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. And that’s where I saw the Mulberry Alexa Bag in this brilliant green; it very nearly came home with me. (more…)

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. Until I saw the Oryany Misia Large Flap Satchel, that is. (more…)

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.

The metal bars at the top of the tote remind me a lot of a Tod’s bag from Fall 2010, but that bag wasn’t a huge enough hit for me to automatically assume that it was the inspiration for that touch or for this bag to seem unoriginal. Plus, it’s not like that Tod’s tote was the first bag in the history of accessories to feature such a detail – I’m willing to let it slide. Maybe. Well, more accurately, I’m willing to convince myself that it doesn’t bother me because I like this bag (and its price point) quite a bit. (more…)

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.

VBH is a brand well known for restrained luxury, and every inch of this design typifies that look. The python looks lush and textured instead of the flat, glazed snakeskin that we saw frequently during the fall shows, and the neutral color allows the exotic beauty of the skin to take center stage instead of requiring it to compete with multiple colors and design ideas. But if you want a look this refined, you have to be willing to pay the price – literally. (more…)

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. I try, but I’m just not detail-oriented. Second, I wear a lot of dark clothes. Dark clothes mean dye transfers when you’re dealing with light leather. Third, I don’t think twice about putting my bags on the ground when necessary. They’re bags, they’re meant to be used!

Even considering all that, I’m still totally smitten with the Chloe Madeline Runway Satchel. Graphic white and minimalism go together like peanut butter and jelly, although perhaps I shouldn’t use a food metaphor with such a pristine bag; I can almost see the grape Smuckers fingerprints now… (more…)

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.

But now, with a few clicks of a mouse button, you too can have bags like the VBH Brera Double Zip Satchel. Look at it this way: It’s not nearly as much as a Birkin, and in my very humble opinion, VBH makes the best Birkin-alternatives out there. (more…)

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. When being different usually also means rendering a piece unwearable or unusable to most of the buying public, that’s quite a design feat indeed. (more…)

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. How can you coat a bag in something that is, by its very definition, not a liquid? (more…)

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.

But now that I’ve had a chance to see the leather versions of this bag in person at one of the few US retailers who stock the bags in-store (Jeffrey in Atlanta, in case anyone is looking for a place to get one), I have to say that my mind is completely changed. The simple perfection of the design reminded me of Valextra, and the quality of leather reminded me of Hermes. You’ll pay a pretty penny for one of these bags, but it just might be worth it. (more…)

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.

The Balmain Glitter Top Handle may not be a great handbag, but it’s a very Balmain one, which rights most of the wrongs with the company’s previous accessories designs. Not only were the bags not particularly cute, but they didn’t have any of the edge or joie de vivre of your average Balmain piece. (more…)

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