Snob Essentials

Bea Valdes for Couture Lab



We’d like to take a moment and introduce you to our newest advertiser, Couture Lab. It is the brainchild of one of the original founders of Net-a-Porter, Carmen Busquets. Couture Lab offers one of a kind, offbeat items that transcends time and trend. The site is not intended to please the masses, but rather, for the few who crave items that will tantalize and thrill. Like the Bea Valdes clutches made especially for Couture Lab. beavaldes3.jpgI am obsessed with the Marharlika evening bag. If it were any bigger, it would be garish but in a tiny size– it’s a glittering jewel of a bag. The beaded details are lavish but appropriate for an evening bag and the little tiny feathers add whimsy and fantasy. I am not one to love such embellished bags but these are so uniquely ornate that I couldn’t help but admire the imagination and creativity it took to create.

“We want to sell products with a story and tradition behind them; there is a world out there far bigger than fashion,” Busquets says. She adds that each piece of CoutureLab merchandise has some sort of traditional technique or artisan’s skill behind it, noting the weighted hemlines of L’Wren Scott’s handmade black dresses and the fact that an Ethiopian chair is carved from a single piece of rosewood.

I love browsing through the site, it offers items that I have never seen before and allows me a taste of luxury beyond seasons and trends. Please check out the site if you have a moment! Bea Valdez clutches start at $2,540 at

Source: Couture Lab and W



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  1. Like wow. Don´t really know how to react about these bags. Carrying something like this means no other jewels needed. Personally I´d skip these.

  2. Hi Tina,

    I was really excited when I read your latest post. It’s nice to know Filipino talent is being featured on Bag Snob because you guys are so influential!

  3. are you calling these bags pretty because they are advertisers and paying you..because these bags are ugly!!!

  4. Hi Cinthia,

    We always disclose when we do an editorial of an advertiser– it would be a disservice to you as a reader if we did not. We have nothing to hide 🙂

    As for the bags, we have always loved Bea Valdes, from the time we discovered her on the Barneys New York website– each of her bags are painstakingly handmade and yes, I find them charming and exotic.

    Here was our first review of Bea, back in 2006.

    Hi John, glad you think so. We love the story behind Bea Valdes and her “babies”!

  5. I am a loyal bagsnob fan and come here everyday to look at all the bags (that someday I’ll may have the cash to buy haha!). But these bags are just plain terrible!

    The color, the shape, the embellishments… they look cheap! something an old aunt who just came back from her church trip to Arabia would get you… And you’ll have to fake a happy face while opening the present.

    I’m not there with you Bagsnobs.

  6. I’ve never been a fan of those bags and aren’t of these either.

    So I was surprised at all the goodies on the website, and so many classifications like lifestyle and culture you don’t find on other websites. Navigation does get a little confusing sometimes, but overall nice website, lots of great items!

  7. I’ve seen CoutureLab products before,You’ve also featured Gabriel Square Pocket Bag from Renaud Pellegrino Collection,which is available on that site and I really don’t like any of their stuff. Everything looks overpriced and plain ugly (that Brown Giraffe Print Handbag by Denise Razzouk for CoutureLab-gross or Black Tie Clutch by Alexis Mabille for CoutureLab-you’ve slagged of pretty much the same design but with Valentino’s logo) But, one should not discuss other people taste,or so I was told.

  8. Interesting? Yes. Cute? Nope. Functional? Nah.

    These are better suited for an art museum that deals in hand crafts.

  9. I’m not a huge fan of those bags, but I can see where they would fit a certain style or event. What I do like is the idea of finding elite, art level handcrafts outside of the corporate world of fashion. Really what is fashion snobbery but ascribing to a certain code at the expense of other ideas.

    I think the idea of someone having a refined eye and ferreting out luxury goods of impeccable taste and craftmanship while being utterly unique is the ne plus ultra of style. CoutureLab might not get it right everytime, but they are going after something a little ‘more’ than the expensive language of branded luxury. Hurrah for the fearless.

  10. I’m all FOR craftsmanship, but these bags are seriously ugly.I’m a bold dresser myself, I like to try original combinations with clothes and I like interesting bags, but these are just…UGLY!! ! I’m sorry but they just are…

  11. As far as these bags go, they are interesting, cute, and somewhat difficult to match with an appropriate outfit, IMO, but its great to be able to evaluate a product based on something besides the designer’s name alone.

    I have to say, I very much appreciate the bagsnobs taking a look a some original luxury that is driven by more than a desire for the appropriate labels.

  12. These bags are interesting and so unusual! Anyone else sick of simple evening bags? I am! I have to be so appropriate at the office during the day, at night I’d love to get a little wild and tribal with these bags!

  13. I think these bags ok but they are well overpriced. I have seen very very similar bags on my travels in the Far East at a fraction of the price and I really mean AT A FRACTION.

  14. I saw these bags @ Harvey Nichols today in Central, Hong Kong. They are tiny (like the size of my fist and i have tiny hands). They were in glass cabinets w/ little tags saying “not for sale”.

    Honestly, yes the work is intricate, but no, they are hideous in person. The ones on display @ Harvey Nichols had red and black n’ stuff… it looks like cheesy souvenir bags my grandma buys me from her China trips …

  15. Gi – agreed, I bought some very similar ones from China and Thailand a few years ago, they were really cheap but well made so I bought a few. I had thought that I would use them in the evenings but have never done so as they do actually look like “cheesy souvenir bags”!

  16. Not a huge fan of these bags but I’m sure a great deal of work goes into them!!

    Had really bad new this weekend…I had a letter from Hermes in Paris after telling me my bag is ready “my 1st Birkin” I received a letter saying due to poor quality leather mybag is not ready!! I was so excited that i would have my bag in a few weeks!!! =(

    Tina your going to have to post your collection soon to cheer me up and give me a Hermes fix!!

    I heard you mention you have two crocs on order…are those your 1st Birkin crocs?!

    Hope you and Kelly are both well and enjoying your summer! Have you had any luck finding the imposter?


  17. he bags are gorgeous! I’m proud of Bea Valdez as she is a talented filipino and as a filipino (yes you read that right)makes me feel good! even thoush she isnt really over-the-top popular here…there is still quite a number of people who know her. especially in Philippine High Society

  18. i love these bags! this is what i call fashion! as for the price, i heard that they are very well made, they might be even called “industrial” bags because they are painstakingly beaded by hand – unlike those made in china or india. it will take decades before these bags are destroyed. that would justify the price, plus the creativity that come with making them.

  19. these bags are NOT for simple people with simple tastes. you have got to love FASHION to love these bags. the editors at vogue liked the designs so much they featured it in their mag.