If you’ve been aware of designer handbags for more than, say, the past day or two, you’ve seen your fair share of black and white bags. The sharp, modern color combination fits perfectly with the backlash against uber-trendy neons, prints and embellishments, which at times all appeared together on the same bag. (Of course, leave it to fashion to combat trend culture with a new trend.) Seemingly every designer under the sun has tried their hands at the look, but a relative handbag newcomer has beaten almost all of them with the Narciso Rodriguez Mixed-Media Envelope Shoulder Bag.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t pay all that much attention to Roberto Cavalli. In my head, I associate the Italian machismo-machine more with yacht parties and tiger-print silk caftans than with clothes and accessories that are relevant to my own (urban, slightly tomboyish) personal style, and I’m probably pretty far from his target customer. Despite all of that, I saw the Roberto Cavalli Floral Shoulder Bag and immediately fell in love.

When I first sat down to write this post, I figured I’d find five or six good examples of drawstring bags to include in it, under the assumption that the trend was rising but had yet to crest. Well, I was wrong – within five minutes or so, I had dozens of browser windows open, all with worthy candidates for inclusion at price points from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Sometimes, a bag just doesn’t make sense until you see it on someone. I’ve seen the Anya Hindmarch Bathurst Bag on plenty of retail websites, and I’ve always found it a bit confusing; Why the big strap? Why make the big strap a different color? It’s a nice bag, of course, but it didn’t quite click for me until I saw someone carrying the black version with its blue strap (it also comes with a tonal black strap) in front of me on Madison Avenue over the weekend.

As much fun as It Bags and logos can be from time to time, sometimes you just want to fly under the radar. Maybe it’s a situation in which something conspicuous isn’t appropriate (think a professional event or job interview), or maybe you’re just not feeling particularly flashy. Good taste is, well, always in good taste. Luxury handbags are rarely inconspicuous, though – even tween starlets are carrying Celine these days.

Everyone knows the name Ralph Lauren, but few handbag lovers associate the brand with great bags. While Ralph Lauren has designed some beauties like the Ricky, the majority of their handbags slide far below the radar and are not acknowledged by the accessories community at large. It’s a pity; Ralph Lauren is so expansive and major that you would assume the brand would churn out beautiful purses as well.

Calling all animal print lovers, this is an animal print handbag you do not want to miss out on. While procrastinating on doing my ever-so-interesting homework (hopefully my professors aren’t reading this), the Tory Burch Medium Haircalf Top Bag caught my eye. It’s the perfect accessory that can be used all year round, and it’ll give any outfit that double-take factor.

In case you hadn’t heard, Dolce & Gabbana is shutting down its little sister line D&G after Spring 2012. That means that the D&G clothes, handbags and shoes in store right now are the last we’ll ever see. (Until the line has a Versus-like revival in 10 or 15 years, of course.) If these three D&G Printed Quilted Twill Bags are any indication, the brand intends to go out with a bang instead of a whimper.

Isabel Marant Melly Embroidered Bag, $1235. Isabel Marant Malou Emebellished Suede Clutch, $1080. Both via Net-a-Porter.

Watch out, I’m about to commit fashion blasphemy: I find Isabel Marant a bit tedious. I like her clothing on an aesthetic level, of course. There’s a reason that every supermodel and editor this side of Berlin is photographed wearing Marant almost constantly; her work is impeccable.

Pierre Hardy Leather Clutch, $700. Pierre Hardy Suede and Patent Shoulder Bag, $1350. Both via Net-a-Porter.

For most of you, Pierre Hardy isn’t a new name by a long shot. The French designer is largely famous for his footwear, and his gloriously modern wedges in particular are what garner most of the (well-deserved) attention that comes his way. But what about Hardy’s handbags?

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