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Now that shows have officially closed for the season and all the bags have been seen (by us, anyway – we’ve still got some more posts for you guys!), I feel comfortable saying that Spring 2012 is probably going to be a bit of a boring season for accessories, at least compared to what we’ve grown used to recently. That being said, a few major designers who have been struggling to find their voices have stepped it up this season, at least when handbags are concerned.

Valentino Spring 2012 is one such collection; I did a lot of complaining about the brand’s Fall 2011 runway bags, but this group is altogether more refined and well-conceived than previous lines have felt. Some of last season’s elements, including studded hand straps, can be found in these designs, but they’re used in ways that feel more natural and functional. This is the collection that Valentino should have showed last season, but I’m glad they decided to show it at all.

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