It’s been a while since we had a good ol’ fashioned bashing of an insultingly overpriced Versace bag, and as they say, there’s no time like the present. So let’s talk about the Versace Rose-Embellished Jacquard Hobo, shall we?

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I am very, very interested to see what Phoebe Philo will do during her tenure at Celine. I loved the Philo years at Chloe; after all, they did spawn some pretty legendary handbags (the Paddington, anyone?). Celine made some bags I liked quite a bit last season, which was a nice turnaround from their normally staid but bland fare. I’m having some trouble figuring out if this bag is from Celine’s last collection before Philo or their first collection with her, but either way, the Celine Dimitri Python Hobo is another step in the right direction.

Celine Demitri Python Hobo

The thing that struck me first is the color – it’s a beautiful medium grey with strong blue undertones, and the temperature of the color is cool enough to be perfect for the forthcoming colder weather (well, forthcoming for those that don’t live in my area of the country. We have several months of scorching heat ahead of us). It’s also light enough to highlight the differentiation between the python scales, which is something I believe all bags made out of exotic materials should do – after all, if I’m paying out the nose for it, I want to see the natural beauty of the skin showcased. Indeed, most of the bag is sublime – the thick straps, the shiny silver hardware in unexpected shapes, the tonal suede accents. The only thing that gives pause is the fringe emanating from the handle attachments. I don’t hate it at all, I’m just not sure about it and think that it possibly could have been done better. I can’t imagine how, though, so maybe I’m asking too much. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $4200.

Salvatore Ferragamo Studded Jazz SatchelIt’s rare that I see a technique that I haven’t seen used somewhere before. After all, I spend 40 hours a week (sometimes more, depending on how inefficient I am) looking at handbags; if a weird leather trick or a trim idea or a shape is out there, I’ve probably come across it out of professional necessity at some point. To a certain extent, there is nothing new under the sun – designers rip off each other and their own brands’ design history as much out of necessity as anything.

Which is part of the reason that I like the Salvatore Ferragamo Studded Jazz Satchel: the petal effect of the cut leather is not something you or I see every day. It’s incredibly intricate (and for the price, I certainly hope it was done by hand) without taking away from the essential function of the bag, which is a trick that not all designers execute skillfully. Usually I’m not a fan of brown, but in this case, keeping the color neutral and unobtrusive was the wiser decision. Although, now that I think of it, the tiny studs are silver – wouldn’t this bag be cooler in black? It looks less industrial this way, though, and maybe that will appeal to a wider customer base. Still, black version? Please? Or maybe not, since it’s so hideously expensive that I can’t buy it anyway. Buy through Luisa Via Roma for $3845.

Diane von Furstenberg Stephanie Hobo
We know, we know. We’ve written about the Diane Von Furstenberg Stephanie Hobo ad nauseum. Surely, some of you are sick of hearing about it. Too bad! We’re not sick of writing about it quite yet, particularly when they’ve just released a gorgeous silver version for fall.

Personally, I think it’s brilliant; the gold was warm and sunny for summer weather, and the combination of steely light and dark silvers that go into the fall version would look great against winter’s dark, woolen clothing. It’s bright without being inappropriate for the season, and the suede trim makes it an even better idea. This is definitely on my short list for must-have fall bags – grab it before it sells out, because it absolutely will. Buy through ShopBop for $875.

Jimmy Choo Metallic Mandah HoboJimmy Choo may have just accomplished the impossible – they may have designed a beige bag that doesn’t make me feel totally blah. I guess the secret to doing that is not actually making the bag beige.

For some reason, they want us to believe that this bag is gold. Maybe the lighting is bad, but Nordstrom‘s pictures are usually among the most accurate on the Internet, and on their website, the bag looks beige. Metallic beige, maybe, but beige nonetheless. In my household, the color is much reviled and derided, but on the Jimmy Choo Metallic Mandah Hobo, it works pretty well. The shimmery finish goes a long way towards banishing my boredom, and I could see this working really well as a metallic winter white. How cute would it be next to a fuzzy grey sweater? Buy through Nordstrom for $1595.

Sometimes, you look at a bag and it just screams luxury. There’s no question that it’s made out of amazing materials that will last a lifetime, and it’ll be stylish for just as long as it’s wearable. You can buy it without worry that it won’t fit into your wardrobe or that you won’t find a use for it. Sometimes, a bag is just that straightforward and just that good. The Yves Saint Laurent Roady Hobo is exactly one of those bags.

Yves Saint Laurent Roady Hobo

The first thing to stop me in my tracks was the color – red with earthy brown undertones. It’s incredibly rich-looking without being ostentatious or showy in the least. Instead of screaming at you about how wonderful it is, it puts its hand on your shoulder and whispers in your ear. From there, I then noticed the subtle but important texture of the leather. Instead of being boring and smooth, it’s somewhere between a stamped exotic and a conventional pebbled leather. Like the color, it’s interesting and luxe without being unnecessarily attention-grabbing. It talks softly and carries a big stick. The refined, sleek shape is the perfect compliment – the structured handle provides a nice counterpoint to the soft, slouchy shape. The metallic hooks on the ends of the strap are the perfect finishing touch. Buy through Saks for $1395.

Bally Multi Zip HoboBally isn’t a brand that we often mention here. Sure, they make nice handbags. But so do a lot of people, and in the past, I’ve had a hard time finding Bally handbags that I have something to say about either way. Sometimes ugliness isn’t the worst sin; sometimes, it’s worse to be utterly unremarkable.

What isn’t ugly or unremarkable, though, is the Bally Multi Zip Hobo. In fact, this bag is quite well-done and executed nicely. We’ve seen plenty of bags over the past few months that use zippers as a decorative feature instead of just a functional attribute of necessity. The idea is particularly brilliant – not only is it visually stimulating, but it’s a fun play on the expected structure and construction of a handbag and the role that all the parts play. This Bally hobo pulls it off in a particularly sophisticated way – smooth, rich-looking strips of black leather separated by industrial silver zippers. Perfect. Buy through Luisa Via Roma for $1774.

Jimmy Choo Bardia Shoulder BagIf this bag was made to appeal to anyone in particular, it was made to appeal to someone like me. I like buckles, I like industrial stuff, and I like copious amounts of black leather in whatever texture it may come. And just in case anyone was wondering – no, this does not extrapolate out to my personal life.

But the Jimmy Choo Bardia Shoulder Bag just isn’t doing it for me, and it’s mostly because the whole idea for the bag seems a little bit half-baked. Instead of really playing with the idea of a bag inspired by industrial style, it looks like the folks at Jimmy Choo merely took a really boring black hobo and but some nonfunctional buckles and straps on the sides. At best, it looks like a bit of an afterthought and at worst, it looks totally contrived. With so many outstanding bags of a similar style on the market for fall, Choo is going to have to try harder next time. Buy through Saks for $1750.

I’m kind of shocked, really – a Prada leather bag for less than a thousand dollars? At first I wondered if the price was correct, but it hasn’t changed in the couple of weeks that the bag has been on the Saks website, so it must be correct. I doubt this is the brand’s response to the recession – Prada doesn’t seem like the type of brand that intends to acknowledge it at all – but for whatever reason they chose to produce the reasonably priced Prada Vitello Shine Hobo, and I’m pretty pleased with it.

Prada Vitello Shine Hobo

Odds are that the gorgeous purple color is making me more enthusiastic than I would be otherwise (it reminds me of my favorite Balenciaga color of all time, 2007 violet), but color is such an important part of a bag’s personality that I’m completely okay with that. Prada always uses excellent leathers and high-quality construction, so I don’t doubt that the bag will last for quite a long time indeed. The only thing left to consider is the structure: it’s boring, I’ll admit, but it’s also highly functional, and the beautiful shade of purple makes up for the simple shape. Considering the price of this bag relative to others in Miuccia’s arsenal, I’m pretty pleased. Buy through Saks for $995.

One of my favorite parts of every new handbag season is waiting for the new Balenciaga colors to start hitting stores and websites. They’re my favorite brand and consistently product some of the most vibrant leather colors of any high-end designer. Since their bag shapes are simple and iconic, it lets the ever-changing leather shades take center stage, where some become highly sought-after and collectible.

Balenciaga Day in Pommier

My favorite from Fall 2009 is Pommier, a beautiful bright green that this photo doesn’t do justice. From what I’ve seen, it’s more of a Kelly shade in real life, and I couldn’t think of anything more beautiful to wear with the blacks and greys of fall. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a green like this from Balenciaga, which is refreshing – they’ve taken to repeating some of their most recent hits in the past few seasons. I’d prefer it with giant silver hardware (since I prefer everything with giant silver hardware), but I’d settle for the regular hardware pictured here if I had to. Maybe if I can save my pennies, I’ll have one of these lovely bags to show you ladies in the future. Buy through Barney’s for $1095.

Maison Martin Margiela Leather Shoulder BagUnder normal circumstances, I hate a gimmicky bag. With a normal designer, the need to make jokes in order to make a bag interesting always makes me think that whoever is behind that brand’s handbags is out of good ideas. The thing with Maison Martin Margiela, though, is that he’s not your average designer. Not by a long shot.

The man has reportedly not been photographed since the 90s, yet he continues to churn out increasingly popular collections of edgy, current clothing and accessories. Some reports are that he’s no longer involved with the day-to-day operations of his label, but the company that now owns it disputes that claim. Either way, part of his shtick has always been adding in a sly joke here and there, and the Maison Martin Margiela Leather Shoulder Bag fits into that category nicely. It looks as though the bottom of the bag has been folded forward, but really the outside zippered pocket has been stitched and fitted with tiny silver feet in order to give the appearance of the bag’s bottom while still being a functioning element of the bag’s design. And that’s why I’ll let this gimmick go – it doesn’t take away from the bag’s functional purpose, and the joke fits is incorporate in such a way that it enhances the bag instead of detracting from it. The man may be a hermit, but his humor still translates.

Buy through Saks for $1445.

Gucci New Jackie Guccissima Shoulder BagLogo bags are kind of five minutes ago, right? They’ve been kind of five minutes ago for a couple of years now. But despite the fact that I’ve never been a big fan of bags with branding all over them, I’ve always had a soft spot for Gucci. I like the pattern that their traditional logo fabric creates, and I like how it looks when it’s embossed into their Guccissima leather. I think it works because even if it didn’t serve as a logo, it would still be a fairly simple and attractive pattern.

And that’s why I like the Gucci New Jackie Guccissima Shoulder Bag. Last season when the New Jackie came out, I wrote about how much I like the functional and comfortable shape of the bag, and that hasn’t changed a bit. When you combine super soft, matte leather with the Guccissima embossed logo, it provides great texture without having to mess with the bag’s structure or premise. The color of this bag seals the deal for me – grey is an enormous, important color for Fall 2009, and this grey is a perfect, blue-undertoned, medium grey that will go with almost anything in the average woman’s wardrobe. It’s mighty expensive for regular leather, thought, which is a major deterrent for me adding it to my wardrobe. Buy through Saks for $3250.

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