom Ford’s hard-nosed excess was fun, but Giannini has long offered up a softer experience that is more viscerally luxurious, and she’s taken that even another step further with Gucci’s Fall 2014 handbags. The collection features shapes both familiar and new, all made minimalist in soft leather and muted tones.

Gucci fans will immediately recognized the newly pared-down New Jackie Hobo, which does away with some of the trim details that were holding the design in the last decade and makes it feel more languid and casual. In addition, you’ll find small, structured shoulder bags with generous straps, plus oversized totes in what appears to be very sumptuous leather. To say we’re looking forward to seeing these bags in stores would be an understatement; this collection doesn’t try to hard or reach too far, and it does a lot of thinks exactly right.

[Images via Vogue.com]

After middling results with the Mulberry Del Rey Bag, Mulberry has chosen a more fashion-centric name for its next celebrity collaboration. Supermodel of the moment Cara Delevingne has signed on to design (“design”) and rep the Mulberry Cara Delevingne Bag, which comes in three sizes, all of which are convertible between a tote and backpack.

The first run of bags will be available in quilted leather, two shades of camo-print calf hair and one limited edition quilted version that features lion-head studs within the bag’s quilts. Delevingne famously has a lion head tattoo on one of her fingers, which was likely the inspiration behind that particular embellishment. None of the other bags are listed as limited editions, so you can expect the line to live on into the future as long as consumer interest demands its presence.

Before the Lana Del Rey bag, Mulberry had huge success hitching its wagon to style star Alexa Chung (lest we forget that the Mulberry Alexa is named after her). Tapping Del Rey felt like a misstep from the beginning because of the relative lack of interest in her among luxury audiences, but Delevingne has proved to be both an industry obsession and paparazzi magnet, so her clout might do more to propel these bags into the realm of the smash-hit Alexa. As bags, they’re very much traditionally Mulberry-esque and in some ways similar to the ever-popular Bayswater, so fans of the brand’s look will likely have no problem embracing these new shapes. Check out photos from the London unveiling below, as well as Mulberry’s images of the forthcoming bags. Prices haven’t been released yet, and you can expect the bags to surface around the end of summer.

There is something of a fine line between “art” and “art project,” and during the Burberry Fall 2014 runway show, the brand’s hand-painted handbags didn’t often stay on the right side of it. In a post-show interview with Vogue, brand head Christopher Bailey spoke of having studio staffers paint the bags, and the results generally looked like the product of hands whose primary job is not, in fact, painting things. A “back-to-basics” approach was clearly Bailey’s intent, but unfortunately it doesn’t make for bags that look particularly luxurious or expensive.

The collection also includes some bags with large swaths of Native American blanket-print textiles, which are light years more sophisticated than their painted counterparts, as well as some bags, all in the same elongated domed shape, which feature velvet embellishments. The vast majority of the bags were painted with oversized, amateurish flowers and leaves, though, and although normally I love painted bags, I wish Burberry, with its nearly infinite resources and influence, had tapped actual artists to do the painting like Prada often does; the results would have almost assuredly been no less earthy but light years more elegant.

[Images via Vogue.com]

After two blockbuster handbag hits with the PS1 and PS11 bags, Proenza Schouler’s accessories success has been in something of a holding pattern. That happens to many brands after an initial fit of success; learning how to turn those first instincts into stable, replicable growth requires a little bit of alchemy, at the very least. Based on the Proenza Schouler Fall 2014 handbags, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez may have hit their stride. (more…)

Another New York Fashion Week has come and gone, and as we prepare for the Fall 2014 collections cross the Atlantic to roll through Europe for the next three weeks, it’s important to take stock of what happened in Manhattan and what it tells us about where our accessories dollars are headed in the second half of the year.

First, designers are putting their biggest emphasis ever on exotics and fur, so you should either get ready to spend $20,000 on a handbag or get ready to buy a $2,000 consolation prize. For top-tier designers; there’s little downside to courting the ultra rich; not only does it enable them to move five-figure handbags, but it makes the brand’s more accessible designs all the more attractive to regular luxury customers. Beyond the clear texture trends, many collections had another thing in common: plenty of blue accessories, from powder to navy.

[Images via Vogue.com, NOWFASHION and Tory Burch]

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Sometimes fashion speaks to its customers on a metaphorical level, but for 3.1 Phillip Lim Fall 2014, the handbags literally have something to say. The handheld, paper bag-like purses are debossed with fashion-fave phrases like “totes” and “amaze,” as well as clutches that boast of the “cash” therein. (And let’s face it, “cash” is a favorite phrase among the luxury crowd as well, if maybe not a colloquialism.)

If you like your handbags a little less wordy, the collection also featured many a chain-handled, highly structured shoulder bag, very much in the vein of the Chanel Boy Bag, but slightly more minimal. Lim made his accessories name with the Pashli, a contemporary take on the incredibly popular Celine Luggage Tote shape, and with the Boy Bag’s ever-increasing favor among fashion’s tastemakers, it’s smart for the brand to provide a more attainably priced alternative that still has plenty of fashion cachet. Check out the full runway collection below.

[Images via Vogue.com]

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