Neighborhood: East Village
Type of Place: Handbags

On my way to hear a band at Arlene Grocery (the Sloe Guns; good stuff!
"Elvis Costello meets the Monkeys" was how another audience member put
it, and that didn't seem too far off), I came across a great-looking
storefront--warm light, clean lines, well-arranged--featuring equally
great-looking bags. They looked sleek, chic, and practical at once; and
the colors were fantastic. And they didn't have huge logos announcing
their "heritage"--a plus in these label-crazy times.

Ducking in, I discovered that the bags represent the Blibetroy line,
named for the phonetic spelling of designer Sarah Bleibtreu's surname.
The shop has a less-is-more aesthetic: There's a decent stock, but it's
not overwhelming, and you can easily see what's available. The bags,
too, are uncluttered in their style. Shop literature explains that they're
designed to carry their carriers from a big business meeting to play
time with the kids to a nice dinner out, looking appropriate and serving
functionally for each occasion; and this seems like it actually would
be true: I could imagine these bags at home in a playground and at Da
Silvano. They're not the cheapest bags you could find; but their
advantages are considerable. And hey--bags currently on the sale rack ($225)
are both beautiful and reversible: One I loved can alternate between a
robin's-egg blue and a shiny purple exterior, and surely, in its
versatility, could take any girl anywhere. I also admired a large satchel in
green patent leather with a distinctive side pocket (also available in
several other colors; $385) and the "Boy Bag" (for men and women; my
favorite was the model in shiny candy-apple red), $280. Both practical and
affordable are the bag-in-a-bag "Tweedles," handmade here in NYC and
starting at $28--put your need-at-the-ready items (phone, business cards,
small baby toy, lipstick?) into the Tweedle and toss it into your
larger tote; or clip the Tweedle onto your belt loop for an actually stylish
take the fanny pack (and you thought that couldn't happen; so did I!).

Stop in; it's well worth a visit. And if you happen to be here in the
evening, consider jumping across the street to Arlene's afterward; who
knows what new-favorite band you'll find. Monday nights there feature
live-band Karaoke: Hey, we only live once.

  - Pamela Grossman

100 Stanton St.
New York, NY 10002