Making an expensive-looking bag at an attainable price point is the eternal challenge of designing for a contemporary brand. Customers who are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a handbag are likely aware of what handbags that cost thousands look like, and brands are forever in competition with those ideal images. Sometimes the contemporary designers succeed, but often, the best they can hope for is a solid contemporary look. The Rebecca Minkoff Billy Shoulder Bag is the rare piece that manages to rise above those constraints and look genuinely expensive.
When I first scrolled past this bag on the New Arrivals page at Neiman Marcus, I assumed it was a Chloe piece, which is probably because that’s where its design inspiration appears to have originated, at least in part. (In several parts.) The thick tonal leather strap in particular harkens back to the shoulder straps from Chloe Fall 2012, as does the compact, streamlined shape of the bag itself.
The design isn’t quite as minimal, but if you’re looking for a strong look for less (and we’ve discussed how inexplicably expensive some of the best designs from that particular Chloe collection are), this Minkoff piece is definitely the way I’d go. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $350.