On the top floor of The Oberoi in New Delhi, amid a flurry of red glitter, Louis Vuitton launched their Fall/Winter 2007 collection of purses, luggage and accessories. The classic bag every fashionista needs and craves has launched a playful line in time for holiday travel. The collection includes new colours, a few new bags and some updated details that hark back to the early days of Louis Vuitton.

The good stuff

The love affair with oversized bags continues. Eventually, our purses will be bigger than us. The Mahina bag is oversized and made of lamb’s leather. It has the slouchy bohemian look we love. And the monogram is pierced through the leather, so it’s a subtle statement. The entire fashion world may stand against me, but the monogram has always smacked of free advertising. I prefer not to carry around giant billboards, so I love the black version of the Mahina, where the monogram can hardly be seen.

Big is in: The Mahina bag (left) and the Neverfull bag in the XXL size works well.

The new Neverfull bag, also an enormous purse, can hold up to 40 copies of the Vogue October fashion magazine. Because that’s just what I’ve been looking for: A purse to carry my 40 copies of the same magazine. I like to have a few extra copies just in case. Actually, the Neverfull’s straightforward, with a nice, comfortable shape. I’m willing to appreciate it, despite the classic monogram print.

Another trend this year is a return to more traditional forms. The company is pushing a return to the original Louis Vuitton signature, marking it on the clasp for their Sunset Boulevard clutch. It adds a playful touch, giving the purse a younger, hipper look. The other big change is the addition of a triangular clasp, another traditional form from the early days of Louis Vuitton. The clasp works well on the smaller purses, especially on the Eugenie Wallet. Part of the Epi collection, the wallet this year has been introduced in a sophisticated ivory colour.

The big push in the line-up will go to the Lockit bags in Suhali leather. The heavy goatskin fabric means the price skyrockets, but the demure, nearly logo-less bag, has a refinement perfect for the older, elegant set. In a move to perhaps draw a more youthful crowd to the bag, a silver and gold version will be released in limited edition towards the end of November. While fun, the bag would still be much better suited for my mother than for me.

The not-so-good

I already stand firmly in the no-monogram camp, but not necessarily for aesthetic reasons. I can admit it is rather pleasing to the eye. However, Marc Jacobs has somehow managed to make the classic brown monogram purse actually ugly by weaving a horrid patent leather red in a glaring criss-cross arrangement as part of the Cruise line. As if knowing the line is doomed for failure, the company will only sell this line as a Flash collection, meaning they will sell out the product and never make it again. Another big miss is the company’s denim line. The Neo Cabby bag has a great shape, another bohemian, slouchy purse, but the denim destroys any credibility. This trend should have stayed out with leg warmers.

Talk plastic

Prices remain as high as ever, with bags starting at around Rs80,000. The products will be available at LV showrooms in The Oberoi in New Delhi and the Taj in Mumbai starting this month.

Melissa A. Bell