Clutches are always a big hit on the runway because they’re easy to add to an outfit without obscuring the clothes being presented, but for Fall 2011, handheld bags took an even more prominent spot in the season’s shows than is usually expected. In textures from velvet to python (and sometimes velvet and python on the same clutch) and sizes big enough to carry all your belongings or so small that a cell phone would be a tight squeeze, you better make sure that your handheld handbag game is in point this year. But fret not – we’ve got nine of the best options from Fall 2011’s runways so that you can start socking away cash now. Let us know which is your favorite (or if you think we left something out) in the comments. (more…)
It didn’t take long for python to make itself known as the biggest handbag look of Fall 2011; as trends go, exotic skins aren’t exactly subtle. They’re also not affordable, so if you want to buy into a piece of one of the runway, start saving your pennies now. To help motivate you, we’ve put together a non-comprehensive compendium of some of Fall 2011’s snakeskin looks, all the way from slouchy, comfortable pink Dior to rigid, bright yellow Gucci. (more…)
It’s difficult to review a collection like Valextra Fall 2011. Perhaps because Valextra is only a leather goods company instead of a full design house, its products tend not to vary with the trends of brands who also produce ready-to-wear; instead, the Italian line produces season after season of austere yet feminine handbags and accessories using only the finest leathers and techniques. And I don’t say that lightly – many brands that command big bucks for their handbags aren’t using the finest of anything.
With Valextra, though, the proof is in the products. With no gimmicks or extraneous visual elements behind which to hide, the leather and stitching have to be first-rate beyond a shadow of a doubt for customers to pay the brand’s often steep prices. With most of these high-precision designs, though, having one in my closet would be worth every penny. They’re the kind of bags that you carry for the rest of your life. (more…)
Finally, someone saw fit to design a box clutch that will actually fit your keys, your phone and your wallet, all at the same time. That shouldn’t be revolutionary, but anyone who’s ever tried to stuff all of her necessities into a prissy little evening bag knows that sometimes it’s easy to understand why women used to stash things in their bras.
The Stella McCartney Fall 2011 runway show only included a couple of bags, but those that it did made me not miss leather or animal products one bit. The sharp-edged (literally) acrylic handbags looked like mod vanity cases, and they would provide a perfect counterpoint for a textured, glitzy cocktail dress, no strategic packing required. (more…)
Considering Celine’s track record of re-imagining classic handbag shapes over the past few seasons, it was only a matter of time before Phoebe Philo’s accessories crew made its way to the doctor bag. Having made fashion hits out of a leather box bag on a long strap an ornately trimmed shopping tote (not to mention launching a thousand copycats at nearly every price point), Celine Fall 2011 turned its sites on two traditional accessory staples: the frame satchel and the flat clutch.
Celine’s handbag aesthetic works so well because the brand is careful to pick shapes and ideas that lend themselves to Philo’s particular brand of disciplined traditionalism. And of course, these bags carry on the brand’s New Minimalist ethos quite well, stripping both shapes down to their most basic components and then realizing them in the most pristine and exacting way possible. It’s a method that has proved incredibly successful in the past, and these bags will no doubt continue that streak. (more…)
It’s been a full month since all of the fashion week festivities started, and they’ve finally come to an end. Showing at the very end of the cycle can either be a blessing or a curse; if what you’ve put together is merely mediocre (or worse, if it’s flat-out bad), critics and buyers are more likely to look harshly on it because of our fatigue at four weeks worth of clothes and accessories. If the collection you’re presenting is as good as beautifully fetishistic Louis Vuitton Fall 2011, though, then you get the glorious distinction of closing out the season on a high note and having your clothes by foremost in the minds of editors.
Vuitton is not a handbag company that I normally look to for my own purchases because of my personal preference toward bags without logos, but its fall accessory offerings were easily some of the best of the entire season. The central idea of the handbag collection was a theme and variations starring the brand’s ever-popular Lockit shape, much like the Speedy iterations that we saw from Vuitton for Fall 2010. It’s an idea that worked well then and works well now, with the disciplined lines of the Lockit lending themselves seamlessly to the upscale kink of the Vuitton ready-to-wear. Let’s not talk about the fuzzy bags and pretend those never happened, ok? Everything else was too good of a distraction. (more…)
In case you haven’t noticed (but I bet you have, we’re blessed with smart readers), python is sort of a thing for Fall 2011. It’s almost staggering how many accessories designers managed to have the exact same thought at the exact same time, and the powers that be at Valentino absolutely got the memo. Valentino Fall 2011 is chock full of exotics in traditional shapes, and if you don’t like that, the brand would also like to offer you the largest wristlets known to man.
While the boxy colorblocked crocodile options caught my attention immediately, as did the multicolored python satchel, I’m not feeling the rush of excitement that I usually get when I look at a collection that I know will give me endless joy over the next six months. These bags are an improvement over last season’s Valentino runway for sure, but they’re missing a bit of magic. Close, but no cigar. (more…)
Oh, Karl Lagerfeld. You had me at The Cure.
There weren’t many handbags to be found on the catwalk at Chanel Fall 2011, which struck me as something of a surprise. Chanel fully acknowledges the place of leather goods in its company history, and normally part of its enthusiasm for accessories spills over onto the runway in the form of lots of goodies for handbag lovers. This time, though, there was relatively little to see.
What we did see in the goth dystopia that Lagerfeld created in Paris’ Grand Palais was quite good. Most of the bags were of the chain-strapped flap variety, but Lagerfeld got rid of the brand’s iconic quilting and leather-woven handles to give a starker take on a Chanel classic. Little quilted hand-held bags were spotted here and there, but mostly the models walked with their hands empty, perhaps in a nod to the bleak-chic setting of the show. Although I’m disappointed to not have seen more bags, now I’m even more excited for press previews. Chanel wins again. (more…)
The more I look through the handbags from Chloe Fall 2011, the more I wonder who the Chloe girl is. I also wonder if Chloe’s accessories designers know the answer to that question, or if they’ve chosen instead to hope that they can make everyone feel like a Chloe girl by creating a collection that eschews a unifying aesthetic in favor of encompassing a group of ideas that are seemingly not related.
If you like hard-lined, ladylike handbags in exotic materials (or bags with actual animal heads), Chloe has a bag for you. If you spent all of your childhood lusting after your mom’s Coach bucket bags, well, there are plenty of designs that look like those as well. Are you a hippie who likes colorblocking and whipstitching? You’re not left out, either. Of course, bags aren’t sold as a collection; they’re sold as individual pieces to individual women who probably don’t care what the rest of the bags in the collection look like as long as they love the pieces that they’re buying. Still, though, I can’t shake the impression that this is a collection without an identity, and I’m not sure how you go about marketing that. (more…)
Who is it, exactly, who buys a clutch so small and rigid that it can’t fit a slender smartphone? In a day and age when even veteran socialites are glued to their iPhones (and playing Angry Birds just like the rest of us, I assure you), don’t teeny-tiny handbags become something of a significant logistical issue? Givenchy Fall 2011 didn’t feature many handbags, but the ones that did appear were all so picayune that I couldn’t help but pick up my phone to try and gauge the difference in size between it and what I saw on my screen. I’m not at all convinced that it would fit inside of one of Givenchy’s small evenings bags, and even if it did, it would be the only thing in there. So much for house keys.
I’ve brought up this problem before and never received any sort of satisfactory answer about what you’re supposed to do with one of these tiny clutches. Give your phone to your man? What if you’re going out with your girlfriends, do you give it to one of them? What if you get separated or she leaves early? Why spend so much money on a bag that’s absolutely devoid of practicality? These designs are pretty to look at, but without one very significant alteration, I won’t be buying them. (more…)
It’s only been one collection for new Hermes creative director Christophe Lemaire, but I already miss ousted designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Hermes is a house of rich tradition and history, and mining those archives should provide more than enough inspiration to avoid gimmickry on the runway. Sadly, Hermes Fall 2011 fell into that trap from time to time. Having a model parade down a catwalk with a falcon on her arm didn’t distract me from the fact that the collection featured few of the brand’s bread-and-butter handbags, and I doubt it fooled anyone else, either.
Although Hermes’ ready-to-wear absolutely has a customer base, it’s a company built on the luxury world’s love for leather goods. You wouldn’t know it from the show, though; the accessories didn’t include a single Birkin or Kelly that I was able to find among the available pictures, and except for a few nice hand-held bags and one luscious dark chocolate duffle, the emphasis was on odd, tasseled canteens worn around the neck. Hermes shows almost always rise to the level of handbag pornography, but there was relatively little after which to lust this season. (more…)
The footwear enthusiasts among you may remember that I was extremely enthusiastic about Lanvin’s Spring 2011 shoes when they showed in Paris last October. The hard-edged (literally and) figuratively industrial futurism of the collection felt interesting and directional back then, and it still does now with the advent of Lanvin’s Fall 2011 handbags. While the accessories of Spring 2011 were simple and traditional compared to the shoes, these bags take the edge that Alber Elbaz expertly constructed and run with it.
And really, upon seeing these designs, I can’t help but wonder why someone didn’t do this long ago. The static constraints of industrialism dovetail beautifully with the rigid, sharp-edged bags that we’ve seen grown popular over the past few seasons. In this context, the flat metal accents and jointed should straps seem logical and necessary, as do the bags made out of tortoise shell and screw heads. Elbaz’s accessories department has given us New Minimalism with a darkly futuristic bent, and it couldn’t feel more current. (more…)