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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For those of you who think that Alexander McQueen handbags might be a little too out there for your taste, I may have found a bag for you.

Looking at the name of the bag, I was wondering what was really meant by the word camouflage. Did it have to do with the colors, the design, some hidden meaning? It is not that McQueen camouflaged his genius or his innate ability to take design to the next level.

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