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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Shape of Things

Trends in bags have diverged of late. The continuing growth of spring's gigantic bag, as evidenced by the Louis Vuitton/Richard Prince collaboration, is alive and well. But we've also been receiving shipments with smaller, more structured leanings. Hardcase clutches, handsome doctor's satchels and businesslike attaches have clean lines and sharp silhouettes inspired by the professional and political realms.

(Sidebar! As America's political race goes from overheated to red hot, we are wondering: could we be seeing new, unexpected fashion influences? Wonk-chic? Pollster pulchritude?)

With such divergent trends, what's a handbag company to do? If you are Melie Bianco, the answer is simple: both.

The W8-252 – a name that simply trips down the tongue – is an attache in gray and blue, a flat leatherette portfolio with smartly contrasted trim. The crowning detail is a hexagonal handle cutout. It's policy meets pleasure. Think early '70s. Sigourney Weaver in the "Ice Storm." Stylishly confident, powerful, rebuking expectations.

Likewise, the w8-10 overlong clutch in mustard or purple is a bright bar of color across your outfit. The extra length and brilliant hues draw attention to your look like a Dan Flavin in a white-walled gallery.

So naturally we're picturing these bags as a linear pop of color on an otherwise clean-as-a-whistle outfit, meaning pencil skirts, riding boots with clean lines or sexy-spiky office heels and a reduced palette of heather grays, blacks, saddle browns, whites. Add a scarf or ropey necklace to break up the lines.

If the w8-252 attache and w8-10 clutch energize your look by inverting the buttoned-up, the 84004 pops all the buttons off said shirt. These glazed bags in boldly lacquered fall colors are assembled from asymmetrical panels draped, pinched and ruched to create a form that is less handbag so much as frozen explosion of sassy, sensual, voluminous folds.

Again, keep it simple. This bag demands attention; don't fight it. (No A-lines here.) Continue the sense of flow with a layered chain necklace. Try some flat-heeled boots with a slight scrunch or low, chunky heels that work back to this bag's organic shape.

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