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If you're going to drop a couple of hundred dollars on a handbag, you want it to make a statement. But being Instagram-ready isn't enough anymore. We need our stuff to be functional, too. In other words: We want to have it all.
The problem is many brands still haven't got the memo. It's 2018 and we're still fishing around in our totes like Ahab looking for his whale. And how many times have you ditched the bag you adore because it's too much of a pain to lug around on a night out?
So that's why we're intrigued by Senreve, a new luxury handbag line that takes a Silicon-Valley-via-Tuscany approach to fashion. Co-founder Coral Chung found other bags weren't keeping up with her modern professional lifestyle, where laptops and meeting materials could be the order of the day just as easily as mimosas and brunch. So she set out to apply the data-driven approach she'd learned in her tech industry day job to product development, surveying hundreds of women and creating designs based on their feedback. The result? Bags as sleek and beautiful as they are versatile.
And they have some serious old-school chops, too. Stitched in Italy from 100% Italian leather, Senreve's craftsmen have been in the luxury bag business for over 50 years and use a difficult inside-out technique possible in only a handful of factories in the world. The pebbled finish, durable micro-suede interiors and quality stitching ensure the bags can take a beating and keep going.
It's a mashup of new and old that works for us. Still, premium quality means premium prices, even if Senreve charges less than comparable brands. Here are three of our favorite options at different price points.
1. The Bracelet Pouch ($125, senreve.com) in marine is minimalist and elegant, a perfect companion to your dependable little black dress. It's big enough for essentials, like your phone and charger, but small enough that it won't give you a case of the ol' dead arm after a night on the town. And it feels great: supple, yet sturdy. In a pinch the wristlet strap transforms into a bracelet. (Talk about clutch!)
2. Nothing brightens up an outfit (or a bad hair day) like a shock of yellow, which is why we love the Crossbody ($495, senreve.com) in dandelion. This thing is gorgeous. And it's seriously roomy, despite being less than an inch thin. A swappable gold chain and leather strap mean the bag works no matter how dressed up or dressed down you choose to be. The detachable bracelet pouch is a nice touch. Sure, not everybody will love its Transformers-like qualities, but considering the price, we appreciate a bag with plenty of options.
3. The flagship in the Senreve line is the Maestra ($895, senreve.com). It's the iPhone of handbags: beautiful, clean and minimalist, while still doing a little bit of everything. The care put into the interior will be especially appreciated by today's working woman. Need a place to put your laptop? Check. Phone and charger? Check. How about your gym clothes, water bottle and those leftovers from lunch? Check, check, check. A further miracle: It looks awesome as a backpack, too. And the clever adjustable strap makes going from tote to backpack and back again smooth and simple.
So there you have it. Senreve doesn't have the name recognition of more established brands, and the prices don't reflect the bargain-basement appeal of cheaper alternatives, but it's doing something new and exciting in a luxury space that has been stodgy and shopworn for too long. Senreve is a solid option for anyone who wants a gorgeous high-end bag to do more than just look pretty.