Last week I got ready for the day a bit earlier than usual, hailed a cab and headed down to Soho. As the car pulled onto Mercer Street, I saw a line on the sidewalk longer than I anticipated (by about 150 people). This was the line I was about to stand in.

It was sample sale time. (more…)

As you guys might have surmised at this point, our coverage here tends to be pretty focused. We have a niche and we dedicate ourselves to it. On special occasions, though, we spill beyond our normal borders to explore what happens outside of handbags. Mother’s Day is on Sunday, and because fashion and style are intensely embedded in the mother-daughter relationship, we wanted to show a little gratitude to the women who have shaped us more than anyone else.

Below, we’ll share some of our favorite things about our moms, and we hope you’ll join us in the comments. (more…)

I feel like a hypocrite, because when anyone asks me about carrying something fragile or light-colored, I always tell them that bags are meant to be worn – and they are. But I have to be honest, when it comes to some of my favorite luxury bags, I’m afraid to carry them. It’s not every bag in my collection, but there are a few special ones that I tend to hold off on carrying for what I deem “special occasions.” They’re bags I’d never take on a plane or to run errands or for any form of everyday use. I tuck these bags into their dust bags and boxes after I use them and only turn to them when I think I can carry them and treat them nicely. (more…)

[Editor's Note: We have a lot of silly conversations about bags in the PurseBlog offices, both out loud and via GChat. Starting today, we'll be giving you an occasional glimpse of what it's like to work inside PurseBlog and have your water cooler chit-chat overtaken by handbags.]

Megs: i feel like you’d like the purple one!

Amanda: haha, it’s a liiiiiiittle Hot Topic

but i do need some purple plaid

hahahaha

if it didn’t have the silver studs it would be perfect

yeah the studs are a problem

i feel like we could pull them out

but then there would maybe be holes

yes

we could weave twizzlers in there

for a snack later

that would be a delicious solution

i feel like we should post this on PB

The future has arrived for Coach, and at least for the moment, it comes in the form of a shiny new website, full of lots of monster-sized product images and new, easier navigation for shoppers looking for that perfect bag. It’s been a long time coming for the brand, whose e-commerce setup has lately felt a bit stale in comparison to department stores’ sites and other online retailers, many of whom carry Coach bags. This new, shopper-friendly design definitely puts the brand on the right track, but it also made us wonder – why do so many designers have such terrible websites?

As someone who spends a fair portion of her life visiting the various online outposts of brands both low and high, I can say with confidence that very, very few of them get it right. Some of the biggest brands in the world make it incredibly difficult to find information on a particular product, and even when it’s there, it’s often hidden behind walls of buggy flash graphics, non-intuitive menus and lots of information about things like the brand’s latest ad campaigns, which most shoppers don’t care about at all. As beautiful as the new season’s supermodel of choice may be, I certainly didn’t go to a brand’s website to admire her. If you eventually do find the piece you’re looking for, there’s no guarantee that the images of it will be helpful, the information about it complete or the opportunity to purchase it even available.

I understand that not only do designers have an image to hold up, but they also want to hold on to an air of exclusivity that can be challenging to maintain through the impersonal world of online shopping. Requiring feats of e-strength doesn’t seem to be the best way to keep out the riff-raff, though, and most brands would do well to take a page from Coach. The new site’s big, beautiful images make the products look expensive and desirable, but you also get plenty of angles and a shot of a model holding the bag for reference. Who says pretty can’t be practical? The new site also features street style images by The Sartorialist, images of celebs carrying Coach and the brand’s current campaigns, but none of that content gets in the way of customers easily navigating to the products they’re interested in and becoming more educated about their purchases. You feel like you’re in the world of Coach, but you don’t feel like you’re being imprisoned there, never to return to the regular Internet.

Ball’s in your court, Everyone Who Is Not Coach. (I’m looking at you, Louis Vuitton.) In the meantime, shop the brand new Coach.com now.

Coach.com New Website Design Coach.com New Design Results Page

As quickly as it snuck up on us, Fashion Week has left. It happens every season – fashion week comes and goes in the blink of an eye, and we want to be able to share a bit of the madness that we experience with you. Through our posts, you get a chance to hear about the collections, but with the instantaneous nature of the Internet, you can easily watch the shows and follow along yourself. What I want to share is what it’s really like to be part of the industry and at the shows. Amanda has covered a behind-the-scenes look before, and now I want to share a Fashion Week postmortem.

1. It’s work, a lot of work. People forget that while the fashion industry is made out to be glamorous, and movies like Devil Wears Prada tell the audience that “everybody wants to be us”, this is a job. The majority of people who attend shows are there for work, to watch the show and report on it to their respective outlets, plan editorial shoots or plot what department stores and boutiques will stock on their shelves. The shows are crazy packed, and there is a lot of time spent moving from venue to venue and trying to get to your seat. The Internet gives everyone immediate access to the majority of the shows, so we have to worry about how we’ll report on something everyone has already seen.

2. It’s exhausting. It seems like I’m complaining, and I don’t mean to, but Fashion Week really is tiring. On the morning of Day 5, it typically hits me, and it hits me hard. We go all day everyday, with shows every hour followed by lunch meetings and dinner parties and after-parties. Most people are running on very little sleep, and Day 5 is also when everyone becomes cranky. Mix cranky people with hungry people (so many fashion people are on a diet at all times), and now you’ve got a whole lot of attitudes in a relatively small venue together. On top of that, the lack of sleep makes everyone more susceptible to illness – what people not-so-affectionally call the “fashion week flu” runs rampant.

3. Being a model isn’t easy. No, I am not a model, but being backstage at shows and able to watch their run-thrus and see them in action has shown me their lives aren’t all rainbows and butterflies. Yes, they are blessed with great genes that make them freakishly tall and thin, but they have to work at it. These girls are under scrutiny at all times to look a certain way. At the end of a stressful day of shows, I plop on my couch at home and order in a carb-filled dinner with a massive dessert – models don’t generally have that luxury.

Also, almost no models are paid like Heidi Klum or Karlie Kloss. Many girls aren’t paid much (if anything), but much is expected of them. They go from one casting call to the next hoping to be chosen so that maybe their star will rise and they’ll start commanding bigger checks. They wear uncomfortable clothes for many shows but the shoes? These girls are put in some of the most uncomfortable shoes, which often aren’t anywhere close to the right size, they’re expected to walk in front of thousands of people and photographers as if they’re in a pair of slippers. Us normals like to pretend being a model is easy, it’s not.

4. Sometimes I feel more like I’m at the circus than Fashion Week. I’ve not been in the industry that long, but I understand why fashion vets are annoyed with the new blogging world. Each season, the amount of “photographers” that wait outside the tents and venues multiples, as does the number of bloggers and other randoms desperately trying to be photographed. You know the pictures you see of people wearing the most random, awkward, and uncomfortable looking outfits? Well, those people don’t just randomly get snapped, they are TRYING to get photographed, as often as possible. In fact, they walk around quite slowly and talk their friends and boyfriends into taking their photos in hopes of tricking the real photographers into thinking they’re noteworthy.

Once you get in the tents, it doesn’t end. It’s just more photographers and more people begging to be photographed. This continues happening right up until the show begins, and it makes navigating the venue and enjoying the experience frustrating. Trust me, most editors I speak to despise this part of fashion week. Generally, we talk about it while we’re corralled behind barricades, waiting to be let into the next space. It’s kind of like being cattle.

5. We complain, but the majority of us know how lucky we are. I’d be lying if I said there aren’t times I want to pinch myself. Growing up, I had no idea that I’d be in the high-paced and extravagant fashion industry. In fact I spent my college days pre-med. Now it’s my life and I consider myself extremely lucky. I won’t deny it, the shows are fun. When a designer invites you to a show it is an honor; he or she is sharing his or her hard work with you and hopes to have you share it with others. Watching well-known models strut the catwalk in designer wares in the same room as high-powered fashion editors and celebrities will never gets old for me.

[Editor's Note: This piece was first published in September 2012, but we thought that it was worth revisiting today, on the eve of yet another New York Fashion Week.]

The official start of New York Fashion Week is a mere 48 hours away, and as always, we’ll be covering the best bags and accessories that come down the runway at Lincoln Center and beyond. (Looking for shoes? Check out the coverage at our sister site, TalkShoes.) Today, though, I’d like to give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at what it’s like to be a rank-and-file fashion person working the shows from the editorial side of the runway.

For famous fashion editors at the very top of the industry, Fashion Week is busy, but just as glamourous as you’d expect. For everyone else, it’s a little bit different, but still about as much fun as you can have atop a pair of five-inch heels. The parties and the swag are as good as you think they are, but actually attending the shows is a bit different (and a bit more absurd) than you might expect. After the jump, I’ll break down what it’s really like to spend a week at Lincoln Center. (more…)

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