Katie Holmes and her daughter Suri welcomed 2014 from the tropical climes of Miami, Florida, last week. Here’s Katie musing over a curious text by the pool in Miami with her Valentino Rockstud Camo Tote close at hand. Katie actually carried this tote throughout most of her Miami vacay, and not just by the pool. You can pick up your own napa leather camo Valentino Bag at Neiman Marcus for $2,295.

The actress reportedly spent NYE on the rooftop of the Soho Beach House, celebrating with friends. In other Katie Holmes news, I don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up unnecessarily, but Internet rumor has it that Katie is considering a “Dawson’s Creek” reunion. (However, I’m not sure she’s still the lynchpin in a theoretical “DC” reunion scenario any more. It’s highly debatable.)

When I first laid eyes on the RED Valentino Embroidered Quilted Shoulder Bag, I felt confused. Surely the brand was marked incorrectly; this design has every bit as much detailing as you’d expect from a full-fledged Valentino bag, and it has the same refined, utterly ladylike look. I felt even more confused when I saw the price. Less than $500? How could that be? Then I figured it out – the bag isn’t real leather. But maybe it doesn’t matter, considering all the other stuff we already discussed.

I am a leather person. I don’t spend money on fancy bags and shoes that aren’t real leather. I will never darken the door of the Stella McCartney accessories department. But at the right (reduced) price point, and when a considerable amount of design work has obviously gone into a bag, the case can be made for non-leather, even to me. This bag is beautiful and expensive-looking, much more so than the McCartney bags that sell like hotcakes. If you’re someone who avoids leather for ethical reasons, I doubt there’s a more refined, luxurious handbag choice for you anywhere else on the market right now. Even if you’re not, this bag’s the best argument I’ve seen for paying anything more than Target prices for PVC. Buy through Luisa Via Roma for $476.

“Borrowing from the boys” is an idea referenced often in fashion magazines and blogs, and usually it boils down to buying some sort of fancy, feminized version of a menswear look – a women’s tuxedo, a pair of loafers or brogues, a bag inspired by a traditional briefcase. Because bags don’t have to fit your body or feet, though, borrowing from the boys can be a bit more literal; just go on over to the men’s department and pick up whatever you like. The bags might be a little oversized if you’re very petite, but if you like a roomy bag, they’re great. In fact, for Fall 2013, the Valentino Men’s Bags are particularly great. (more…)

As of late, Valentino’s aesthetic has been very specific: a whole lot of ladylike, a little bit of edgy and totally luxurious. The formula has worked like few have in the same time period; the brand’s Rockstud bags and shoes have become favorites of everyone from high-powered Conde Nast editors to burgeoning personal style bloggers, and the relatively few permutations of the look have remained popular for seasons on end; no small feat in the increasingly fast-paced, Internet-saturated world of fashion. Now Valentino seems ready to move into its next phase, and that phase has brought us the Valentino Rockstud Camo Foulard Tote. (more…)

Personalization is huge in the handbag world right now and I am thrilled about it. We all have our own personal tastes when it comes to the bags we carry, and we also have our own initials to mark them with. A couple of brands have offered personalization services on some of their bags and accessories for several seasons, and now Valentino is getting in on the game with their highly coveted and super sleek Valentino MOC Clutch. (more…)

During Paris Fashion Week, we didn’t have a chance to give you guys an in-depth look at the bags that graced the Valentino Spring 2014 runway – we only have so many hours in the workday, and Paris is a nearly nonstop onslaught of things deserving of those hours. Now that the Moda Operandi pre-sale has come and gone (sadly), though, I’m glad we held off – MO provided a more complete and detailed look at the bags, and they are definitely deserving of it.

The first thing you’ll notice, of course, is that there’s not a Rockstud to be seen. Rockstuds have been Valentino’s bread and butter for five seasons, and with that much success, it can be difficult for a brand to know when it move on to a new idea. Consumers will be the ultimate judge of whether or not Valentino timed its transition correctly, but it certainly feels like the perfect time for a slightly new direction. Rockstuds are still flying high, popularity-wise, and I can’t imagine that they’ll be phased out of the full line anytime soon, but there’s something to be said for relenting the spotlight while you’re still on top.

If you’re going to transition off of your company’s most successful bags of all time, these designs are a great way to do it. Many of them feature studding here and there, but it’s round and flat instead of square and spiked, which provides a completely different feel. It’s almost difficult to remember that these bags are from a spring collection – the autumnal colors and extra-gorgeous leather look like everything I want to carry right this very instant, and I don’t even wear brown. The collection was opera-inspired, and you can feel the old-world cultural references in these bags, plus a little South American influence that isn’t mentioned in the show notes but appears to be there nonetheless.

Sadly, the Moda Operandi pre-order ended yesterday, but take a look at all the bags that were included below and start planning your Spring 2014 shopping lists. If you need to scratch the shopping itch immediately, Moda Operandi has lots of other great stuff, both this season’s and next.

We’ve talked at length on several occasions about women’s handbags and how they’re adapted to the men’s market, and here’s yet another example of exactly that: the Valentino Studded Leather Pouch it might not bear the recognizable Rockstud moniker, but you don’t have to be a fashion expert to understand this bag’s design lineage.

Despite the fact that studs are traditionally a somewhat masculine embellishment, it’s taken a while for Valentino put out a men’s bag with this many studs. There have been bags with a corner stud here and there, and perhaps because the construction of this clutch (let’s call it what it is) provides so many corners, this is as close to “Rockstud” as the dudes have come. That’s likely because, despite the traditional associations of studs, Rockstud bags are often almost hyper-feminine; the reason that the bags work so well is because the studs offset the ladylike feel of the designs. There’s little for studs to balance, when it comes to men’s design.

Beyond the issue of studs, there’s also the issue of the man-clutch. As always, I try to be open-minded about who can pull off which bags, and last week, I encountered a totally hot dude on the subway, looking well-dressed but not looking like he was trying too hard, carrying a man clutch. He didn’t look any more feminine than he appeared to be trying to look, which was somewhere around “not at all feminine”. So, now I know it’s totally possible to pull off a man-clutch in basically whatever way a guy wants to, although it must be said that being super attractive does not exactly hinder the endeavor. Buy for $1,245 via Mr. Porter if you’d like to give it a shot yourself.

During seasonal transitions, I often find that none of my clothes feel quite right. It’s like I can’t remember how I made outfits out of anything six months ago, or why I even thought such an undertaking with my current clothing options was even an idea worth exploring. Because of this, I’ve spent a lot of time dressing myself in my head with stuff that I can’t afford all at once, which brings me to today. It dawned on me that perhaps I’m not the only one having this issue, and that a little blog-post group-therapy session might be in order. So, PurseBloggers, this is the outfit I wish I were wearing this weekend.

I’m having a bit of a neo-grunge, tomboyish, Angela Chase moment lately, so I’d definitely want some plaid and some olive green in there, plus these great waxed charcoal jeans. I’d finish it off with a Giambattista Valli haircalf skater shoe, because who would have guessed that such a thing even exists? To balance out the boyish elements of the look, I’d add in a leopard Valentino bag in contrasting red, plus a little bit of bling – the irregular shape and slightly grimy finish of this gorgeous Susan Foster necklace means that it fits perfectly with more casual looks. Check out all the pieces below and let us know what you’re looking forward to wearing this weekend!

When a brand has a standout hit like Valentino has with its Rockstud bags and shoes, it can be hard for the average consumer to look beyond that and notice the depth of the brand’s offerings. Balenciaga often has that issue – everyone loves the Motorcycle Bags, and because they became so synonymous with what a Balenciaga bag will look like, some great pieces tended to get pushed to the margins and left relatively unappreciated. With his new Balenciaga Le Dix, Alexander Wang looks to be making sure that the face of the new Balenciaga is one that he’s created. In that spirit, it seemed only appropriate that the Valentino Intricate Soutache Tote got some love of its own, separate from the rest of the Valentino seasonal collection.

Valentino isn’t trying to take the spotlight off its Rockstud bags in the same way that Balenciaga is trying to take a non-Motorcycle step, of course, but I do appreciate that the brand’s accessories crew restrained itself from adding a studded element to these bags in some way, as Valentino does with nearly all of its accessories. I love Rockstuds as much as (if not more than) the next girl, but not everything needs to be Rockstudded. The ornate, tonal piping on the bag’s front panel is as close to leather filigree as anyone will probably ever get, and the subtly luxurious treatment is a perfect representative of the Valentino aesthetic.

On top of that, this bag wasn’t intended just to be admired – with its generous size and two handle options, the Soutache tote is clearly a workhorse. “Pretty” and “functional” don’t often meet in the middle, and the combination should make this bag a customer favorite. If you needed proof that Valentino isn’t just a one-trick Rockstud pony, this should do the trick. Unfortunately, it comes with quite the price tag.

Valentino Intricate Soutache Bag
$4,595 via Neiman Marcus

Valentino Intricate Soutache Bag Red

Valentino Intricate Soutache Bag
$4,595 via Neiman Marcus

Valentino Intricate Soutache Bag Black

Have you ever noticed that Valentino bags can get a little scarce sometimes? And not just the special, seasonal designs either – the regular Rockstud bags in standard colors, which have been available in basically the same iterations for what seems like an eternity, often take a bit of maneuvering to locate in a particular color or size. That just got a little easier, thanks to New York-based retailer Intermix, who now carries the brand on its website.

If you’ve ever been to an Intermix shop in person, you know that it’s the perfect mix of contemporary and premiere designer pieces, edited in such a way that the store basically carries a full cool-girl wardrobe, nothing more and nothing less. That experience has always been somewhat less apparent on the store’s website, but January’s news that Intermix had been acquired by Gap, Inc. gave me a little hope that the store’s online offerings might be expanding in the near future. Adding Valentino to the e-commerce mix is certainly a bold indicator that will be the case.

Right now, Intermix is carrying several of the Rockstud bags, mostly well-loved basics, plus a healthy selection of the matching shoes. Perhaps most interesting are the few Valentino Rockstud Noir pieces, which are generally pretty scarce at other Internet outposts. Shop the full selection via Intermix.

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