How could one design house produce two bags I have SUCH opposing opinions about? I’m feeling a little schizophrenic about my emotions at the moment, perhaps because when it comes to their bags, Balmain is revealing they have a multiple-personality disorder.
Since I like to see the glass half full, let’s begin with the Award clutch, a totally thrilling evening bag (with a pulse-quickening price tag to match). Black suede is taken up about a thousand notches when it’s coated in silver-tone crystal mesh. Glamorous-tough black crystal closure, a triangular shape that gives Ziggy Stardust-grade flair, puts it over the edge. Calling all girls who like to rock their cocktail attire with a luxe leather jacket. This is the only clutch you need to be in with the in-crowd.
On a more sobering note, the Abroad messenger bag. While they proved to be ahead of the curve with the hardware-laden clutch, doing it with finesse not bulk, when it comes to this messenger, I have to ask, uh, Balmain, where have you been? This exact style has been done to death by Stella a la the Falabella (although the original was by Donna Karan!) and knocked off the world over. In and of itself, this isn’t a “bad” bag – I like the chains on the wide leather straps, punctuated by whipstitching, and wrinkled leather adds to the rocked-out vibe – but there is nothing fresh to be found, no new perspective or interpretation. And the price, please! At least give us something positive to go on here! I’m going to pretend this one doesn’t exist and keep my eyes on the prize. The Award saves the day!
Award Clutch on Ssense for $3,425.
Abroad Messenger Bag on Ssense for $2,575.