Not long ago, a friend who works for a major fashion brand asked me, out of the blue, which handbags designers I thought sold the best at department stores. For some reason, it was a question I had never quite thought about in those terms before; so many of the most sought-after accessories labels don’t retail through third parties that it’s hard to gauge where the rest of the pack ranks without solid facts and figures in front of me. Thinking about handbags while disregarding Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes (all of whom control their own retail outlets, even within department stores) seemed entirely foreign.

My best guesses at the time were Celine and Proenza Schouler. Those are the brands who get the most slavish response from fashion people, and I know from personal experience how hard it can be to put your hands on the Celine bag of your choice. As it turns out, I was right – Women’s Wear Daily reports that Celine and Proenza are still a huge highlight in an accessories market that has grown by double digits in the last year. Who else is popular? Some of the names might surprise you. (more…)

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but this morning, that’s exactly what we have to be. This is the kind of news you want to know as soon as possible, though, so that you have enough time to adjust, make your plans and complete any purchases that you were contemplating. Yep, we’re talking about a Louis Vuitton price increase. After the jump, we have all the info and a few suggestions of what you should scoop up before everything gets more expensive. (more…)

Anyone who’s opened a high-end fashion magazine in the recent past knows, those types of publications are focused on aesthetics to the near-complete exclusion of practical concerns. Style.com may be known as a website first and a magazine second (check out the print edition, though, it’s pretty fun), but it still follows that same fashion mag edict – form first, function second, if at all. Depending on the application, that ethos can either be fantastical or head-scratchingly odd.

The site recently released its top 10 lists for the season’s accessories, and its choice for The Best Bag of Fall 2012 struck me as the latter. This Fendi Crocodile Clutch maybe be a beautiful evening bag, but a great piece of functional design it is not. Box clutches never are, no matter how pretty they may be. Not only that, but this little evening bag isn’t even indicative of the season’s overall accessories trends. So what gives? (more…)

Yesterday I had the pleasure to tour the newly renovated Salvatore Ferragamo flagship store on Fifth Avenue prior to its official unveiling earlier today. Crafty workers were still busy putting finishing touches on the new decor to have it perfectly presentable for the next morning, but all chaotic last minute touches aside, it was easy to see that the redesign was worthy of a true Fifth Ave flagship.

Occupying an area of about 20,000 square feet, the new Ferragamo store now houses the brand’s largest retail space in the world. The store extends over two floors, the main floor catering to women, while the second floor is entirely devoted to men’s apparel, shoes and accessories.

Personally, I found the revamped flagship to be both characteristic of a luxury Italian brand, but at the same time providing a welcoming retail experience. Lots of walnut wood and luxurious Alcantara accents provide a warm environment, while dark oak and polished steel add modernity. Notably, I found the store to lack unnecessary gimmickry and distracting gadgets; your attention is quickly drawn to the minimalist shelves displaying the gorgeous product.

If you live in town or plan to visit New York City, I recommend you check out the new store and do some damage to your credit line. I myself am seriously considering popping up to Floor #2 and going for a custom suit.

There is always a heavy dose of absurdity in the world of designer luxury goods. We are talking about materialistic accessories, and what $1,000 is to one person, $1,000,000 is to the next. If you are one of the few people in this world who finds $11,000,000 to be a suitable price tag for the perfect laptop sleeve, then I have quite the treat for you.

Made of 8,800 diamonds, the sales pitch for this Diamond Laptop Sleeve sounds as serious as they come. CoverBee, the creator of this item, talks about the person who has everything deciding to cover their laptop with the most luxurious case ever. (more…)

Sure, we’ve all joked about snatching a gorgeous, outrageously expensive handbag and running for the hills, but who among us would actually steal something that wasn’t ours? Whether it’s your sense of morality or merely your pragmatic fear of being caught and imprisoned that keeps you from swiping handbags doesn’t really matter; the point is, handbags that cost as much as a car just don’t go missing that often, particularly from stores that employ large, suit-wearing guards who will tackle you into traffic in the middle of the Upper East Side.

Ralph Lauren’s gorgeous flagship boutique on East 79th Street (seriously, if you’ve never been, you have to see it) is one such store, and yet somehow, a woman walked in to the store in February and walked out with a $17,000 crocodile Ralph Lauren Ricky Bag, similar to the one pictured above, for which she had apparently not paid. Even though I live just a few blocks from the store, I’d like to say, for the record, that it wasn’t me. (more…)

The Council of Fashion Designers of America is a great organization – not only does it nurture young American design talent through grants and other programs, but it unites the American fashion industry behind the cause of fabulousness. Every year, the CFDA comes together to honor the creme de la creme américain, and it reserves one CFDA Award in particular for excellence in accessories. The group announced the 2012 nominees on Wednesday night, and you might recognize their work above. If not, we’ll fill you in after the jump and you can vote in our poll on who should win the prize! (more…)

An ad from one of Target’s previous designer collaborations

The fashion industry is always finding new ways to surprise, delight and confuse me (sometimes all at the same time, which might be the case today), but yesterday’s news from Women’s Wear Daily that Target, the suburban bastion of cheap leggings and toilet paper that we all know and love, would soon be moving into the high-end boutique business caught me particularly off guard. We all know Target for its now-discontinued line of Go! International collaborations with up-and-coming designers (although more collabs with established brands, like the one with Jason Wu, are forthcoming), but the megachain’s newest venture, The Shops by Target, takes the idea to the next level. Get ready for some swanky stores-within-stores. (more…)

Images via Target

These are the images we’ve been waiting to see for what seems like years (but has actually only been months) – the Jason Wu x Target lookbook is here! And for once, at long last, the handbags that have resulted from this collection aren’t utter crap. Leave it to Mr. Wu to finally do right by the accessories lovers in the audience.

The lookbook, which can be found in its entirety after the jump, features 16 full looks, 10 handbags and three cute square scarves. Some of the bags, like an oatmeal-colored canvas tote, are pretty standard, while a few of them (most notably a cream and black satchel and a north-south tote emblazoned with the image of the little black cat who inspired the collection) are standouts. The best part? Nothing in the collection will retail for more than $49.99. The collection launches at Target stores nationwide on February 5. (more…)

Image via Gawker

We know that Louis Vuitton is willing to sue anyone and everyone in order to make sure that its logo or name isn’t used in any ways of which it doesn’t approve; after all, the company sued Hyundai last year over the brief appearance of a monogrammed basketball in one of its commercials. The ball didn’t even have an “LV” on it, but that didn’t stop Vuitton from filing a trademark infringement complaint against the Korean carmaker. When it comes to trademark issues, LVMH is perhaps more steadfast and humorless than any other company on the planet.

The latest target in the crosshairs of the LVMH legal department is Warner Brothers, the production company behind The Hangover 2. The movie apparently contains some faux luggage that one of the characters refers to as real, which has Vuitton brass none too pleased. (more…)

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