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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Orla Kiely Stem Embossed Handbag


Retro-inspired bags seem to be everywhere. I'm not complaining, trust me. I prefer designers re-visit classic designs and give them a fresh interpretation than attempt to push the envelope of design with trendy creations that deserve their place in a trash bin. The key to a successful vintage-looking design is to retain the elements which made it a classic while blending those details with contemporary twists. For over 15 years, Orla Kiely has been designing everything from handbags to clothing and other accessories in an effort to infuse the fashion world with a bit of whimsy. Ever since her first modest collection, Orla has done just that with wonderful results. Her most refined collection to date is filled with well-appointed bags that incorporate Orla Kiely's signature stem pattern, but my absolute favorite piece is this Stem Embossed Handbag.

The stone-colored patent leather accented by black patent trim as well as honey-hued patent leather top handles and frame top is a wonderful example of a successful color union. The large front and back patch pockets with magnetic closures offer function while the lovely stem-embossed front panel provides a fanciful and very feminine touch. If you're thinking this is just a pretty handbag, you'd be wrong. The hinged main compartment is huge - 13 x 11 x 5 to be exact. The signature-patterned textile lining along with a zipped pocket, slit pockets and attached mirror add to the bag's practical appeal. It's large enough to be an everyday bag, even for busy working women, yet full of sophisticated details that help transition it to evening use with ease. Priced at $453 via Shopbop, the Orla Kiely Stem Embossed Handbag is a fun departure from the rest of the designer handbag pack that won't break the bank.

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