Malini Murjani, the designer behind her eponymous five-year-old label, says, “My life is about extremes.” This mantra describing her lifestyle also pervades her designs. In Murjani’s latest collection, she marries the wild and colorful spirit of Indian fauna with chic and urbane luxury. While delivering such staples as soft, classically shaped shoulder bags in gazelle and pony skins with golden, spherical snap closures, she doesn’t shy away from fantasy pieces. An unabashed use of color and of exotica found in the animal kingdom enliven her collection. Pochettes burst with peacock feathers and dangling beads; clutches shimmer in metallic sea green and gold python; an überluxe mink weekender and hobo bags are spattered with psychedelic hues of tangerine, fuchsia, and chartreuse. The ultimate punctuation? An orangey-brown, pony-skin shoulder bag in eye-popping hues of turquoise and encrusted with cyan agate stone. Paired with this season’s dominant blacks, these cheery accents will add a bit of pop.
Take one step into Jamin Puech stores in Paris or New York and you’ll notice that the brand has lost none of its long-standing creative cachet. Focusing less on the animal kingdom, Benoît Jamin and Isabelle Puech (the duo behind the Parisian label) took direction from the bric-a-brac amassed by some sophisticated vagabond on a madcap, global sojourn. In their latest collection, deliriously diverse embellishments adorn bags (each one-of-a-kind). Distressed, supple leather is impressed with flower prints and stitched with raffia cross-hatching. Flower petals are fashioned out of shiny ivory, and colorful, translucent discs explode in several pieces while velvet paisleys sparkle with paillettes and dangling beads. Linearly arranged, colorful wooden beads give an Iroquois feel, while brown fur trimmings on silk prints reference northern Mongolian tribes. A multiculti journey of fabulousness.
Influenced by the artistic environment of her childhood (a sculptor dad and a seamstress mom), Lorenza Gandaglia is inspired by the burlesque era of the early 20th century. Made using skills learned at her grandmother’s knee, Gandaglia’s intricately crocheted bags take on the names and coquettish personalities of burlesque performers. Lili St. Cyr is a voluptuous cool-hued wool piece decorated with sparkling, silver paillettes and a frilled jabot accented by an agate stone. The petite Candy Barr packs a wallop of chic sauciness with its metallic, colored threads and sparkling clutch chain, an essential already snapped up by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker. Other pieces — Pattie Starr, Dixie Darlin’, and Bubble Darlene — are playfully seductive, dripping with brilliant, lustrous beads, silk soutache, and three-dimensional petals made of shantung.
Usually, such florid eclecticism runs the risk of looking overdone, but, magpie vision coupled with fine craftsmanship makes for high-voltage bohemian glamour. Let the race to become the season’s alternative it bag begin.
Photos: 1-2 Malini Murjani
3-4 Jamin Puech
Lorenza Gandaglia Lily St. Cyr
Lorenza Gandaglia Candy Barr group
Lorenza Gandaglia bags