I Found a Fabulous New Bag... AT GAP?!?!

Sunday, July 30, 2006 • Permalink • 

Gap Leather butterfly satchel
Gap Leather butterfly satchel
When Gap hired Emma Hill, the designer behind a number of Marc Jacobs' insta-classic handbags, to be the new Vice President of Accessories in 2002 I was a little confused. Don't get me wrong, I shop at Gap and love their stuff, but I couldn't figure out what a trendsetting designer like Emma Hill would want with such a mainstream clothing company. Surely Gap wasn't planning to become a cutting-edge accessories powerhouse like Marc Jacobs, was it?

Well, the accessories coming out of the Gap design studios did improve. The tote bags were cute; the handbags were on-trend. Still, nothing that I would actually sport on a daily basis. I'm a fan of Botkier, Kooba, Be & D, Chloe, Rafe, and the like-- Gap just wasn't up to my exacting standards. That was then, this is now. I've seen the new fall Gap handbags and I am ready to eat my words.

Gap Contrast trim canvas satchel
Gap Contrast trim canvas satchel
The new Gap handbags are amazing! They are trendy and modern, and have a certain sensibility that elevates them above the "mainstream fashion" stereotype. If I saw any of these bags on the arm of one of the supermodel lookalikes that frequent my neighborhood I would swear that they were designer goods. Yes, the prices have gone up a bit by Gap standards, but these bags are still priced way below the typical designer handbag. Despite the very affordable prices, these bags are long on details and special touches.

Gap Reversible hobo bag
Gap Reversible hobo bag
The design on the Leather Butterfly Satchel (above left) is classy, not campy, and the leather is butter soft and color-rich. A perfect complement to fall's sleek and subdued color palette. For a more sophisticated look, the Contrast Trim Canvas Satchel (above right) is grown-up and work appropriate, and the trim adds an upscale touch to the practical canvas exterior. Another great choice is the Reversible Hobo (left). The oversized hobo is the handbag for fall and this version is made weekend chic by using a denim exterior and funky blue and red details.

Gap Studded suede bag
Gap Studded suede bag
Yes, I love them all, but I must single out one for special recognition. My absolute favorite is the Studded Suede Bag in white (below right). It is up to the minute in the style department and reminds me of the best bags from my favorite designers. I will wear it non stop with everything from skinny jeans and sweaters to pencil skirts and blazers. It's slightly punk, but quite refined. A space for it in my closet is already reserved right next to my much loved Botkier Clyde.

You can't find the entire bag collection in Gap stores, but you can find all of these and many more new styles online. Three cheers for Gap!