Satchels

Page 2

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…)

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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…)

For Dolce & Gabbana, the flap satchel has become something of a brand signature. We’ve all seen the Miss Sicily in everything from allover sequins to knitted wool, and now the Dolce & Gabbana Miss Rosa Satchel is here to bring some lightness to your heavy winter wardrobe.

This bag is technically a Pre-Spring 2011 piece and therefore won’t arrive until around the first of the year, but as long as you live in the Northern Hemisphere, that’s still plenty of time to pair it with winter knits and and dark colors. Just don’t put it anywhere near your dark-wash skinny jeans unless you want the entire back side to turn blue. (Not that I know this from experience or anything… Of course not… Who would be silly enough to do such a thing?) (more…)

Dolce & Gabbana, the perennial providers of bustier tops and leopard print, is probably not the first brand that springs to mind when you think of wear-to-work accessories. When I think of wearing the brand’s clothes, the kinds of situations I picture usually involve skintight pencil skirts and very posh VIP clubs.

With the Dolce & Gabbana Cervo Doctor Bag, the signature sexiness is hidden on the inside in order to provide an exceptionally functional and ever-so-slightly conservative bag for a working woman. Save the leopard dress for nighttime, but this bag is just as comfortable in the daylight as the brand’s sexiest clothing is after dark. (more…)

Despite any fun that I might have had at Versace’s expense in the past, I really, really want the brand to get through its growing pains and come out the other side making beautiful accessories. Few labels have the kind of global name recognition that Versace enjoys, and it would make the accessories market as a whole much richer for Versace to find its voice and become a real player in the handbag game. If it keeps making bags like the Versace Hilary Satchel, there’s hope for the brand yet.

Instead of the over-the-top, mismatched styling that we’ve seen from the brand in the past, this bag’s design has been edited down to just the parts necessary to keep some of the Versace attitude. Most of that comes by way of the round hardware motif that dots the front of the bag, but it doesn’t distract at all from the beautifully textured and glazed purple leather underneath. Instead of having multiple colors, patterns and types of hardware compete with each other, this bag’s elements all work work together. (more…)

Recently I took issue with some of Chloe’s Fall 2010 runway bags, but the brand has somehow managed to redeem itself in my eyes in one fell swoop. Get on the bandwagon now, because the Chloe Cary Satchel has a ton of it-bag potential.

Because of the distinctive detailing around the bottom zippers, I could see this satchel being turned into lots of other bag shapes – hobos, totes, maybe even a mini crossbody. Since that appears to be a prerequisite for Chloé to continue making a bag in multiple season, I think we may be seeing the Cary bags for quite some time. I, for one, wouldn’t mind that at all. (more…)

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