As we all have learned, or at least surmised, by now, black and industrial are two of the biggest trends for fall. They’re also easily the most widely embraced trends that I can recall in recent memory, in terms of the number of designers buying in to the look.
You know, I didn’t really expect Yves Saint Laurent to go along with the stud trend. Their bags are so consistently understated and sleek that I didn’t think they’d subscribe to such an edgy and obvious trend, but I was wrong, and very happily so.
The Yves Saint Laurent Studded Satchel is a trendy bag with a decidedly refined touch. (more…)
It seems like all I had to do is complain that I was feeling a little blah about the Stam, and Marc Jacobs rose to the occasion. First we got the studded-yet-understated Marc Jacobs Stardust Stam, and now he’s brought us the not-at-all-understated Marc Jacobs New York Rocker Stam. Although I’m not sure that this sequined-n-shiny satchel is best suited to New York – in fact, I think it might be more at home in Las Vegas.
And I mean that in the nicest way possible – I love this bag so much that I could just drool all over it. The name of the last Stam I reviewed reminded me of Sin City, and now this; does anyone else think that maybe Marc should consider doing a glizty, glamorous Las Vegas-inspired collection? Sequins would be the perfect place to start, and I love the ones on this bag because they’re not as expected as sequin-covered bags usually are. They’re small enough that at a distance, they blend together to form a shimmery, shiny whole instead of a bag covered in sewn-on crap, and the silver, off-center, abstract pattern at the bottom gives the bag a modern edge that helps it avoid the grandma-bag pitfall of multitudinous sequins. Viva Las Vegas! Er, uh, New York! Buy through Saks for $1995.
I’ve said it before and I’ll happily say it again: Chloe uses some of the most drool-worthy leather of any brand on the market. It’s thick, it’s soft, and it manages to convey both of those characteristics both in person and in photos. It is often also arm-achingly heavy, but sometimes we have to suffer for fashion, ok? I know my Stam has given me a sore shoulder once or twice…
Anyway! So we’re talking about the Chloe Marlow Top Handle, right? Right. And it’s great, I love it. The grey leather looks so supple that I want to reach through the computer, yank it out, and rub it against my face. But that’s not even my favorite part. What makes the whole thing is the unexpected brown belt that circles the top, giving the bag a vintage, New England sort of look. It looks like the bag that your college TA would carry, if your college TA was the most fashionable person in the history of grad students. Buy through Luisa Via Roma for $1558.
I’ve always been a big fan of black. When I was 5, I embarrassed my parents at my kindergarten entrance interview by telling the school counselor that my favorite color was black (apparently the counselor found that a little odd for a little girl). It still ranks pretty high on my list of favorites, and I’ve enjoyed seeing all the black bags that have been coming out for fall (it’s easily the season’s most prominent trend). But sometimes it’s nice to have a palate cleanser in between courses – the juxtaposition helps you appreciate what you’re getting. And what’s a better palate cleanser for somber black leather than glossy hot pink?
Which is exactly what the Dolce & Gabanna Miss Sicily Convertible Bag is. The structure of the bag combined with the bright color reads a bit, uh, mature to me, but it’s hard to hate on a bag that’s so relentlessly cheerful in the face of trends that are so strongly the opposite. I don’t love it and probably wouldn’t buy it or wear it, but I can appreciate it for what it is and what it’s trying to do. Buy through Saks for $1695.
I love tiny, sophisticated bags that make a statement. Kind of like Alice Cullen, who is petite and graceful but packs a mean punch (that’s for you, fellow Twilight fans). That is why I was so excited when I saw the Alexander McQueen Clover Medium Satchel. Key word: medium, but my eyes glossed over that and I only saw the stock photograph, imagining how gorgeous the little bag must look in person. Then I clicked on over to the main page and I realized that this is actually quite a large bag. Oh, looks can be so deceiving. Though my hopes for the tiny, tiny bag were dashed, I came around and rather like this bag despite its size.
I like the brazenness of the patent leather combined with the simple clover design, and I’m a big fan of the huge golden plate in the center. Some may think it obnoxious, but I think it makes the bag a little more alluring, mostly because your eye is just drawn to that bright spot. This McQueen works that plate much better than the Alexander McQueen Clover Hobo that we reviewed in May. Finally, I can’t resist a bag with feet, even if that bag is almost as big as I am. Buy through Zappos for $1,899.
In the case of the Valentino Catch Satchel, I don’t even really want to talk about the bag. It’s kind of boring and I feel like it’s already been done a thousand times, and the patent black doesn’t feel particularly current in a season when thick, matte biker leather has become the thing to have.
What I want to talk about it the clasp (is it a clasp? Actually I don’t think it is) on the front. It’s a crystal-encrusted Valentino logo, and the part of me that has somewhat questionable (ok, tacky) taste absolutely loves it. And then I wonder – why don’t more designers do hardware like this? It gives the front of the bag a shimmer that normal, shiny silver hardware could never replicate, and it’s delightfully whimsical and silly-feeling (and I mean silly in a good way, I assure you). So maybe they should try again with the bag, and leave the super sparkly stuff on the front like it is. Even if it’s questionably tasteful. Buy through Nordstrom for $1895.
Ever look at a bag and just think, “Uh, no,” before you can even really decide why you reacted like that? That was the case when I laid eyes upon the Dolce & Gabbana Miss Lexington Satchel. On the surface, there’s nothing obviously offensive about this bag – it’s not covered in glitter or tie-dye or massive amounts of fringe. In fact, it’s fairly subdued and, with some slight tweaks, could be a great everyday bag.
But the proportion is the problem. Instinctively, you know it when you look at the bag, because your brain is programmed to pick up on it. It takes a second longer to consciously realize when you’re being apprehensive, but the size and shape of this bag in relation to the size and shape of its handle is just…off. The handle is too narrowly set and would be better if it was a bit longer and attached a bit further toward the edges of the bag (and it also looks like intestines, but that’s a different issue entirely). Or, alternately, if the handle was as it is now and the bag wasn’t quite so wide in relation to its height. I’d opt to change the handle, though, since I don’t like its wrinkly, shrinky-dink current incarnation. Then this bag would be fairly awesome. Buy through Nordstrom for $2150.
It’s here, it’s here, IT’S HERE!!!! The Alexander Wang Coco Duffel has decided to finally, FINALLY grace us with its presence in online stores after months of rabid anticipation from handbag enthusiasts. The bag first came to our attention months and months ago when one of its first iterations was worn repeatedly by Mary-Kate Olsen, who had obviously been gifted with a very, very early version of the bag by the designer.
And it was a brilliant move on Alexander Wang‘s part – I can’t remember another bag that’s been so desperately hunted since the It-Bag heyday of Fall 2005. It disappears online virtually as soon as it’s posted, so the ShopBop link I’m about to give you may not work when you click on it. If you want the bag, though, bookmark it – that’s where you’ll be able to find it when the store restocks, as they have several times in the past day or two.
As far as the bag’s design goes, I adore it – the leather is plush and soft-looking with a ton of texture and the multitudes of gold studs that cover the bottom are both hilariously irreverent and really cool-looking. It’s not for everyone, by any stretch of the imagination, but bags with a lot of style and personality never are. Plus, for an It-Bag, the price is really reasonable; he could be charging twice as much and a lot of people would still be clamoring for it. Buy through ShopBop for $850.
I make a lot of fun of Versace, and it’s for a lot of good reasons. They make largely unattractive handbags in weird shapes and with odd stuff stuck to them, and then they charge prices so high that they verge on insulting. They’re not a brand that’s famous for their quality handbags, nor are they widely carried by tastemakers or celebrities, so it’s hard to say why they think they can get away with such ridiculous designs and pricing. They end up in the sale section a lot.
And maybe, just maybe, someone at Versace has been paying attention, because the Versace Croc Embossed Satchel is decidedly unoffensive. It’s not the best bag I’ve ever seen, but it has a structure that subscribes subtly to the recent origami bag trend without being unnecessarily complicated. The structure is classic Versace, but it lacks the obvious, gaudy branding and enormous, shiny gold hardware that have characterized so many of the brand’s less-successful bag ideas. The color is gorgeous, as is the variation of the croc-stamped leather, and it all comes together in a reasonable, tasteful way. The best part, though, is the price. It’s still too high, but compared to some of the brand’s recent price points, it’s fairly unoffensive. Buy through Nordstrom for $1770.
I said not too long ago that I was experiencing some ennui in regards to the Marc Jacobs Stam, but as it turns out, I was wrong. That’s right, I’m a big, fat liar. Because I’m in love with the Stam again, and this time it’s because of the Marc Jacobs Stardust Stam. If this is an It-Bag gone wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
Not only do I love the name (it reminds me of Las Vegas, a city which I am newly obsessed with thanks to The Hangover), but the updates are subtle enough to retain the charm of the original Stam while still being interesting enough to catch the eye of any handbag fan that’s familiar with the line. Studs are a somewhat trendy bag accent, but the ones here are small enough to not overpower an already iconic design. Plus, there’s the color – a beautiful, bright teal that will add a pop of color to any drab winter outfit. I’m usually not much for gold hardware, but I still think that it’s the only way to go with the Stam, and the combination here is beautiful. Buy through Nordstrom for $1450.
No matter how much it goes in and out of style, my dedication to animal print persists. In the hands of unskillful designers, it can often go sadly awry, but when done correctly, I enjoy it so thoroughly.
And some may disagree, but I think the Yves Saint Lauren Animal Print Muse II is done absolutely right. In order to temper a strong statement like leopard, it’s important to keep a bag’s other lines and features sleek and clean, which is exactly what the folks at Yves Saint Laurent did. The Muse II was a fabulous candidate for the animal print treatment because of both its inherent simplicity of design and also its status as a must-have It Bag. That way, if you don’t like the animal print, there are plenty of other versions available. And if you do, not only is it an It Bag, but it’s one that everyone who sees you will notice immediately. For better or for worse. But I think it’s for better. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $2295.