It took me a second to understand the name of the Alexander McQueen Clover Hobo. My thought process went something like this: well, it’s not green. It’s not printed. It’s not in the shape of a clover.
I’ve had mostly positive things to say about Dolce & Gabanna bags lately, but I just can’t get behind the Dolce & Gabanna Miss Dalia Hobo. My problems with it are similar to those of a bag of which we’ve spoken recently – the Jimmy Choo Metallic Hobo.
They obviously look nothing alike, but I can’t help but feel that this bag might be an afterthought as well. At they very least, it’s perilously under-designed and without much personality. There’s a bit of animal print, a bit of exotic leather, a bunch of suede…so how, exactly, did the folks at Dolce manage to make that boring? And not just boring, but also, possibly, a bit 90s. Particularly for it’s hefty price tag (almost two grand – egad!), this bag just isn’t cutting it. It’s too simple and lacks creativity. Next. Buy through Saks for $1995.
It’s really a shame that the one time Jimmy Choo makes a bag that doesn’t cost a bazillion dollars, it’s as bland and kinda cheap-looking. The Jimmy Choo Metallic Hobo has very little personality – one of its only points of visual interest is a simple exposed seam down the middle that holds together the two big pieces of leather. And it’s not even a contrast-stitched seam.
Perhaps its just the color, but does the leather look super thin and maybe a bit vinyl-like to anyone else? Maybe sorta like the PVC that they makes Target bags out of? Because that’s how it’s reading to me, and there is no situation in which that is a compliment to the bag. And if they’re going to have a bag this simple (read: boring) then they’ve really got to bring their A-game as far as leather goes, don’t you think? Gorgeous, thick, smooshy leather could have saved them and gotten a good review, particularly at this price point. But this bag looks entirely like an afterthought, and who wants to pay a grand for that? Buy through Saks for $1095.
Oh, Versace. Just when we start to get into the summer fashion blahs when nothing new is coming out, another one of their ridiculous bag appears and we have something to talk about yet again.
In the grand scheme of things, for this brand in particular, the Versace Leather Flap Hobo isn’t terrible. It can actually be used as a handbag. It will hold things. You can put it on your arm. Which in some cases, for Versace, is a progress. It’s a bit overdone, because of course it is, and it’s got some sort of red patent wings or something hanging off the front. They appear to serve no purpose, because of course they don’t. And this particular bag is both patent and regular leather, which is particularly hard when using red since the pigments render so differently on the two materials. They got fairly close, though. Kudos. I mean, not exactly the same, but not hugely different. But the gaudy gold hardware spells out their name in big block letters and the flaps are nonsensical as I already mentioned, and the price is insulting, because of course it is. It’s Versace. Buy through Saks for $2470.
When it comes to shoulder bags, particularly hobos, it’s fairly well-documented that I have a penchant for slouch. I like things soft and even a bit saggy when it comes to that type of purse, and my taste rarely deviates from that. When you look at handbags for the majority of your day, you come of with different theories of what makes a good bag and what doesn’t work for particular shapes, and while none of those ideas is monolithic, I rarely find myself digging something that deviates far from my own personal bag ideals. The Roger Vivier Faceted Python Hobo is one very, very notable exception however.
Vivier is not known for slouch or shapelessness, and this bag is a highly structural hobo that uses its panels to highlight the differences in the python skins used and the colors featured. I’m still on the fence about the colors used (I love the red and white, but would have preferred another bright to the beige/grey), but I love the structure and differentiation between the panels, and this bag may make more of a high-fashion statement than any that I have seen recently. Buy through Luisa Via Roma for â‚¬2900.
In general, I really don’t like so-called “neutral bags.” The leather has to be truly special, the design truly innovative and beautiful for me to look at one twice, and if it’s not, I bore really easily. My aversion is a result of the belief that there are so many bags out there made in so many beautiful colors, why would anyone choose one in a color that is supposed to, by definition, blend in and hide?
But when I do like a neutral, that neutral is almost always some version of pewter or gunmetal, and the Burberry Metallic Leather Hobo is a great example of that color. It’s not a bright silver at all – it has a lot of grey in it, but enough shine and innate glimmer to make it decidedly glam and metallic. I can see it going with almost anything, but I can’t imagine it blending in and hiding at all, as the “neutral” moniker would indicate. So if you’re going to do something neutral, please do something with at least a LITTLE BIT of a kick. Buy through Nordstrom for $1795.
The Diane von Furstenberg Stephanie Hobo is easily one of the most sought-after bags of the season, but there’s one thing lacking about it – good pictures on the manufacturer’s website! Because the designer’s handbag line is new and isn’t sold in many online stores, it’s been difficult to get a handle on what exactly the Stephanie looks like. Megs’ pictures have helped, but what about this elusive magenta color that DVF claims to make?
Well wonder no more! ShopBop has the medium Stephanie available in magenta, and while the site isn’t known for fantastic pictures, it’s much easier to get an idea of the color variation from the bag’s listing on their site. Oh, and what a color variation it is! It appears to include royal blue, purple, and the aforementioned magenta in the innovative leather links, and I absolutely love it. I prefer brights as neutral (as opposed to neutrals as neutrals, as with the gold Stephanie), so this is the version that I’d want hanging from my arm. Buy through ShopBop for $875.
Oh, how I wish the Salvatore Ferragamo Gathered Shoulder Bag came in a different color. I can’t do tan, it wouldn’t go with anything that I wear, but the bag itself is just SO beautiful. The gently gathered folds of soft, smooth leather look so completely touchable and drool-worthy that I may consider trying to find an outfit that this bag would go with. And then I would wear that outfit until the end of time, just so I could wear this bag every day.
Because not only does it look absolutely luxurious and beautiful, but it also seems like it would be a functional, useful bag to have that would wear well and become softer and more supple with time. An awesome, soft bag that will stand the test of time and might actually improve…how could you got wrong? If brown is a neutral you find yourself reaching for often, then definitely consider adding this bag to your wardrobe. Buy through Saks for $1490.
The first thing that I did when I saw the Alexander McQueen Fringe Hobo was try to imagine it in any color other than brown. Purple. Green. Orange. Anything. Because as it is, all brown and fringe-y and studded, it looks like it would be better suited for an old episode of Gunsmoke than the wardrobe of a fashionable, modern woman.
Sometimes, with a bag, individual characteristics are fine. I think fringe is kind of fun. A lot of people like brown. Studding is very popular recently. But then, when you take a lot of looks and try to combine them all on one bag, things go wrong, and that’s what happened here. This bag looks more theme-y than fashionable, and not particularly high-end. I’d wear it with a Halloween costume in a heartbeat, but I’m not sure how it would work with the wardrobe of McQueen’s average handbag customer. I normally think he’s a genius, but this bag misses the mark. Buy through Saks for $1995.
For some reason, I have yet to be able to find a Zac Posen handbag that I genuinely love. Posen has been a fashion wunderkind and It-Designer for several years now (probably so long that it means he’s probably no longer either a wunderkind OR an It-Designer), and I’ve liked his Ready-to-Wear collections in varying degrees since he showed up on my radar. What I’m not quite vibing, though, are his bags. He seems to try and incorporate some of his signature clothing techniques into his accessories, and someone may want to let him know that the two categories are not the same and require different design flourishes.
Take the Zac Posen Belyn Hobo, for example. I really like the python stripe down the middle; python and other exotics should be used in trim more often. What doesn’t entirely work, however, is the draping at the sides. Instead of looking purposeful, it kind of looks bunchy and awkward. I also wish the bag had more of a shape…although I suppose “loaf of bread” is a legitimate shape. Try harder, Zac – you gotta live up to your own hype. Buy through Bloomingdale’s for $1900.
Since Earth Day is upon us, let’s take a few minutes to think about what the future of eco-friendly fashion might be. Low-chemical tanning and hand-woven materials are all well and good, but there are a lot of smaller companies out there with new ideas and fresh takes on what exactly constitutes suitable handbag-making materials.
A company called English Retreads is pioneering the idea of taking used and recycled “vintage” rubber to make handbags with a tough, industrial edge. My favorite is the English Retreads Cruiser, a black hobo made out of reclaimed rubber from old inner tubes. It’s got a minimalist but edgy vibe to it, and the material makes it stand out from other bags. It’s certainly a far cry from the designer bags that you and I are familiar with, but it doesn’t lack style. Techniques and sourcing strategies like the ones used in this bag have yet to make their way into high-end bags, but things like these usually flow from a niche market to a more mainstream fascination, and you never know what may be around the corner from your favorite designer.
Buy through eBags for $49.99.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have posted this bag for one reason and one reason only: to demonstrate a leather-finishing effect that I truly and completely despise. Other than the quasi-shiny effect, I really like the Miu Miu Distressed Leather Hobo. The shape is good, the color is interesting and uncommon, and the handle detail is a nice, subtle touch. If it wasn’t for the infuriatingly terrible finish they put on the leather, I’d be all about this one.
Why in the world do designers EVER do this? It’s somewhere in Leather Effect Purgatory between regular and patent, and it doesn’t do a bag any favors. It mostly has one of the following effects: it makes the leather look like it’s not actually leather, it makes the leather look thin, or it makes the leather look stiff. What it almost ALWAYS does is make the bag look cheap – I see a lot of PVC bags at Target with identical finishes, and whenever I see something like this, that’s always what it brings to mind. A finish like this is also pretty much a guarantee that the bag won’t be soft to the touch. There are few things that you can do to a bag that I like less than what they’ve done to this one, and it’s a really shame – it could have been a winner. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $1050.