Fill in the blank in the comments below: The Valentino Napa Straw-Flower Duffel is _______.

When Valentino first introduced us to its line of studded ladylike bags at the Spring 2011 shows back in September, I was…hesitant, to say the least. In the intervening months, I’ve remained hesitant, but the Valentino Rock Stud Top Handle has become the first of Valentino’s Spring 2011 bags to gain my approval.

I’ve never planned a wedding, but as I understand it, the process seems to turn many mild-mannered women into raging, clawing, howling Bridezillas. The ones who don’t morph, Hulk-like, into wedding monsters have nervous breakdowns. And as someone’s who’s rather detail-averse (as opposed to being detail-oriented, which is what it says on my resumé.

With at least one notable exception, Valentino’s accessories aesthetic has looked just a wee bit gassed lately. In most ways, it seems as though the brand has mined the incredible intricacy of roses and ruffles to their logical ends, and it might be time to figure out what step should be taken next.

Usually, I’m a fan of a complicated clutch. The diminutive scale of an evening bag lends itself well to intricacy and detail because it merely provides a taste of a particular embellishment instead of the overwhelming dose that can come when lots of beading and embroidery are applied to a regular-sized tote or satchel.

Sure, the Valentino Petale Chain Strap Leather Mini Bag is entirely small, but the design packs a punch.

At the time of this writing, our reader poll indicates that the majority of our readers are experiencing at least a bit of stud fatigue. It looks like no one told Valentino – almost all of the brand’s Spring 2011 handbags featured a stud of one sort or another.

There’s perhaps nothing so tragic in fashion as looking at a bag that you know for a fact to be real and thinking that it looks fake. Sadly, that was exactly the reaction I had to the Valentino Sequin-Embellished Rosette Tote.

Valentino’s handbags are notorious for their use of literal flora – flowers and leaves of every variety have dotted the brand’s bags for several years running, to the near-exclusion of any other aesthetic ideas. The motif works for Valentino, and the brand has carved itself a significant, ladylike niche in a very competitive handbag market.

When I first saw the Valentino Primavera Water-Resistant Tote, I was really surprised. Not that the bag existed or was being marketed for rainy days – no, that made perfect sense – but that we don’t see a lot more of the exact same thing.

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