Usually, I’m a fan of a complicated clutch. The diminutive scale of an evening bag lends itself well to intricacy and detail because it merely provides a taste of a particular embellishment instead of the overwhelming dose that can come when lots of beading and embroidery are applied to a regular-sized tote or satchel.

Every design theory has its limits, though, and the Valentino Embroidered Pouchette pushes my feelings about complicated clutches to the very edge. This little bag has two colors of leather, two separate areas of beading, and one multicolor lace pattern juxtaposed with one monochromatic lace pattern. Oh, and studs. It also has studs, both on a bow and on the bag’s wrist strap. This list is getting kind of long, right?

Intricacy is one thing, but this bag has too many competing ideas to work as well as one would hope. The elements don’t work together, and several of them seem like they don’t even belong on the same bag (traditional beadwork and studs, for example). Coco Chanel’s immortal advice that one should always remove an accessory before leaving the house would have been a great help to whoever designed this bag; let’s hope that they get it right next time. Valentino’s bags may be famous for their complexity, but this bag crosses the line into territory that’s best left untraveled. Buy through Bergdorf Goodman for $1695.

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