I love Prada and hate “rustic” things, so you can imagine the cognitive dissonance I feel when I gaze upon the Prada Saffiano Embroidered Shoulder Bag. With a different kind of embellishment, I’d probably be all over a bag of this size, shape and structure from one of my favorite brands. As it is, I’m caught halfway between wondering if it will grow on me or if this bag’s as much as a prairie craft project gone wrong as it seems like it is right now.

For a brand likely best known for its sedate, durable leather totes, Prada takes a ton of chances with seasonal embellishments. Bags with human faces on them are headed for the brand’s stores come spring 2014, and resort is full of Hawaiian prints, as well as a few bags with a more continentally western flare like this one. While I appreciate the heavy detail and cultural references at play in this design, the finished product just isn’t my speed. I’ve been known to reverse a negative stance on Prada designs in the past, though, so perhaps I’ll feel different in a few weeks.

Are you into this bag, or not so much? Let us know in the comments or pick up this piece for $2,700 via Neiman Marcus.

My 90s heroine Claire Danes was recently spotted walking her adorable dog WeeGee in Soho, NYC with a Prada Saffiano Cuir Open Promenade Bag and a diaper bag of unknown origin. Her hat seems totally appropriate for the utterly dreary weather we experienced in NYC this weekend; unfortunately it didn’t help disguise her from the paps at all. Claire is a long-time Prada loyalist, she’s been wearing/carrying Prada for as long as I’ve been reading glossy fashion mags. You can pick up Claire’s luxe leather tote for $2,390 at Neiman Marcus.

Claire is, of course, extremely well known for her “ugly cry faces,” i.e. superb acting skills, but this face she’s making here seems to be here default “Oh no, paparazzi!” face – shock, mixed with slight horror, and an obvious dose of sudden self-consciousness. Such powers of expression! Sadly, as much as I loved every cry face she ever made in the 1990s, I have not yet seen a single episode of Homeland. I can only stomach so many hour-long dramas at a time.

As we’re putting together features for our much beloved “The Many Bags of…” series, the long-term bag-carrying habits of certain celebs are always brought to light. Case in point: “The Many Bags of Jennifer Garner” perfectly illustrated Jennifer Garner’s almost exclusive preference for neutrals. But, stars are human, and they’re allowed to change it up a bit every now and then. Here’s Jennifer visiting the Jimmy Kimmel show, carrying a bright aqua blue and red checkered Prada Vichy Check Bowler Bag. This bag certainly ranks as one of Jennifer’s boldest bag choices, and if you love it just as much as she does, you can currently snatch it up for $1,650 at Saks.

Also, let me just set the record straight right here: this is just an awkward angle of Jennifer in a particularly slouchy high-low sweater – JG is NOT pregnant again, I double-checked. She looks beautiful in these pics, but the slightly startling width of her sweater here made me do a double-take as well.

Sure, sure, Miranda Kerr always looks fabulous when she steps outside the house, right? Why do we bother? I’ll tell you why we bother – because she always looks fabulous in an entirely exciting way, and she’s always clad in designer wares from head to toe. Here she is out doing supermodel things in NYC, carrying a pale pink Prada Pyramid Frame Satchel. It’s proof positive that pale bags are indeed on their way to becoming a huge trend, just as we foretold earlier in the week. You can get Miranda’s bag in black for $3,150 at Neiman Marcus.

Miranda carries a lot of Prada and Miu Miu, which makes sense, because she’s walked in their shows, appeared in their ad campaigns, etc. (In other words, she gets a steep discount.) Take a look at how Miranda paired her pale Prada bag with that bold, graphic print dress and cobalt blue suede pumps. Unusual? Yes. Genius?! Perhaps! If you’d like to study her style further, here’s a little required reading: “The Many Bags of Miranda Kerr”, and “The Many Bags of Miranda Kerr, Part 2″.

Sometimes feminism and the fashion industry find themselves at odds, but Miuccia Prada has been dutifully doing her part for years to demonstrate that the two can peacefully coexist, and, what’s more, fashion can actually act in service of female equality and women’s rights. For Prada Spring 2014, she chose to do that in a somewhat literal way – she commissioned pieces from six artists, all of which depict women’s faces, and recreated them in her show space and on many of the items of clothing themselves, including the bags.

The painted bags are totally striking and easily my favorite pieces from the collection, but if you prefer something slightly less literal, the spring is full of structured, heavily compartmentalized satchels that harken back to the 1960s. Perhaps that’s a pointed choice; after all, the 60s were the era that women’s liberation really caught fire, at least in the US, and it feels pretty subversive to see models wearing modern street art and athletic-inspired footwear carry bags in shapes that my grandmother would recognize. I only wish that Prada’s show space had allowed photographers a more straight-on view of the bags themselves. Check out what we can see of the collection below.

[Photos via Vogue.com]

Don’t ask me how all this started.

I’m a longtime camo-hater and have admitted as much when writing about the enormous fall trend for the print a couple of times in the recent past. A talented designer interpreting even something I hate is enough to make me take a second look, though, and for fall, tons of talented designers took on camo. My opinion softened under the weight of all those camouflage options, and then when I spotted the Prada Camo-Print Soft Saffiano Tote, it caved entirely. I’m in love. (more…)

With me, Prada gets the benefit of the doubt. The brand and its designer, Miuccia Prada, have earned it – with every collection, Prada is saying something, questioning something, trying to force us to think a little bit harder about our assumptions on fashion, beauty and womanhood. I want to believe that the Prada Fall 2013 Runway Handbags are trying to send me some kind of message that I’m just not getting, but instead, I think these might be a rare true dud for Prada.

That was my instinct back when most of these bags debuted on the Fall 2013 runway in Milan, and now that they’re available for pre-order at Saks, my gut reaction hasn’t changed. These smaller versions of the runway weekender-bowler bags aren’t quite as awkwardly a-proportional as their catwalk cohorts, but the ultra-long handles culminated in too-low handle attachements still feel like a not-quite-true-to-life artist’s rendering of what a bowler bag would look like. Maybe that’s the message, though. If it is, I’m not sure I’m interested in it. If you are, check out the most important pieces from the collection after the jump or shop the full selection via Saks.

Here’s gorgeous Glee star Naya Rivera, headed into a photo shoot for 5th season promos, carrying a Prada Saffiano Lux Tote. I respect this NYC level of dedication to black on a sunny summer day in LA – towering black wedges, black jumpsuit, black shades and a classic Prada tote – it’s a sleek, if slightly gothic, look, given the ocean and palm tree backdrop. You can pick up this bag for $2,100 at Neiman Marcus.

Naya has had her fair share of endorsement deals as a result of her Glee success, but aside from nibbling on the big red M&M, and making with the pretty for Neutrogena, she surprisingly hasn’t done much acting work other than Glee as of late. But with a few of her costars jumping ship, she might be seeing a little more screen-time next season.

Miuccia just gets me, man. I should just sign my entire wardrobe budget over to her, between Prada and Miu Miu. I just bought a pair of Prada shoes earlier this week (after initially going shopping to scout out a pair of Miu Mius), and now I’m scheming to making one of these Prada Mini Bags my next big purchase. There’s something about the simple, traditional lines of these bags, miniaturized for more casual carry, that makes me see stars. But in a good way.

I’ve wanted a Prada Saffiano Lux Tote for a long time, but the bag never seemed like it would be the right fit for my lifestyle, mainly because riding public transportation and hoofing it around in NYC, in my mind, requires at least a very generous shoulder strap, if not a crossbody option. Over the past two years, that’s kept me away from buying a lot of bags that I otherwise love, including several Pradas. Now, with these mini versions (which are a big trend for a lot of brands, we’ll have you know), you don’t have to worry about carrying something bulky from the crook of your elbow. This is yet another trend that Celine started, but I’m very happy its spread to lots of other brands.

Prada Mini Saffiano Lux Tote
$1,650 via Neiman Marcus

Prada Mini Saffiano Lux Tote

Prada Saffiano Vernice Promenade Crossbody Bag
$1,570 via Neiman Marcus

Prada Saffiano Vernice Promenade Crossbody Bag

Prada Saffiano Studded Mini Zip Crossbody
$850 via Neiman Marcus

Prada Saffiano Studded Mini Zip Crossbody

Prada Small Saffiano Promenade Bag
$1,870 via Neiman Marcus

Prada Small Saffiano Promenade Bag

With the furious din of bold trends that have swept through fashion in the past few seasons – brights! neons! pastels! exotics! colorblocking! fur! embellishments of all kinds! – it feels positively refreshing to see the clean-lined neutrals that are coming forth for Pre-Fall and Fall 2013. I’m not sure about any of you, but I need a palate cleanser something fierce, and a black-and-white bag seems like just the way to get it. In our latest edition of Look for Less, both Prada and 3.1 Phillip Lim provide sharp-looking options.

Both these bags feature the same boxy shape and spare, center-stripe pattern, but the less-expensive Lim bag provides a bit of slouch and a more modernist feel with its soft leather and black hardware. The higher-priced Prada option gives you what will likely be a more long-term durable bag, what with the stiff, rugged saffiano leather and black leather covering the wear-prone corners. With gold hardware, the look is also a bit more classic and will likely appeal to a wider swath of consumers. Which do you prefer?

3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Hour Bicolor Bag
$795 via Neiman Marcus

3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Hour Bicolor Bag

Prada Bicolor Saffiano Zip Tote
$1,960 via Neiman Marcus

Prada Saffiano Bicolor Zip Tote

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