Now that we’ve seen one example today of metallic gone egregiously wrong, I though it might be nice to give some props to a brand that has managed to get it oh so right – Lanvin.

I don’t love all of the brand’s handbags, but given an opportunity to see them in person, the quality of materials and attention to detail really shine. I haven’t seen the Lanvin Amalia Cabas Metallic Tote yet, but I have seen the matte leather version, and the subtle glimmer effect of this leather only makes me love it more. (more…)

I’ve been trying to figure out for some time now exactly what it is that makes me love Valentino bags oh so much, particularly since Shannon called me out on it last week. It’s not like no other designer has ever done ribbon and flower motifs – that, in and of itself, is not what sets the brand apart. And it’s not the shapes or colors they use, either – the vast majority of their bags are traditional shapes like hobos and totes, decorated intricately but in usually neutral shades.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint why I like them so much for a while, and as best I can tell, it’s because they feel like clothing to me. Instead of creating something that’s tough and somewhat exterior to an ensemble, Valentino’s accessory designers seem to put as much thought and detail into things like the Valentino Tulle Rosette Bag as they would into an evening gown destined for the red carpet. In a marketplace full of mass-produced bags, a lot of the bags that Valentino turns out still manage to feel and look special. (more…)

Just the other day, Megs and I were having kind of an odd discussion. I don’t know how we ultimately landed on the topic, but somehow, the subject of pig leather came about. We both figured that it existed, since the nickname of “pigskin” for old-fashioned footballs certainly came from their porcine origins (although they were made from a pig’s bladder, not its skin, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.) She and I spend exponentially more time than the average purse-lover studying the details of the world’s finest handbags, and neither of us could ever remember coming across a bag made primarily of pigskin.

Mere days later, and I come across the Rochas Pigskin Tote, from the first look at the brand’s Fall/Winter 2010 accessories collection. With a little research, I’ve found that Prada appears to have made a travel bag out of pigskin in 2007 and that there are many suppliers overseas offering the leather to manufacturers. Pigskin appears to be durable and at least reasonably attractive – why don’t we see it more often? (more…)

We all know how lovely the Bottega Veneta intrecciato woven bags are, but a lot of people feel like the brand’s simple good looks don’t fit their personal style. I can’t blame anyone for wanting something more, and while Bottega has been doing a fine job of mixing up their aesthetic recently, I’ve got a woven alternative for people that like something a little funkier.

The Vanessa Bruno Fringe Sack is full of bohemian texture and visual interest in a way that might be a little much for people that prefer Bottega’s more traditional bags, but it might be perfect for people that like to make a statement. I think that we all know, at this point, that a statement is what I prefer. (more…)

Is there ever such a thing as too many sequins? That’s probably a fashion question for the ages, and it’s not one to which I can give you a definitive answer right now. Sequins are like chocolate – in some contexts, a little goes a long way; in others, too much is never enough. Now we just have to decide into which of those categories the Valentino Shiny Petale Tote falls.

I’m still a little undecided. On the one hand, the slightly-darker-than-champagne color is neutral enough to keep a bag like this elegant. On the other hand, the layered petals might be just a bit too much when covered in such a shiny material. Texture on top of texture is hard to do, and although this bag makes a valiant effort, it seems to fall a bit short. (more…)

To quote the title of one of my all-time favorite episodes of Sex and the City, I love a charade. Well, a fashion charade, that is. It almost never fails to impress me when designers are able to take a material that has a certain set of expected characteristics and make it look like something completely different. Earlier this week, I was impressed by how much Maison Martin Margiela made bike reflectors look like sequins, and now I’m feeling similarly pleased with the Bottega Veneta Woven Leather Tote.

On first examination, it looks like a really nice straw tote. And of course, I would expect that any straw bag coming from the Bottega Veneta workshops to be really nice, just like all of their leather offerings. That’s the thing, however – this IS one of their leather offerings. Plus it has a little bit of croc trim, just for good measure. (more…)

I’ll be the first to admit that fashion bloggers are often working with a somewhat limited medium. The industry’s recently increased presence on the internet, both in retail and editorial sectors, has given people like me a great deal of material to work with when writing criticism and making sartorial recommendations, but there’s just nothing like the real thing.

We make our best educated guesses about what a bag will look and feel like in person based on what we know of the brand’s construction standards in the past and the pictures we see on the internet, which are often quite good, depending on the website that they come from. Sometimes, however, a bag just doesn’t make sense until you see it in person, for whatever reason. That’s exactly what happened yesterday when I saw the Prada Saffiano Printo Tote – I had seen pictures of the bag before and wasn’t terribly interested, but in person, it was love at first sight. (more…)

I am in love. Valentino continues to make me a happy handbag fan. Yes, in the past, I’ve snubbed Valentino and thought that some bags were less than impressive. Today is not that kind of day. I am highly impressed with this Valentino Glam Tote. In fact, if I had some cash saved up, I would have bought it on the spot. (more…)

If you love the Valentino aesthetic but can’t justify shelling out two grand (or far more) for one of their plush, ladylike bags full of bows, ruffles and flowers, I may have a viable alternative for you.

The Villador Carpetto Bow Bag has a couple of Valentino’s most obvious signatures – drool-worthy leather and an oversized bow placed proudly for all to see – without being a ripoff. It’ll also run you about half of what Valentino’s most basic bags usually cost, and who can’t get behind that? (more…)

I’M BA-ACK! I’m minus two tonsils, five post-surgery pounds, and a week of my life, but I have returned triumphant to do one of my absolute favorite things: make fun of a truly horrific Versace bag.

It’s almost as though the universe placed the galacticly awful Versace Scream Shopper on Nordstrom‘s website to welcome me back to the land of the living – It’s been quite a while since Donatella & Co. have provided us with a bag so thoroughly worthy of ridicule. When pitched such a softball, I can only hope to hit it out of the park. Won’t you join me? (more…)

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