Some bags aren’t that hard to evaluate online – either they’re pretty straightforward, or the brand does things similarly enough from season to season that there are rarely surprises in construction or materials. For instance, I feel comfortable passing judgment on a Gucci bag without seeing it in person; I’ve seen enough of them in my life to be able to extrapolate information from those experiences. The same goes for Louis Vuitton.

Valentino, however, is one brand with which I’m not quite so comfortable making those same calls. Their bags are so intricate and tactile that their actual visages are often not faithful to handbag portraiture, and seeing and feeling them in person is always preferable. Thankfully, I’ve gotten the chance to do just that with the Valentino Laceland Tote.

Valentino Laceland Tote

I can say will full confidence that pictures do not do this bag justice. It’s not my favorite Valentino ever, and it has its faults, but the laser-cut leather lace is something to behold in person. I found it endlessly impressive that they managed to take a material that is thick and tough by nature and cut it so precisely and intricately that it actually does approximate the effect of lace.

The cuts are absolutely tiny and so numerous that the bag probably won’t be very durable, and I can’t say that I entirely enjoy the way it’s layered on to the bag’s body in sheets (I also don’t really enjoy the scrunchy handle), but the leather-lace is so impressive in person that my impression of the bag was still, overall, favorable. If you get the chance, you simply have to see one up close. Buy through Valentino for #3495.

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