We all know that I tend to be a little tough on Versace, but it comes from a place of love. (Usually.) The brand has a great and utterly glamourous history, and with the right people in place, it could be a source of lovely bags and shoes that would make us all sublimely happy. The company has struggled in recent years, but lately I’ve noticed a significant uptick in the look of its accessories.

I’m as surprised by this as you are, but the handbags from Versace Fall 2011 are more than a little great. The big, soft hobos in various textures and color combinations aren’t on-trend or directional or any of those other fashion buzzwords, but they do look like they’d be functional and wearable and all of those other buzzwords that matter to people who actually need to use their handbags.

The only problem with the Celine-influenced trend toward classic, clean-lined box bags is that not everyone has a classic, clean-lined personal style. Some people prefer a little bit of razzle-dazzle, and those people would be well served to take a look at the Versace Leather Shoulder Bag. Gird your loins, ladies and gentlemen, for I am about to say something nice about a Versace bag.

Fans of Mad Men and Versace accessories alike should be excited by this news: Betty Draper herself, January Jones, has been photographed by famed camera-wielder Mario Testino as the new face of Versace’s accessories.

And if you’re a red-carpet watcher, you’re probably not surprised. January has been wearing some of the brand’s more esoteric creations to any and all events for as long as I can remember, including several dresses given to the actress by Donatella herself.

Despite any fun that I might have had at Versace’s expense in the past, I really, really want the brand to get through its growing pains and come out the other side making beautiful accessories. Few labels have the kind of global name recognition that Versace enjoys, and it would make the accessories market as a whole much richer for Versace to find its voice and become a real player in the handbag game.

As we all know, I’m the first one to criticize Versace when they screw up a handbag, so I feel like it’s only fair that I recognize them early and often when they get something right. And this time, I feel like they have: the Versace Python Frame Satchel is sleek and restrained, but it still has the signature sexiness of a Versace design.

I’ll go ahead and answer my own question: that’s definitely a disembodied head. Is the rest of the body inside the bag? Is this sort of like the medieval stocks, where you’ve got a head poking out on one side and the rest of the body is attached on the other? There are so many questions. I’m so confused. Someone hold me.

Every handbag lover out there has a different taste. While this means so many of us can be on complete opposite ends of the interest spectrum, it means that designers are pushed to create a plethora of designs for us. So, no matter what you like, we all win!

And as someone who spends more hours than most staring and evaluating handbags, I can appreciate the quality of a bag even if I would never be caught dead carrying it myself.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve done it! I’ve found a Versace bag that doesn’t make my eyes roll or my stomach turn or my brain hurt just from looking at it. It’s simple! And functional! And kind of attractive! I could wear this bag and not be embarrassed about what it says about my taste level and also, my level of common sense.

Let’s be honest, there has not been much praise from the PurseBlog team given to Versace. And it is kind of sad, because Versace is one of the most well-known design Houses alive. Today I have found a Versace bag that still will not appeal to many, but has some aspects that are totally quirky but alluring for me. I’m ready for the comments saying otherwise (and hopefully some that agree with me).

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