Balenciaga at the Beach: Summer Totes

Angela Ranieri

Handbag Veneration

Balenciaga Work Bag

The creativity of fashion designers and the final product is a sacred art form to me. I’ve been known to stare at a handbag and marvel in the detail of the construction, textile choice and ultimate intended end use. It would be impossible for me to say that one quality marks a great accessory but I can confidently say that the mark of greatness in the luxury fashion world is the ability to toe the line between “on trend” and brand recognition in the final product.
Balenciaga, headquartered in France and owned by Kering, not only toes the line, but ‘tightropes on the line’ while wearing rollerblades without a single fall.

Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag

You may have been introduced to Balenciaga in the early 2000s when the brand shot to popularity with the “Motorcycle Bag”; in particular, The Lariat. I love that bag; any size, color or fabric will do. It’s the perfect combination of edge, sophistication and versatility.


The danger in that kind of popularity with such a distinct design is the wonder of “what do we do next?”

Let’s face it, fashion is just as fickle as music, and it’s hot for a second and then “so last season.” When I look at the evolution of Balenciaga over the last 20 years, I’m amazed.  By no means was this an overnight success.

Cristobal Balenciaga Eizaguirre

Balenciaga is of French origin, and was founded by Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre, a native of Spain. Like Michelangelo and Leonardo, he was known by his first names: Cristóbal Balenciaga. He opened his first boutique in San Sebastián, Spain in 1919, which expanded to include branches in Madrid and Barcelona. His designs were worn by royalty and aristocrats. The Spanish civil war prompted Balenciaga to move to Paris where he opened his first couture house in 1937.

He was known as a perfectionist, especially when it came to sleeves. “It was perhaps a sign of real personal attention if you were one of the rare clients that he had lunch with, and at the end of the lunch he ripped out [your] sleeve and reset it.” — Mary Blume, author of ‘The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, His Workrooms, His World’

Seventy years later, the motorcycle bag infiltrated the high fashion accessory market and the brand has been wowing ever since. Suddenly if you wanted the “It” bag you were seeking a Balenciaga.

Summer Totes

Bistro Cabas Small Straw Tote Bag blue

As I write this, almost 20 years after that craze, Balenciaga has introduced a tote for the summer that caught my eye not only for the colors, but also for the function!

Bistro Cabas Small Straw Tote Bag blue OPEN

People like me, carrying loads of items in the summer from wipes to changes of shoes, to the occasional beach shovel or action figure, will appreciate the room available in this bag. The Bistro Cabas Small Straw Tote Bag ($2050) is one to check out if you are seeking a luxurious alternative to a traditional summer tote.

Bistro Cabas Small Straw Tote Bag blue CLOSED

The top handles are leather and very comfortable to carry.

Bistro Cabas Small Straw Tote Bag red;. Closure at top

The top provides easy access to your belongings, as it is open with the option of a snap closure.

Bistro Cabas Small Straw Tote Bag red. Closure at bottom


The bag is available in red or blue at Neiman Marcus.

Check it out and stay sassy!!


[EDITOR’S ALERT] Summer Sale at Neiman Marcus !   Original: $2,050.00   Extra 25% off: $1076.25



Author’s Biography
Angela Ranieri joins us as Contributing Editor with an extensive background in Fashion, Beauty and Digital Media. She has worked with PRADA USA Corp., Jurlique, Amore Pacific and the New York Daily News in management capacities including Marketing, Client Relations, Employee Relations and Training Management. She has authored and published the column, “Ask Angela,” featured on the Amore Pacific USA website. Her beauty advice has been featured in Shape and Fitness Magazines and CBS News.

She is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Writing. Angela also has an MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, her Market Research on the Electric Car was published for University use.

Angela is currently creator of Circuit Cosmetics, a Brand Ambassador for luxury beauty line, Patchology, an On Air Guest for QVC and blogger for

In her spare time you can find Angela running, spinning, practicing yoga or getting beautified. She resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her Husband, Son, and Chihuahuas.

About Angela Ranieri

Contributing Author on AlphaLuxe web magazine. View all posts by Angela Ranieri →

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