Polish your look with the perfect purse.
By Susan Peck
To indulge in the hottest handbag trends from New York, London, Paris and Milan this spring, you won’t have to venture very far away from home. Local luxury boutiques in Birmingham, Franklin and West Bloomfield all specialize in exclusive handbags from many of the top American and European designers.
Committed fashionistas can find the most-coveted spring handbag styles at destination boutiques like Tender, Lori Karbal and My House of Style in downtown Birmingham.
Handbags With Swag
More is more when it comes to handbags this season. It’s all about the embellishments or trim you’ll find adorning them like sterling silver hardware, beading, tassels and fringe.
Designers are also adding functional elements to the handbags like an attached flashlight or zippers to expand the size, which is perfect for travel.
It’s a fashion flashback to the ’70s this spring, where you’ll see metallics, velvet and geometric designs with bold color combinations. Pastels are ruling the color palette, with pink and turquoise being frequent favorites.
Cross-over shoulder bags, supple bucket bags and fold-over clutches are currently seen in most every line from the more affordable, like The Limited, to luxury designers such as Lanvin, Miu Miu, Giambattista Valli and Martin Grant.
While it’s fun to wear what’s most contemporary and au current, the new rule for fashion — including handbags — is that there are no rules. It’s more about expressing your own individuality and personality in a way that’s unique to you. Mix and match is the only thing that’s in. It’s about fashion meeting function and comfort meeting chic. This all leaves room for making a statement and creating your own style that’s true to you.
Recognized as among Harper’s Bazaar’s style leaders, Tender boutique owners Cheryl and Karen Daskas showcase designers from Europe this spring and especially love the stunning and exotic white python and water snake bag by Nina Ricci, Paris. Finished with custom-made hardware, it can be worn two ways and retails at $4,100.
They’re also excited about the new bag from Jerome Dreyfuss, Paris, that’s denim-colored soft leather that transforms with zippered folds, retailing at $720.
And the hand-stitched leather handbags from Italian designer Henry Beguelin are in high demand.
“The bags are lightweight and have a compartment for everything — your iPhone, wallet and sunglasses — that keep you organized,” Daskas says. “These bags are recognized by the stick figure symbol on each one.” The price for the handbag is $1,555.
My House of Style owner Diane Harris loves the Italian leather handbags from Monserat De Lucca. They are super lightweight totes that are unconstructed and body molding,” she says. “It’s what women are looking for today. The hand-stitched details are chic, and both the look and comfort of the bag are what makes it so popular.”
The Botevara tote comes in colors like charcoal, saddle and a variety of metallics, ranging in price from $345-$365. For a fun statement pouch, check out the imprinted metallic bags with Buddha, lips or eye graphics from ige design, retailing at $165.
From Lori Karbal, the word is that bucket silhouette bags are back in a significant way. Perhaps chasing the Mansur Gavriel Italian handbag obsession, every designer worth his or her weight has a version of this iconic bucket handbag. Lori Karbal is carrying a three-color leather weaved version from Christopher Kon that’s both timeless and has just the right amount of edge. It rivals any designer and retails for $402.
A stone-colored oversized leather clutch, also from Christopher Kon, is an example of the remarkable pieces he delivers season after season, retailing for $228.
To support a hometown designer, check out b.may bags — a collection of deluxe handbags handmade in northern Michigan and sold at a new shop in the Rail District in Birmingham.
Each bag is crafted from exceptional materials such as embossed cowhide, Italian leathers, python and other exotic skins, and each is an ideal balance of structure and color. A must-see is the ombre embossed gator — a classic vertical shopper bag retailing for $625.
It may be the ultimate splurge for your wardrobe, but a fabulous handbag gives you the finish you need to be perfectly polished. It gives you a chance to convey your own style and helps you stand apart from the rest.
“It may look like a big investment, but when you realize you use it every day and not just for one season, it really can be a sensible fashion investment,” Daskas says. NS
Cover image: NBD bra, $68, Cameo skirt, $141, both from Garment Society in Complex, (248) 792-6380. Escama studio circular handbag, $190, artloft. Petra Meiren silver double stick ring, cubic zirconia tips, $285; PETRA Meiren gold ring double stick zirconia tips, $395; Petra Meiren sticks necklace with zirconia tips antique silver, $328; Petra Meiren sticks necklace gold, $328; Petra Meiren long sticks necklace with zirconia tips silver, $272; Petra Meiren long silver bar earrings with zirconia tips, $135; AND Petra Meiren silver sticks bracelet with zirconia tips, $158, ALL AT Artloft. Alessi grow watch in black, $125, Artloft, (248) 647-4007. Photography by Jerry Zolynsky. Makeup done by Erika Broderdorf, hair done by Jena Antonazzo, both from Luigi Bruni Salon.