After viewing Prada’s Spring 2010 runway show, I couldn’t help but think to myself, maybe the handbags were a joke after all. Maybe they won’t produce them. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, they’ll ship the REAL bags to retail and we’ll all be left with the daffy memory of those silly-looking bags that Prada so irreverently sent down the Milan runway.

I love when Prada sticks to what it is good at: clean lines, great leather and fabulous color. I have to say, I came across the Prada Saffiano Lux Tote today and let out a sigh of relief.

Actually, I’ve seen this bag before, but I forgot about it. So, when I came across it again, all I can say is BRAVO Prada, BRAVO!

One thing that a lot of designers seem to have a very hard time doing is creating a bag that is both expensive-looking and covered in animal print. It’s not surprising since animal print is historically “tacky chic” at best, and at worst, just plain tacky. Getting past the initial “eww, is that zebra?” thought is a difficult sell for a lot of handbag customers in particular, since most people prefer their expensive bags to be neutral and timeless.

It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of writing about a Nancy Gonzalez handbag, and I think I’ve figured out why: I can never tell when they’re new. I don’t mean to say that they all look alike, but…a lot of them look alike. Although I guess if a design isn’t broken, you don’t fix it.

The Nancy Gonzalez Navy Croc Tote surely isn’t broken.

Before we go any further, does Chanel‘s website make anyone else sort of dizzy and motion sick, or am I just way too sensitive to that sort of thing? Websites where brands make their bags run frantically from side to side make my head spin, and that website structure makes me find something else to look at almost immediately.

In this case, however, I persevered in order to find the Chanel Rubber Effect Python Signature Tote.

Not too long ago, I wrote about a neoprene Marc by Marc Jacobs handbag on PurseBlog Savvy that I absolutely love, and I explained exactly why I think that neoprene is a cool material bags. I still think that’s absolutely true, and I still love the bag, but I just don’t know if I can justify to myself spending $350 for a bag that’s not leather.

Some bags aren’t that hard to evaluate online – either they’re pretty straightforward, or the brand does things similarly enough from season to season that there are rarely surprises in construction or materials. For instance, I feel comfortable passing judgment on a Gucci bag without seeing it in person; I’ve seen enough of them in my life to be able to extrapolate information from those experiences.

I’m so in to texture right now. From pintucking, ruching and pleating all the way to leather flowers a la Valentino, I want designers to show me what they can do with the material we’re all so used to seeing.

I think that my current obsession makes sense, though. Texture requires creativity and vision, but its implementation in a design rarely makes a bag less functional or useful – it’s the perfect added element to make a bag really special.

Lest we all had forgetten after seeing one too many soft, wonderful Valentino bags, Dolce & Gabbana has a stark reminder for us: ruffles aren’t easy, man. Not when leather is involved.

The key to successful leather ruffles is to make them so light and airy that you forget that what you’re looking at is a thick, hardy material out of which they also make car interiors.

Valentino Fleurs Couture Tote

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Whether you like their bags or not, Valentino does the best detail work in the business. There’s not a major designer that can touch them when it comes to taking regular (albeit extremely supple and wonderful) leather and turning it into something that is far more than the sum of its parts.

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