The Best Bags of New York Fashion Week Day 2 (1)

New York Fashion Week usually proceeds in ways that are somewhat predictable, but for Fall 2014, some important things have changed. Not only have venues and guest lists gotten a shakeup this season, but Coach Fall 2014 debuted on a runway instead of at a private event later in the season, which is something that both we and legions of Coach lovers were pretty interested to see. We certainly weren’t disappointed.

The show marked new creative director Stuart Vevers’ debut with the brand, and the designer, formerly of Loewe and Mulberry, made quick work of elevating the brand’s staid handbags, shoes, accessories and outwear (especially outerwear) with a sense of fashion that comes with a designer who’s used to showing his collections at global fashion weeks. The clothes, which are still a new pursuit for the brand, felt like something that indeed belonged on a runway, and the bags, accented with gleaming silver hardware details, felt current. The new look of Coach seems to be one primed to compete with brands like Rag & Bone on an apparel and shoe level, and we’ll see how many contemporary fashion customers the bags can convert. Check out our exclusive photos from the show below.

As Amanda has already shared (and if you follow any fashion-related handles on social media, you already know), New York Fashion Week started yesterday. Industry folk, celebrities, bloggers, and just about every other fashion lover have descended upon Lincoln Center and other venues around New York City to preview the Fall 2014 collections.

We still plan to share the best bags from the runway collections, but this year Vlad is taking to the streets to photograph the best bags he spots each day. Fashion Week means people are dressing to impress, and some of the best bags come out to play. Here are our favorite bags (on some of our favorite people) on Day 1 of NYFW. (more…)

The first time I attended New York Fashion Week (which begins tomorrow, or already began, depending on whose schedule you’re on) after moving to the city, I carried a Celine Luggage Tote. That was several years ago, right when the Luggage Tote had reached the height of its unobtainability, and I had acquired the bag by paying for it six months in advance, in full, over the phone, sight unseen. I never ended up using it very much, but if it was going to make an appearance anywhere, it was definitely at Fashion Week, where I still felt a bit like I was faking it in a sea of people who truly belonged. (Before long, you realize that absolutely everyone feels like they’re faking it unless they have genuine delusions of grandeur.) (Some of them do.) Not even those insiders could get their hands on this bag, though, which made me frequent fodder for the street style photographers who prowled the fountain area outside of Lincoln Center.

That’s when I learned something that I had always suspected to be true: it’s completely possible to disappear behind your handbag, if the bag is good enough. My outfits were an utter mess, which I knew at the time but know even more vividly now, but that didn’t matter to anyone because I had the bag, the bag, that everyone wanted to look at. Even though the accessories industry is without a reigning It Bag of the moment, a great handbag is still the best way to get your picture snapped, if that’s your goal, but it’s also a great way to pull together a simple outfit in everyday life and make it seem special. That’s all those “fashion people” are doing, after all. Below, check out the best bags to wear for flinging yourself in front of photographers or re-wearing that shirt you may or may not have already worn to work on Monday.

We’ve already given you an exhaustive look at what happened outside the shows at Paris Fashion Week, and now it’s time to take an exhaustive look at what happened inside. Season after season, PFW yields some of the most incredible bag collections you’ll see anywhere, and with brand like Chanel and Louis Vuitton participating, that’s not entirely surprising. It’s easy for a great bag to get lost in the mix, though, which is why we think it’s important to take a moment and celebrate all of the Best Bags of Paris Fashion Week.

Spring 2014 looks to be a big season for France’s leather brands. Not only did Valentino not show any Rockstud bags on the runway for the first time since 2010, but Marc Jacobs showed his final collection at Louis Vuitton and Chanel loaded down most of its models with more than one purse. Of course, that doesn’t even skim the surface of what went on across Paris – check it all out below.

[Photos via Vogue.com]

All the rumors were true, as they so often are. Yesterday’s Louis Vuitton Spring 2014 show was Marc Jacobs’ last at the helm of the brand that he’s lead for 16 years, drawing to an end one of the most prolific and lucrative partnerships in modern fashion history. Jacobs’ has never been a man for subtle statements, and he went out in a way that only he could – with an almost entirely black show that referenced some of his greatest hits for the brand and closed with a round of showgirls wearing little more than thousands of meticulously placed jet beads.

There were handbags, of course – it’s Louis Vuitton we’re talking about, after all. They weren’t the kinds of bags that we’re used to seeing from LV, though, and they didn’t take over the show in the same way that they often have in the past. Instead, a portion of the models carried variations on one very specific theme: black bucket bags. They were adorned with everything from studs to feathers, but the basics of the bag never changed. Also, they weren’t based on the famous Louis Vuitton Noe Bag, which was the first of its kind back when it was invented to carry champagne. The bags didn’t conform to any of Louis Vuitton’s “codes” at all, actually. Marc Jacobs left as he arrived – firmly himself, marching to the beat in his head, waiting for the rest of us to pick it up.

[Photos via Vogue.com]

I think most of us, me included, thought that there was a decent chance Alexander Wang might fall flat on his face at the helm of Balenciaga. Maybe not probable, but not exactly impossible, either. Thankfully, Wang’s results in two seasons as Balenciaga’s creative director have yielded the exact opposite – two focused, luxurious, modern collections that are built solidly atop Balenciaga’s historic foundation. That extends to the collections’ handbags and shoes, including the cleverly closured bags from Balenciaga Spring 2014.

Over his tenure at his won brand, Alexander Wang has developed a pattern with his bags – he only shows a couple during runway shows, and they’re all from a very slim portion of the brand’s eventual offerings. That’s true to some extent for all brands, but Wang does it in extreme, both at his eponymous label and at Balenciaga. We only got one type of bag during the brand’s show, and it was a hand-held oversized clutch (and eventual shoulder bag, no doubt) that bore a faint structural resemblance to the similarly scaled clutches in Wang’s spring show several weeks ago. This version is several orders of magnitude more refined, though, even if the the framed closure is straight-up jacked from a Dunkin Donuts Munchkin takeout box.

In addition to black, the bag made appearances in white, soft grey and pale pink, all of which have been recurrent colors throughout the Spring 2014 accessories collections. There were also two crocodile versions, indicative of the important place that exotics have earned in the business, particularly when it comes to enticing the most lucrative customers at the top end of the market. Check out the bags that made an appearance during the show below.

[Images via Vogue.com]

If you’re in the mood for a fun, exuberant, spring-like bag collection, Bottega Veneta Spring 2014 is simply not for you. On the other hand, if you’d like something slightly dour and vaguely Japanese (in the bags, at least – there was no vagueness in the clothes), well, step right up and take a look. There’s enough grey for everybody, even if you weren’t really looking for any.

The collection goes beyond grey, of course, but it’s an incredibly muted group of bags on the whole, even by somewhat conservative Bottega Veneta standards. The most vibrant bright you’ll find among these bags are a few pieces in brick red, but then it’s back to more leather, python, lizard, crocodile and tweed in desaturated neutrals. The simple, sumptuous duffel styles were easily the best bets, while the tweedy frame top handles left me wondering who actually buys those bags. I have yet to entirely puzzle that one out. Check out the collection below.

[Images via Vogue.com]

Usually, I can count on Italy to give me at least one collection of handbags per season that hits me right in the heart. The Italians know their leather, and their Fashion Week is stocked with brands as well known for their bags as they are for anything. This time around, though, Milan Fashion Week Spring 2014 felt at times more like it was revisiting its greatest hits than charting new territory. I saw some new versions of existing bags that I loved, but I never got that new thing that flooded my brain with serotonin.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some accessories highlights – in fact, they were abundant. The new versions of the Fendi 2Jours were excellent, and the Prada face-painted bags are sure to become collectors’ items. Beyond that, there were lovely exotics in light colors galore, from Ferragamo to Versace. Even if the season wasn’t fully satisfying, there was plenty to love. Check out our picks for the best of the season below.

[Images via Vogue.com]

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