I’ve been trying to figure out for some time now exactly what it is that makes me love Valentino bags oh so much, particularly since Shannon called me out on it last week. It’s not like no other designer has ever done ribbon and flower motifs – that, in and of itself, is not what sets the brand apart. And it’s not the shapes or colors they use, either – the vast majority of their bags are traditional shapes like hobos and totes, decorated intricately but in usually neutral shades.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint why I like them so much for a while, and as best I can tell, it’s because they feel like clothing to me. Instead of creating something that’s tough and somewhat exterior to an ensemble, Valentino’s accessory designers seem to put as much thought and detail into things like the Valentino Tulle Rosette Bag as they would into an evening gown destined for the red carpet. In a marketplace full of mass-produced bags, a lot of the bags that Valentino turns out still manage to feel and look special.

Admittedly, this bag is probably too fragile for almost any setting and certainly a tad over-designed. When you see it, however, you instantly get a sense of the workmanship and attention to detail that goes into one of the brand’s bags, something that may be slightly harder to articulate with a leather canvas. Indeed, the pleating and folding would be right at home at the sort of swanky awards show to which most of us will never go, but a lack of need for couture doesn’t mean that we can’t all own a piece of the Valentino magic.

The brand’s bags seem more cohesive with the line’s overall aesthetic than a lot of other options in a similar price range, and you still get the femininity and painstaking attention to detail that you would get from one of Valentino’s far more expensive (and less functional) evening dresses. Buy through Net-a-Porter for $2790.

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