Molto bene! There’s a reason Italy is famed for its high-quality leather and way with skins – they have a taste for the finer things in life, whether your talking wine or bags. Whether you’re the urban adventuress (Bottega Veneta takes luxury to the next level), the quirky modern spectator (in typical Marni fashion), the racy and rebellious academic (Fendi went directional), or the ingénue with a need for speed (Prada’s girl is the pin-up behind the wheel), Milan delivered bags to swoon after now and save up for later.
Bottega Veneta: You know it’s difficult to beat Bottega Veneta when it comes to innovations in material and craftsmanship. The house has been upping the ante in the realm of details season by season and Spring 2012 is no exception. Designer Thomas Maier was intent on merging “technology and handcrafts,” and that concept was most present in the stirringly luxurious bags. Hot colors and equally simmering neutrals: rich textured purple leather, slouchy orange as ridged and juicy-looking as the fruit itself, metallic intrecciato, ombré crocodile, and lizard overlaid with intricate weave. Coatings of grommets galore created a starry night on the big duffels and hobos. The ostrich top-handle, adorned in the tiniest of grommets is particularly amazing – with ostrich quills, it makes for a great play on opposing textures.
Marni: Marni went for clean, minimal lines in happy-go-lucky colors and Monet-esque florals, and the bags similarly matched the sunny disposition of the ready-to-wear pieces. Think spectator bags to match your spectator shoes (worn with nude pantyhose-ish socks, no less). The slim two-tone handbags were marked by light perforation and a cheeky nod to classic menswear. But it’s that jumbo leather weave that steals the show – a three-dimensional effect that’s pure Marni fun. What’s not to love?
Fendi: A collection inspired by a neurologist over a century old and mathematical formulas?! Fendi is in a very forward-thinking mood and it shows. While the clothes took on a more somber feel, jumbled up with kooky tinted sunglasses and wild bouffant hairdos, the bags brought a mild sense of excess. The sack within a sack idea is kind of cool – a structured resort-style tote in summery weaves and lacquered crocodile, with a drawstring pouch built right in (though I prefer it neatly tucked into the bag for less clutter). What makes the totes is the way they’ve been treated – leather has been perforated and studs have been mixed with suede to give them interesting texture play.
Prada: Fast-moving cars for fast-living girls – and handbags to match the quick-paced mood. That’s what Miuccia was thinking for her slick collection that melded strong and sweet with verve we rarely see. Framed top-handles brought sleekness and structure, but coated in inky gleam and bedazzling studs they felt fresher than ever. Some clutches borrowed direct inspiration from the automobile – the opening of a baby-blue clutch is reminiscent of a retro fender, while bows femme it up – while others gave nods to old-school tattoos (think rose appliqués) and some just flaunted their slithery skin.