Gucci Hand-Painted Woven Leather Tote, $5900 via Net-a-Porter.
I bet you thought it was, didn’t you? I did. But as the name would indicate, the Gucci Hand-Painted Woven Leather Tote is made entirely of intricately laced and painstakingly painted leather to give the bag the summery look and subtle variation of your favorite well-worn leather tote. This bag follows in the estimable footsteps of Bottega Veneta, who first fooled us with its leather-as-straw bags last year. Unfortunately for those of you who might be looking for a deal, the Gucci version is also in the exact same mid-four-figures price range.
Whenever we post about one of these bags, a few commenters ask the same (valid) question: Who wants to pay a premium to have leather that looks like a less expensive material? For some people, the visual transformation of leather into straw might not hold any particular fascination, but for me, I can’t stop looking at it. Not only do you get the durability and luxury of leather, but you get a very clever joke and a bag that is sure to confuse and amaze your friends. So it’s a functional bag, a conversation starter and a party trick, all in one? That seems like a good case for raffia-look leather to me. Plus, the hand-hewn finishing of this piece in particular is marvelous. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $5900.