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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As all fashion watchers know, the clothing and accessories that grace fashion week runways is generally the most experimental and forward-thinking of the full line of items that any designer will eventually offer in a particular season. It’s important to keep that in mind when you see the Alexander Wang Fall 2014 Handbags, which debuted over the weekend in a show that hilariously required a bunch of fancy fashion people to schlep to the Brooklyn Navy Yards. The accessories were as utilitarian as the venue would suggest. (more…)

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Fashion Week is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work, even though most members of the media try to make it look like one glam fete after another. There are indeed some fun parties to attend, but you’ll be going to them after more than a full day of work, and after a few days, that can wear on a person. When you combine that with the fact that Fashion Week is an occasion on which everyone is expected to look their best, what you put in your makeup bag becomes important. After a few seasons of trial and error, I’ve found a couple of items that are an absolute must-carry, including my all-time favorite liquid liner and dry shampoo, which both retail for six bucks or less.

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