Haute Handbags

CTW Features

The fun and froth of the bridal runways is spilling over into the handbag market. The tulle, texture and embellishments – both floral and shimmering – seen on the fall 2012 collections are finding a canvas on handbags, too.

The industry standard – the traditional rectangular clutch – is still an elegant, go-to choice, but it’s not the only one to hold that lipstick, smart phone (for Facebook updates, of course) and maybe a mint or two. Whether brides shop their favorite designers or non-traditional venues, such as Zappos.com, they’ll find different shapes and colors at all price points, from under $100 on up to the thousands.

Like gowns, brides can order bespoke bags. At Flutter Boutique in Minneapolis, Minn., ila Handbags’ envelope-shaped clutches in silk shantung with a double ruffle can be custom ordered in colors from pale pink and charcoal to bright coral and purple with contrast linings for $85 to $135.

“Brides are moving away from the matchy off-white dress and off-white handbag,” says Michelle Hanson, owner of Flutter. “They’re looking for more eye-catching colors that complement. They may do a pop of color based on the bridesmaid dress or use one of their wedding colors.”

The Nordstrom website showcases Coach sequin wristlets in gunmetal or rose gold for $58 and a Sondra Roberts black clutch bejeweled with silk-covered beads for $128. On etsy.com, designer Sherri Weese offers bridal clutches adorned with all-over chiffon rosettes for $79 and sparkling bags with layers of white chiffon ruffles and a rhinestone trim for $49.

For something spendy, brides may opt for the Judith Leiber Airstream Beaded minaudiere, a rounded rectangular carrier fully beaded with silver or gold Austrian crystals, for $1,495 at Neiman Marcus. It also may be difficult to say no to a Christian Louboutin ruched pouch bag in teal satin with a gold frame for $795 on Net-a-porter.com.

Sentimental brides also may like to add a family heirloom to their bag, such as a treasured brooch, to satisfy their bridal requirements of wearing “something old.’

“It’s a fun trend and a nice way to make it your own,” Hanson says.

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