Fall's Fantasy Handbags Are A Dream Come True

Fashion has always been a form of escapism, a way to break away from the daily monotony, the sea of khakis and T-shirts, and the sameness that traps those who don't see the potential of clothing. For those who are really good at fashion, they're able to take us along on their ride, transporting us to a fantasyland, a different time — or at the very least — a different mood. Women cut from that cloth known how to manifest dreams out of fabric, color, and trinkets.
"Heads should turn," says Elaine Newman, resident of Margate, FL. "I like things with flair. I like that someone goes 'wow' when they look at you. I don't ever want to melt into the background, ever, which is why I will never wear beige."

We met up with Newman and some of her friends and Floridan neighbors who share a similar perspective about fitting in (you never should) to model some of these season's most whimsical, fantastical, wait-what-is-your-bag? handbags. These women refuse to be invisible, which made them the perfect candidates to show off some fantasy bags that aren't quite what they appear to be.
Special thanks to the Delano South Beach.
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
Chicos top; Topshop jacket; Topshop Leopard Print Cropped Trouser, $65, available at Topshop; Anna Sui cat purse; Model’s own glasses.
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
Chicos top; Topshop jacket; Topshop Leopard Print Cropped Trouser, $65, available at Topshop; Anna Sui cat purse; Model’s own glasses.
Louis Levine: "I like the animal print, even though I didn't in the beginning. But I thought it was extremely fashionable. I loved the bags with the cats — I thought it was classy. I felt it was good with my outfit."
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
Stella McCartney dress; Oscar de la Renta Women’s Multicolor Impatiens Gold-Plated Resin Clip Earrings, $425, available at Lyst; Yazbukey bag; Andy Wolf sunglasses; Model’s own ring.
Elaine Newman: "I change bags every day, according to what outfit I wear. I would never wear — excuse me — a boring Louis Vuitton bag, because I want the color to match my clothes. And it always does. Everybody always notices it, too."
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
Ellery dress; Dolce & Gabbana purse; Andy Wolf sunglasses; Ippolita Glamazon 18K Gold Mini Jet Set Earrings, $1,595, available at Ippolita.
Enis Notaro: "I loved the eye-catching beauty of the handbags I modeled. They’re truly unique pieces of art. I especially loved the one that resembled a stack of books, reminding us of the importance of reading."
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
Michael Kors dress; Nanette Lepore Vineyard Tour Jacket, $192, available at Nanette Lepore; Andy Wolf sunglasses; Thom Browne purse; Dinosaur Design earrings.
Zoraida Perez: "I never leave the house without earrings, a necklace, my bags, and my shoes! Those things must go accordingly to what I wear! Those bags [I modeled] were beautiful. Simple, but beautiful. And the quality was good. I don’t know how much the prices were for the bags, but they were not cheap!"
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
M Missoni Bicolor Mesh Zig Zag Top, $495, available at Saks; Alice + Olivia Elinor Flora Wide-Leg Pants, $98, available at Neiman Marcus; Prada Cahier Bag, $2,660, available at Prada; Kate Spade earrings; Model's own sunglasses; Kate Spade earrings.
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
M Missoni Bicolor Mesh Zig Zag Top, $495, available at Saks; Alice + Olivia Elinor Flora Wide-Leg Pants, $98, available at Neiman Marcus; Prada Cahier Bag, $2,660, available at Prada.
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Newman: "Everybody says I’m very matchy-matchy. Every color coordinates with what I have on, but I mean, it's a compliment."
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
Awake dress; Of Rare Origin Chicks Earrings, $750, available at OfRareOrigin; Poppy Lissiman Floral Flap Bag, $150, available at PoppyLissiman; Gucci Cat-Eye Sunglass, $405, available at Gucci.
Notaro: "The dresses were so glamorous, made of vibrant colors and beautiful textures, yet comfortable and fitting with my fun personality. Every killer outfit should have its own individual style and should include a great bag, the perfect shade of lipstick, and most important: a great occasion to wear it to!"
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
BCBG palm tunic dress; Sarah’s Bag Fantasy Island Le Carre, $1,200, available at Sarah’s Bag.
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
BCBG dress; Model's own earrings; Sarah’s Bag Fantasy Island Le Carre, $1,200, available at Sarah’s Bag.

Levine:
"I just retired three years ago and all the young people in the office used to say, ‘When I get to be your age, I want to be just like you.' Personally, I always wanted to be a standout. You don't want to be run-of-the-mill. I’m a yo-yo person. I have been thin, skinny, and I’ve been quite obese. No matter what size, I felt that I was always put-together.”
Photographed by Michelle Groskopf.
Chicos No Tummy Pants in Azurite, $69, available at Chicos; ASOS jacket; Sarah’s Bags clutch; Marion Vidal earrings.
Zoraida: "The outfit that I wore, there was a glary one that it wasn’t what I would usually wear, but I understood why [the stylist] wanted me to for the photoshoot. It was very shiny with sequins and all that."
September is typically a time when fashion publications definitively tell you what’s in, and what’s out. Fuck that. We’re dedicating the next couple of weeks to celebrate all the iconoclasts, independent thinkers, and individuals with unique personal styles who’d rather say Fuck The Fashion Rules than follow them.

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