As I’ve said often, VBH is my absolute favorite source for a category of bags that I like to call Birkin Alternatives. When you want a bag that screams luxury and good taste from a mile away but you don’t want everyone to encounter to know exactly what it is or exactly how much you paid for it, you skip the Birkin and go VBH. The brand offers many different bags in a similar east-west satchel shape and a somewhat similar (although noticeably lower, thankfully) price range, but the details of the designs are altogether more modern and a bit more subtle.

Take the utterly gorgeous VBH Milano Sunbeam Snake Bag, for instance. Instead of the cumbersome and traditional strap and lock closures that are a staple on Hermes’ most famous bags, this bag has an utterly modern zipper that serves as both semi-industrial design detail and totally functional handbag closure. Because of the modern nature of that element, I could see this bag being carried by anyone from an Upper East Side doyenne to someone with a wardrobe full of Alexander Wang.

Instead of python, which is the snakeskin that nearly everyone uses at this price point, VBH went with sunbeam snake, which gives us the beautiful uniformity of scale pattern that you see above. There’s less variation here than there would be with python scales, and it’s also more interesting to look at – I’d have to imagine that most handbag aficionados are beginning to feel somewhat bored with omnipresent python at this point.

The bag is pricey, of course – $4450 – but VBH are an absolute joy to behold in person, and that’s still only half of what you’d pay for a regular leather Birkin of a similar size and color. For my money, I’d pick this bag any day – sometimes taking the path less traveled makes all the difference in building a wardrobe. Buy through Neiman Marcus for $4450.

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