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5 must-have handbags to update your wardrobe — and add some spring to your step

Handbags specialist Caitlin Donovan selects standout pieces from the live Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christie’s New York

A shiny electric blue Nilo crocodile Drag 26 bag with gold hardware. Hermès, 2014. Estimate $25,000-30,000. This bag is offered in in the Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christies New York
A shiny electric blue Nilo crocodile Drag 26 bag with gold hardware. Hermès, 2014. Estimate: $25,000-30,000. This bag is offered in in the Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christie's New York

This electric blue Nilo Crocodile is a showstopping modern interpretation of the timeless Hermès Drag Bag. Streamlined in design for the 21st century, the Drag Bag — both beautiful and practical — showcases the brand’s high standards for functionality and attention to detail. The bag is the ultimate find for the Hermès collector who values craftsmanship and design, but who wishes to carry an accessory that is understated and not instantly recognisable.

A tangerine ostrich Birkin 30 bag with gold hardware. Hermès, 2016. Estimate $20,000-30,000. This bag is offered in in the Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christies New York
A tangerine ostrich Birkin 30 bag with gold hardware. Hermès, 2016. Estimate: $20,000-30,000. This bag is offered in in the Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christie's New York

There is nothing more chic than the classic Hermès Birkin in the brand’s signature orange hue. Hermès’s use of colour and exotic materials distinguishes the brand, with this bright and cheerful tangerine ostrich skin standing out as an exquisite example. The 30cm size displays the evenly shaped ostrich quills on the carefully constructed frame, and its perfect tone makes it the essential non-black neutral. 

Extraordinarily rare and desirable, there is no greater status symbol than the Horseshoe Birkin. This beautiful 40cm Birkin is grand in size and function. The jewel-toned amethyst crocodile exterior, crafted from the finest of the exotic skins that Hermès uses in production, contrasts beautifully with the bright blue chevre interior. The porosus crocodile — known for its symmetric scales — is buffed with an agate stone to reach its lustrous finish. The effect makes the amethyst tone of the skin resemble the gemstone itself.

Chanel, 2014, A black & white barcode Lucite Lego clutch bag with ruthenium hardware. Estimate $8,000-10,000. This bag is offered in in the Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christies New York
Chanel, 2014, A black & white barcode Lucite Lego clutch bag with ruthenium hardware. Estimate: $8,000-10,000. This bag is offered in in the Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christie's New York

First introduced by Chanel in the Fall/Winter 2014 grocery-themed runway collection, the Lego clutch is as much an object of desire for art connoisseurs as it is for for handbag collectors. The play on the classic child's game is jaunty, while staying true to the fashion house’s aesthetic. But, crafted from Plexiglas and lined in lambskin, the composition is extremely grown-up. The Lego clutch can be held in hand or worn over-the-shoulder with a removable shoulder strap. 

A matte amethyst Nilo crocodile Toolbox 20 bag with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2013. Estimate $20,000-30,000. This bag is offered in in the Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christies New York
A matte amethyst Nilo crocodile Toolbox 20 bag with palladium hardware. Hermès, 2013. Estimate: $20,000-30,000. This bag is offered in in the Handbags & Accessories sale on 21 April at Christie's New York

There is something incredible about an exotic and colourful interpretation of a classic casual day bag. The Hermès Toolbox embodies the Hermès aesthetic of streamlined style married to functionality. This jewel-toned Toolbox in matte alligator amethyst is sure to grab everyone’s attention, with the matte crocodile skin both soft and durable – a difficult accomplishment when working in such a coveted and rare medium. Also wearable over-the-shoulder, the Toolbox is the perfect bag for everyday needs.