Despite the fact that Spring 2012 was kind of a down season for runway bags, there were still plenty of highlights that deserve to be noted. After all, in a season where Louis Vuitton gives you wall-to-wall exotics and Hermes reintroduces a long-shelved shoulder bag, things can’t really be that dreary, can they?
So here we have the ten best bags from the Spring 2012 show schedule, presented in alphabetical order. We picked only bags that appeared in major runway shows because those are the ones to which we have access at this point in the season. Once bag designers who didn’t have shows start sending out lookbooks, we’ll have lots more bags (and lists) to show you. Tell us which bags are your favorites in the comments, and let us know if we missed anything!
Bottega Veneta Crocodile Clutch
The color is the real story with this bag, and the yellow-undertones green and sharp structure give the exotic leather its requisite opportunity to shine.
Derek Lam Inlaid Snakeskin Top Handle
Several brands, including Marni, offered pieced leather bags in retro-modern geometric patterns on the runway, but this combination of various textures and colors of snakeskin was my favorite. This bag will work as a neutral, but the jade accents make it much more special.
Diane von Furstenberg Multitextured Shoulder Bag
This design will surely have a clever name once it hits stores, and I can’t wait to see all the different color and texture variations that the shape will have. For now, though, this neutral mixture that was buried in DVF’s excellent show is a very sharp and wearable option.
Hermes Passe Guide Shoulder Bag
As it turns out, this stunner from the Hermes show isn’t a new design at all. The Hermes Passe Guide design dates back to the 1960s but hasn’t been produced in decades, and now Christophe Lemaire has revived it to great effect. The heavy side hardware distinguishes it from other Hermes designs, and it fits a very convenient aesthetic gap in the venerable French brand’s leather lineup.
Louis Vuitton Crocodile Duffel
By now, everyone’s seen the dozen or so modified Speedys in powdery pastel crocodile that graced the runway at the Louis Vuitton show, but what about this slightly more modern bicolor duffel version? It also came in a darker blue, and I prefer it to the more traditional Speedy.
Marchesa Crystal Embellished Minaudiere
This list would be incomplete without an evening bag, and this blue-grey Marchesa stunner was easily the best runway box clutch that I saw this season.
Marni Woven Houndstooth Satchel
The Marni show was full of unexpected woven bags that I adored, but this one is even more interested because it’s not just any old check pattern that the strips of leather create. Instead, they combine to form an intricate black-and-blue houndstooth, which looks solid from a distance but is much more interesting up close. Because the pattern is a recognizable classic, you’ll still be able to wear it forever.
Prada Frame Tote
Prada? Check. Classic shape? Check. Throwback 50s structure? Check. Amazing color? Check. I don’t know how to make it any clearer.
Proenza Schouler Canteen Bag
This may turn out to be the controversial pick of the group, but I loved the mini bags that Proenza Schouler showed with a few looks in its collection. Although the tan version is very nice, this one made of white and turquoise leather looks like the bag version of a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, which is incredibly appropriate for the season’s midcentury trends.
Victoria Beckham Structured Day Clutch
I’m perhaps as surprised as anyone to be putting Victoria Beckham on this list, but I love the self-assured structure of this clutch so much that I can’t help it. This is the kind of day bag that you carry to a business lunch when you want to look effortlessly professional. After all, what signals to others that you’ve got it all together better than a clutch used during the waking hours?