This past Saturday, I found myself on a bit of a walkabout. New York was rainy and grey all of last week, but for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, the sun shone brightly and the air was warm and it felt wrong not to be outside. Twenty blocks later, I looked up and saw that I was passing by the Upper East Side Mulberry boutique and couldn’t help but take a look inside.

Oryany Misia Large Flap Satchel, $398 via Neiman Marcus.

When you spend eight hours per day looking at handbags, there are certain price points that you get used to seeing ($595, $895, $1195, $1595 and so on) and it’s usually not hard to guess a price once you’ve seen a bag and know who designed it. I’m usually pretty accurate, and if I’m off, it’s never by much.

Sometimes I think that designing an eye-catching basic bag is the toughest thing to do in the accessories world. Not everyone wants to stand out with sequins, exotic skins or rhinestones, but even ladies who’d rather have a more demure option don’t want something generic. The CC Skye The Doctor Hyde Satchel does a fine job of finding the middle ground between those two extremes at a price point that many women can still stomach.

As we’ve discussed, python is a bonafide trend for Fall 2011. The recent runways were overwhelmed with every sort of snakeskin you can imagine in every color combination that you could ever want, but sadly, a lot of them were pretty mediocre. Brands seemed to be doing python for python’s sake without much regard for the situations in which the material looks its best, and that’s never more obvious than when you compare those pieces to something like the VBH Villager Python Tote.

I’ve already asked many questions of you guys today, which is probably not fair for a beautiful Friday in early spring, but I have just one more: Do white bags make you nervous? They make me very nervous, for a couple of reasons. First, I’m not a particularly careful person. If someone out there is going to have a little ketchup on her finger after lunch, that someone is going to be me.

It seems like every time I write about one of VBH’s gorgeous bags, I lament the fact that they’re so hard to come by online. I have a local boutique that carries a good selection of the brand’s popular envelope clutches, and our readers in major fashion capitals can surely find ways to access these bags, but for most people, VBH pieces are hard to find even if you do happen to have the large (and I do mean large) chunk of change you need in order to acquire one.

The luxury accessories market is crowded with seasoned competitors all vying for consumer attention (and consumer dollars), which can often make it well nigh impossible for a new handbag line to turn heads, particularly the heads of people whose job it is to look at handbags all day. (Ahem, yours truly.) Somehow, the Reed Krakoff Inside Out Leather and Snakeskin Tote managed to not only make me take a second look, but it made me do so by being inventive in a way that’s not only quite unique, but still totally subtle and functional at the same time.

At this point, I was pretty sure I had seen leather described every which way possible. Painted. Scuffed. Glazed. Distressed. Short of “hung over and in need of a bloody mary and an ibuprofen,” I didn’t think that any description of a leather treatment would ever leave me baffled, and yet Net-a-Porter’s line about “canvas-coated leather” on the 3.1 Phillip Lim Page Bag has me thoroughly confused.

Sometime’s a bag’s charms speak loudly and clearly through photos, but other times, you have to see a design in person to appreciate its subtle ways. The Loewe Amazona Bag, without a doubt, is part of the second group. I had been a nonbeliever in this particular purse for quite a while, mostly because starlets tend to carry the bimaterial versions that I always thought looked stuffy and dated, a perception which I still hold of that particular Amazona iteration, especially when one or both of the dominant colors is some variation on brown.

Balmain, French purveyor of clothes for rock stars and the models who spend their money, has not had great success in its meager attempts to create lust-worthy handbags. The clutches? They were bad. The messenger bags? Worse, if only because they were more expensive for the exact same schtick. But just in time for fashion to get sick of the glam military aesthetic, Balmain might have kinda-sorta gotten its handbag game together.

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