Valentino Bow Flap Bag, $1695 via Neiman Marcus. RED Valentino Bow Shoulder Bag, $495 via Saks.

The similar aesthetics of the Valentino and RED Valentino handbag lines have always surprised me. Sure, a main line and its little sister should have some things in common, but sharing signatures – like Valentino’s bows, for example – always runs one of two risks. First, the less-expensive bags are too similar to the originals, which could mean that the “affordable” line cannibalizes some of the main line’s sales. Second, the comparison of the two might make the diffusion bags look incredibly cheap or childish, which could hurt sales and undermine the purpose of a diffusion line (to capitalize on the cache of the originals to provide an influx of easy cash.)

In the case of the Valentin Bow Flap Bag and the less expensive RED Valentino Leather Bow Shoulder Bag, we’re dealing with the latter issue. Sit them next to each other, and suddenly one has to wonder why anyone would pay $500 for the less expensive option.

Not that I would pay $1700 for the more expensive bag; they both look like they’re attempting to outkick their coverage (to use a football saying), if you ask me. Drop the regular Valentino bag to $1200 and the RED bag to $249, and we might have a conversation about it. As it is, they’re both a little steep, but particularly the diffusion bag. Some of the RED Valentino styles are beautiful and look much more expensive than they really are, but this is not one of those bags. Buy the Valentino for $1695 via Neiman Marcus or the RED Valentino for $495 via Saks.

  • lintmag

    If I had to choose I’d take the darker pink, but both of these look rather dated to me.

  • louch

    The V Red bag looks SOOO cheap it’s amazing.

  • J Umm

    the Vred bag looks like something from primark.
    STYLE DECORUM

  • rose60610

    Oh those Valentino bags and those crazy big bows. They don’t appeal to me that much. As far as a brand going both high end and lower end, Ralph Lauren is the king of successful multi-tiers of goods, including bags. I think it all hinges on the marketing savvy of the company. Valentino isn’t nearly a household name as much as RL, so I question how the brand can really pull it off.

  • eDOARDO

    NOT REALLY ON MY TASTE BUT VERY INTERESTING AND REALISTIC POST!

    http://fashiondoesntexist.blogspot.com/

  • 19yearslater

    Ugh, they shouldn’t have made such similar bags for their two lines. And then priced them way too high. The Valentino bag looks like a Juicy product and the RED looks like something you could get at Forever 21. No thanks on either count.

  • bir

    again maestro valentino where have you gone i hate what they have done to this brand on all levels so in all honesty it does not surprise me !!!

  • Avalon Bleu

    Wow, such a contrast. Neither are my taste as many others have posted but you can really see the difference in the craftmanship between these two bags.

  • lamoda

    Truly a master piece. Marvelous work done on both Handbags.

  • Jackie

    The photo of the RED Valentino bag looks like a really low quality JPEG. Or maybe it’s just the bag?!

  • Sara

    But talking about the price is relative to how much money an individual customer has to spend. It may be steep to the writer, but not to the next person. Why would Valentino drop the price when they have customers willing to pay the asking price – that would not make sense and making it cheaper would cheapen their brand image, which they have taken years and a lot of hard work to get where it is.