I’m very comfortable in my belief that Christian Louboutin is the best all-around shoe designer on the face of the planet right now. From a large stable of perfect basics to season after season of jaw-dropping art-in-shoe-form, Louboutin does almost everything that he does very well.

Except for handbags.

For some reason, Mr. Louboutin can’t translate his amazing talent into purses. Try as he might, every few months, he releases some more bags that just…aren’t…quite…right. He continues to turn out shoes that are arguably perfect, but I’ve never seen a bag of his and thought, “Yes, indeed, I will pay money for that.”

To me, the Fall/Winter ’08 ‘Armadillo’ line is a perfect example of Louboutin’s problem with purses. Take the d’Orsay Peep-Toe Platform Pump; a seamless mash-up of simplicity and punky attitude with the pintucked leather pleats going all the way down the back of the high, high heel. Great for work or play and downright gorgeous to behold.

Then, take the Layered Leather Hobo. Is anyone else getting ‘black leather fortune cookie’ when they look at this? Because I sort of am. I don’t find it entirely loathsome, but it’s definitely nowhere close to my want list, and even if I received it as a gift, I’d probably eBay it. Whereas shoes often benefit from their designer’s focus on architectural details, this hobo seems almost too architectural and stiff, particularly in a shape (the hobo) and type of leather (calfskin) that is at its most beautiful when allowed to sag and fold naturally. It ends up looking overworked and over-thought – two things that Louboutin’s splendid shoes almost never do. However, if you are interested, you can buy the Hobo through Saks for $1,995.00.

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