Leave it to the French to cap off the Fall 2013 show season with a fashion week full of subtle, elegant, incredibly luxurious bags. Along with the clothes that graced the majority of the runways at Paris Fashion Week, the bags were largely casual and wearable; where a thousand rhinestone-encrusted clutches once stood, we instead found functional everyday bags in shades of ivory, burgundy and black. Lest we forget about the luxury of it all, many of those bags were rendered in lush exotics.

This is what our continental friends do best, of course; these bags all look easy, and they will be easy to carry, but they’re all designed just so. Luxury doesn’t have to be inconvenient or trend-based, it can be just that: luxury. For the best bags that embody that ideal from Paris Fashion Week, check out our roundup below.

[Images via Vogue]

How to translate Fashion Week publicity and excitement into quick sales has been a logistical problem plaguing the fashion industry for some time. By their very nature, fashion shows are showcases of clothing that has yet to be manufactured, but with almost every show imaginable streaming online and images up on Style.com within hours, they also provide a huge public window on new collections, and the public is not that good at waiting. Taking a note from pre-order pioneers Moda Operandi, Neiman Marcus now allows shoppers to pick from a tightly edited selection of pieces straight off the runway, which then ship as soon as they become available.

This is the second season that Neiman Marcus has offered this option, and although the pickings are a tad slim (perhaps a not-so-tightly-edited approach will follow in the future when the power of the pre-order is more widely appreciated), some information about Fall 2013 trends can be gleaned from the handbag offerings. First, I hope you liked Fall 2012′s oxblood mania, because it’s not going anywhere. Second, I hope you still like leopard, because it, too appears to be here for the duration. Check out the best handbags of the bunch below, or head over to Neiman Marcus to shop the entire pre-order selection, including clothes and shoes.

Last week, we spotlighted what celebrities and fashion people were carrying to attend the Chanel Fall 2013 show (shocker: lots of Chanel), but its far from the only show that attracts stars and their handbags at Paris Fashion Week. From Stella McCartney to Louis Vuitton, American, European and Asian celebs carried a ton of envy-inducing bags all over Paris in the past week. Thankfully, a horde of photographers was there to document the entire thing.

Predictably, most of the stars wore bags made by (and given to them by) whatever brand they were lined up to see. At Paris Fashion Week, though, that’s still sight the behold; I don’t really care how someone came to have a Valentino, Dior or Louis Vuitton bag, I just enjoy looking at them. And look at them we shall, below.

There are few sure things in life (other than death and taxes, as the old trope goes), but a bevy of beautiful handbags at a Louis Vuitton show is absolutely on that short list. The company makes no bones about the importance of leather goods to its business, and creative director Marc Jacobs always makes sure to put the best of the best on display for editors, buyers and LV fans alike. For Louis Vuitton Fall 2013, that means a couple of Vuitton’s most classic shapes (think Speedy and Pochette Accessoires), done up in materials like fur, python, crocodile and feathers.

Like Jacobs’ own show, the color palette was rich but muted, and a couple of the materials (particularly the snakeskins) seemed like perhaps they appeared on handbags in both lines. When it came to the bags, though, Vuitton kept things classic; the biggest leaps of the collection were fur-covered Speedy bags that looked like muffs, and although fur bags are difficult to pull off, the inherently amorphous shape of the Speedy freed up Jacobs to experiment with longer fur than a more structured bag would require. If you’re looking for something more traditional, a python Speedy or soft crocodile fold-over quasi-Lockit are better bets. For me, though, the most interesting bags of the collection were the feather-covered Pochettes Accessoires, which looked almost like they had been adorned with short locks of colorful hair.

[Images via Style.com and TheCut]

Under the guidance of Clare Waight Keller, Chloe has been pretty much impeccable when it comes to retro-modern femininity. Looking for something in peach, blush or ivory, but want it without the saccharine sweetness that often accompanies those shades? Go directly to Chloe, do not pass go, do not collect $200. For Fall 2013, though, Waight Keller had something slightly tougher in mind, but her vision was no less-spot on.

In that vein, the handbags of Chloe Fall 2013 are a bit stronger (visually, not quality-wise) than what we’ve seen from the brand in the recent past, and the season’s accessories also have a keen sense of functionality. The bigger bags, both monotone and bicolor, are structured so that you could probably fit your regular stuff plus a change of clothes inside of them without looking over-packed, and the exotic versions are a particular delight.

[Photos via Vogue]

It’s so unfair that some of the very best accessories shows are at the end of fashion month. We’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for powerhouse handbag brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton to give us a peek at what’s up next, and finally, all has been revealed. In the case of Chanel Fall 2013, the collection turned out to be well worth the wait, particularly if you enjoyed Spring 2013′s Lego-inspired bags.

Not only did this collection include what seemed like a zillion new iterations of the little clutch, some of which were inset with textiles that matched their attendant ensembles, but it also introduced a new mini crossbody with hardware that reflects the structure of the Lego clutch. In fact, most of the Chanel bags were small, particularly the spherical minaudieres that aped the giant globe that centered the set at the Grand Palais in Paris. The notable size exception? Portfolio-sized Chanel Boy Bags, big enough to fit a small laptop.

[Images via Vogue]

Dior built a solid foundation for its accessories with Raf Simons’ ready-to-wear debut in Spring 2013, and for Dior Fall 2013, that design success only grows. Casual observers might question the choice to adorn many of the bags with midcentury Andy Warhol drawings of shoes, but fashion and art tend to make less-than-strange bedfellows as of late. From a marketing perspective, it’s a smart, not to mention stylish, move.

What’s really notable for us (and what will sell, of course) are the bags sans illustration, many of which expand on the idea of the Dior Bar Bag, which was new in the Spring 2013 collection. The bag now comes in a wider east-west shape, in addition to the north-south version we’ve already seen, as well as ostrich, crocodile and heavily beaded versions. The Dior Diorissimo Bags also continue to be a highlight, particularly in mirrored silver leather. Would you be brave enough to carry a Warhol-emblazoned version?

[Images via Vogue]

By now, you like know what to expect from Chanel Spring 2013. It is, after all, the collection that spawned the Instagram-friendly Chanel Hula Hoop Bag, but even beyond that, it was a modern-but-fun set of colorful bags that still retained that signature Chanel look. Now those bags are available in Chanel boutiques worldwide, and we’ve got the lookbook to prove it.

You’ll likely recognize many of these bags from the runway show, and in addition to those pieces, Chanel’s also provided some new versions of its extremely popular Boy Bag for our shopping pleasure. For me, the standout is the black-and-blue version; those colors just go so well together, and the contrast highlights the beautiful trim of the Boy Bag. Let us know which ones you like, or call Chanel at (800)550-0005 for pricing and purchase info.

When we discussed the possibilities of Alexander Wang’s handbags for Balenciaga back when the young American designer was named to replace Nicolas Ghesquiere as the head of the brand, most of you were not particularly optimistic about Wang would do, particularly compared to the genius of his predecessor. After all, precious few brands can boast a line that’s been as successful as the Balenciaga Motorcycle Bags, which were Ghesquiere’s brainchild. As it turns out, though, Wang’s Balenciaga Fall 2013 Handbags show some promise, as did the entire collection.

Wang’s always had a good sense of what women want to carry – handbags have long been one of, if not the, most successful parts of his eponymous brand – and the handful of petite, highly structured bags that appeared on the runway showed a good deal of maturity and a good grasp of what’s been going on with Balenciaga up to this point. The angular, fluid closure hardware was also mirrored in cuffs and boots, and with the addition of a long, slender shoulder or crossbody strap, I could see these bags being carried and coveted by plenty of fashion folks. A smart, slightly conservative outing – just what Alexander Wang needed.

[Images via Vogue]

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I can’t believe it’s already the end of Milan Fashion Week! Paris is underway as we speak, but before we fully commit to a new city, we’d like to take a look at some of the best pieces and trends that came out of Italy for Fall 2013. Both fur and exotics are still going strong, and you might want to look for pieces in bright red and cyan to hit stores six months from now. It’s too early to start shopping, though, so let’s take a look at the best runway bags Milan Fall 2013 had to offer.

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