In the accessories world, Gucci has some of the best-known and most unique signature details. Horsebits, stirrups, the famous Flora print, the green-and-red webbed stripe – there are a lot of non-logo ways that you can immediately tell you’re looking at a Gucci bag. Perhaps the most recognizably bit of Gucci regalia, though, is bamboo. Introduced in 1947, the famed bamboo handle is getting a thoroughly modern upgrade in matte black for Gucci Fall 2013..

A bit of the traditional brown (plus a bit of the bag’s color) still peeks through in this new, modern bamboo, but the feeling is a tad more youthful, with just a bit of edge. Gone are the coordinating bamboo closures with which we’ve become accustomed in the past five years; instead, these bags boast sleek pushlocks against a host of exotics both dark and colorful. Gucci’s had great success with snakeskin accessories in particular in the past couple seasons, and I’m glad to see the brand stick with it; you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful python bag anywhere.

[Photos via Vogue]

In some ways, London Fashion Week is my favorite, season after season. It’s the shortest of all the cities – something of a Fashion Long Weekend, if we’re being honest – and in that space, it packs in tons of incredibly talented young designers who are doing bold, sometimes even brave, things with clothing, alongside a few bold-face names like Burberry and, this season, Tom Ford.

The downside of LFW, at least as it pertains to what we do here, is that few of the designers who grace us with their presences are known for bags, and a lot of them don’t even make so much as a clutch. Still, we tracked down 10 lust-worthy runway handbags from the runways of London Fashion Week Fall 2013, from beautiful exotics in traditional shapes to, well, the kind of zaniness for which London fashion is known.

As quickly as it snuck up on us, Fashion Week has left. It happens every season – fashion week comes and goes in the blink of an eye, and we want to be able to share a bit of the madness that we experience with you. Through our posts, you get a chance to hear about the collections, but with the instantaneous nature of the Internet, you can easily watch the shows and follow along yourself. What I want to share is what it’s really like to be part of the industry and at the shows. Amanda has covered a behind-the-scenes look before, and now I want to share a Fashion Week postmortem.

1. It’s work, a lot of work. People forget that while the fashion industry is made out to be glamorous, and movies like Devil Wears Prada tell the audience that “everybody wants to be us”, this is a job. The majority of people who attend shows are there for work, to watch the show and report on it to their respective outlets, plan editorial shoots or plot what department stores and boutiques will stock on their shelves. The shows are crazy packed, and there is a lot of time spent moving from venue to venue and trying to get to your seat. The Internet gives everyone immediate access to the majority of the shows, so we have to worry about how we’ll report on something everyone has already seen.

2. It’s exhausting. It seems like I’m complaining, and I don’t mean to, but Fashion Week really is tiring. On the morning of Day 5, it typically hits me, and it hits me hard. We go all day everyday, with shows every hour followed by lunch meetings and dinner parties and after-parties. Most people are running on very little sleep, and Day 5 is also when everyone becomes cranky. Mix cranky people with hungry people (so many fashion people are on a diet at all times), and now you’ve got a whole lot of attitudes in a relatively small venue together. On top of that, the lack of sleep makes everyone more susceptible to illness – what people not-so-affectionally call the “fashion week flu” runs rampant.

3. Being a model isn’t easy. No, I am not a model, but being backstage at shows and able to watch their run-thrus and see them in action has shown me their lives aren’t all rainbows and butterflies. Yes, they are blessed with great genes that make them freakishly tall and thin, but they have to work at it. These girls are under scrutiny at all times to look a certain way. At the end of a stressful day of shows, I plop on my couch at home and order in a carb-filled dinner with a massive dessert – models don’t generally have that luxury.

Also, almost no models are paid like Heidi Klum or Karlie Kloss. Many girls aren’t paid much (if anything), but much is expected of them. They go from one casting call to the next hoping to be chosen so that maybe their star will rise and they’ll start commanding bigger checks. They wear uncomfortable clothes for many shows but the shoes? These girls are put in some of the most uncomfortable shoes, which often aren’t anywhere close to the right size, they’re expected to walk in front of thousands of people and photographers as if they’re in a pair of slippers. Us normals like to pretend being a model is easy, it’s not.

4. Sometimes I feel more like I’m at the circus than Fashion Week. I’ve not been in the industry that long, but I understand why fashion vets are annoyed with the new blogging world. Each season, the amount of “photographers” that wait outside the tents and venues multiples, as does the number of bloggers and other randoms desperately trying to be photographed. You know the pictures you see of people wearing the most random, awkward, and uncomfortable looking outfits? Well, those people don’t just randomly get snapped, they are TRYING to get photographed, as often as possible. In fact, they walk around quite slowly and talk their friends and boyfriends into taking their photos in hopes of tricking the real photographers into thinking they’re noteworthy.

Once you get in the tents, it doesn’t end. It’s just more photographers and more people begging to be photographed. This continues happening right up until the show begins, and it makes navigating the venue and enjoying the experience frustrating. Trust me, most editors I speak to despise this part of fashion week. Generally, we talk about it while we’re corralled behind barricades, waiting to be let into the next space. It’s kind of like being cattle.

5. We complain, but the majority of us know how lucky we are. I’d be lying if I said there aren’t times I want to pinch myself. Growing up, I had no idea that I’d be in the high-paced and extravagant fashion industry. In fact I spent my college days pre-med. Now it’s my life and I consider myself extremely lucky. I won’t deny it, the shows are fun. When a designer invites you to a show it is an honor; he or she is sharing his or her hard work with you and hopes to have you share it with others. Watching well-known models strut the catwalk in designer wares in the same room as high-powered fashion editors and celebrities will never gets old for me.

Mulberry makes full lines of ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories, of course, but we and they both know what everyone wants to see every season: the bags. Mulberry has been an enormous reputation off of its stylish, functional, totally covetable leather day bags, and by all indications from the Mulberry Fall 2013 show, the brand has no desire to change that. Want a new work bag or roomy weekend bag? This collection likely has something you’ll want if you’re a fan of Mulberry’s general look.

As has been the trend so far this season, the show featured plenty of dark neutrals, plus a few colorful accents by way of teal and yellow. The collection also includes several new shapes for the brand, including the Mulberry Suffolk Bag, a soft, simple single-handle satchel with a metal bar across the top that feels a little bit like a Dolce & Gabbana Miss Sicily, and a double-handle satchel reminiscent of the Givenchy Lucrezia. Those are both very relevant shapes right now, so it makes sense that Mulberry would add them to their lineup, in addition to the beautiful Willow Tote that debuted for Spring 2013. (And which still hasn’t hit stores, but that’s just a personal gripe on my part.)

[Images via Vogue]

Another season has come and gone, and before we dive into what the Europeans have to offer in the coming weeks, it’s time to look back at what we learned about Fall 2013 during New York Fashion Week. First and foremost, things aren’t going be be quite as busy and boisterous going forward as they have been over the past few seasons. Most brands showed lots of neutrals (black and white, in combination, in particular) and subdued colors, which is great for people like us. It gives accessories an opportunity to sing.

And sing they did. The bags out of New York this season are exotic, furry, haircalf’d and embellished with textiles and jewels. As fussy as that sounds, though, there’s a sophistication to the best of the group that takes down the volume by an order of magnitude and manages to make those elements look wearable and elegant. Below, the 20 strongest American contenders for your handbag dollars from Fall 2013. Fill us in on your favorite of the bunch in the comments.

[Images via Vogue]

Marc Jacobs isn’t as widely revered for his handbags as he used to be (although it’s a different story with his work for Louis Vuitton), but the accessories that liberally dot his runway show every season are still just as influential within the industry as everything else the models are wearing. Marc Jacobs is the king of New York, and his reign doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, even if his handbags aren’t at the top of as many shopping lists as they were in the heyday of the Stam bag.

For Fall 2013, the message was clear – simply shaped, chain-handled shoulder bags with serious texture. Whether it was black leather lattice layered over one of the collection’s omnipresent shimmering, muted jewel tones like a handbag fishnet stocking, python on its own or sequins added to python like super-glam mottling, these are bags that make you want to reach out and touch them. Especially the lone ivory fur option, which may just be the thing that makes me a believer in fur bags after all.

[Images via Vogue]

Everyday I feel so thankful for being able to call what I do my job, and that goes double during Fashion Week. One of my favorite aspects is that Vlad and I are able to work together during fashion week, with me watching the shows so I can report and him photographing so we can tell the story the way we see it. Michael Kors always puts on a show, and this season was no different. With the theme of “bright lights, fast city,” the Michael Kors models took to the catwalk with a modern, glamorous attitude.

I want to share the story Michael Kors presented for his Fall 2013 collection with you in the best way possible: perfect moments captured by Vlad.
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There was so much build up and anticipation ahead of the Oscar de la Renta Fall 2013 collection. Ever since the brand announced that Oscar would take ex-Dior designer John Galliano into his studio, the fashion world has been buzzing about this collection. Would Galliano have a major hand in the design process, would the collection be that of a dual collaboration, would Galliano take the stage with Oscar at the end of the show? (more…)

There’s an inherent luxury to a day clutch. That a woman is free to carry her bag in her hands implies all sorts of privilege, chiefly among them that the woman in question has other people at her disposal to worry about all the things with which the contents of an oversized tote might otherwise contend. It doesn’t guarantee that someone has a driver, personal assistant or nanny, of course, but I can understand why a certain breed of woman likes the implication that the look, when well-executed, provides. Proenza Schouler Fall 2013 seems to be a bid to attract some of those well-heeled customers.

Investors have been trying to take Proenza in the direction of an old-world European luxury house for a couple of seasons now, and these textured day-clutch riffs on the PS1 and PS13 are the brand’s strongest efforts in that direction yet. The PS13, which is a tad disappointing in satchel form, shines brightest as a generously sized clutch, while the newly stripped-down version of the PS1 hand-held lends itself well to many of the textures and treatments that filled the largely monochromatic show. Perhaps most tellingly, the weird runway bags of almost every previous Proenza show were nowhere to be found; these guys are clearly looking to take their accessories business to the next level.

[Images via Vogue]

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