Home Fashion Michelle Vale— Handbags That Are Oh, So Necessary

Michelle Vale— Handbags That Are Oh, So Necessary



Photography by James Palmar

As a girl who recently gave up handbags for shoving my Metrocard and lip-gloss into my pocket, I figured that the Michelle Vale showing was going to be a tough sell. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a 16-year love affair with handbags, but even though I have been carrying them since I was 7, I have never found a bag that is uniquely me. Enter Michelle Vale.

I am a texture, luxe fabric, and substantial hardware freak. Michelle addresses all of my needs like she consulted me before creating her fall 2009 collection. Lets discuss a few. My hands down favorite was the Entrechat. With an Italian Calfskin exterior, handmade trim, and a suede-lined interior, I was in texture heaven. I closed my eyes and let my fingertips feel the design like I was reading an erotic Braille novel (do those even exist?). My second favorite is the Chaine, which is large enough to fit a change of clothes if I am having an after work rendezvous but still chic for say, a debauchery filled night out.

Her spring 2010 line is still all about luxury but with an added staple, utility. For spring, totes are the new mini bag and Michelle’s totes are that rare combination of useful and luxurious. She also continues to play with interchangeable hardware and amazing fabric (Can we say stingray? Michelle said to me “I hate using them because they are such beautiful animals” but as I fingered the fabric I was thinking ‘you have to do what you have to do. Sorry PETA’).

The best part about Michelle Vale’s line is the options. Interchangeable hardware, different fabric choices, strap or no strap; it is a selective woman’s dream. Michelle explained to me that her bags are about modern romanticism. They are investment pieces that acknowledge and even start trends but with classic styling and quality detailing ensuring a heavy rotation in your closet for years to come.  As I sniffed leather and caressed hardware, I realized, this is what Michelle Vale is about; she is about the details.

Needless to say, Michelle caused me to commit a cardinal sin last night. I lusted. I lusted after the leather. I coveted the heavy hardware. I wanted every bag in her collection. I looked through my phone book to see which boyfriend wanted to invest in my future-– aka the Pique clutch–, which would also earn him a fond memory long after we are no longer speaking. As soon as I find the right candidate I will be snatching up a few of her pieces. I will no longer be the grown woman with lip-gloss smeared pockets but instead will be the little girl that loves handbags once again.

Paige Gamble: handbag designer and her own ‘hidden gem.’





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