18 Ninth Ave., at 13th St.; 212-647-8415
Designer-produced “It” bags, as often as not, don’t have much more than a logo to justify their four-figure price. Henry Beguelin’s bags aren’t cheap, either, but the craftsmanship is obvious: buttery leathers, tiny bead details, deep colors you won’t see anywhere else. The small bags start at $595—a good value, given that each piece is painstakingly made by hand and actually looks it; you can practically see the little old Italian man carefully stitching each bohemian-style bag with the signature wax thread, punching holes, and adding beads to the fluid, broken-in leather. The blue leather hobo with tassels and ruched-leather handles ($1,500) and bronze clutch ($385) are understated standouts.
Best Small Bags
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).