Other than the brand’s signature Skull Clutches, it’s been a while since Alexander McQueen made a splash with a handbag. Because of the sculptural nature of shoes, McQueen’s architectural, avant-garde aesthetic has always lent itself more easily to eye-catching footwear, and other than clutches, that’s been where most of the McQueen accessories creativity has gone over the few years, particularly since the death of the brand’s founder.

The brand can do a great day bag on occasion, though – remember the Novak, in all of its angular, tailored, mid-century glory? McQueen is returning to that feel for Fall 2012 with the Alexander McQueen Heroine Satchel, but is it a great bag, or just an average one?

How you answer that question probably depends largely on whether or not you like the fold-over flap that surrounds the bag’s front strap attachment. My gut reaction to it was contempt; not only does the flap interrupt the line of the handles, but it makes the contents of the bag impossible to access when it’s on your arm. On it’s face, not a great design move.

Then I started to think about other bags with not-dissimilar structural arrangements, like the Hermes Birkin, which also requires a bit of maneuvering to open while on the carrier’s arm, even if it doesn’t necessitate total removal like the Heroine apparently does. When I see women carrying Birkins around New York, though, I generally see them with the flap tucked inside and the top open, not only ready for functional use but also positioned for a more casual look. I could see the Heroine being carried the same way – with the top flap tucked, downplaying its somewhat formal look. I’m still not entirely convinced, though, as much as I like the multicolored python used in the top-of-the-line version. What do you think?

Alexander McQueen Leather Heroine Satchel, $2825 via Neiman Marcus

Alexander McQueen Python Heroine Satchel, $6395 via Neiman Marcus

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