Elaine Arsenault

Elaine Arsenault

Photo: Cititour.com

Neighborhood: East Village
Type of Place: Handbags

It isn't easy to sum up Elaine Arsenault's handbag designs. They're
stylish for sure, but they're never over the top. They're chic, but you
wouldn't call them trendy. They're classic but not at all commonplace,
and they're practical, but they aren't dull. They've got subtle but
eye-catching fabrics and elegant lines, in colors that are interesting
without being overpowering. We know "intelligent" might sound like
an odd description for handbags, but in the case of Arsenault's work,
it's an apt one.

Arsenault has been a handbag designer for almost 13 years; this
summer will mark her fourth anniversary in her East Village shop. She
makes the bags by hand, in carefully chosen materials—"I have to like
it in order to work with it," she explains. "A certain pattern or color
be very popular, but if it's not right for me, I won't use it." Her
range from $35 for a fabric clutch to $210 for a large bag in two
materials. For spring, we especially loved her designs in an
gold metallic; a uncluttered burnt-orange-and-pale-gold pattern; and a
robin's egg blue fabric with flowers delicately outlined in light

In an age when too many women—and, increasingly, men also—seem
to hope that the designer logos blaring from their accessories will say
something about them to the world, it's beyond refreshing to discover
Arsenault's thoughtful and well-made creations—handbags for women
who are more than comfortable defining, and speaking for, themselves.   - Pamela Grossman; March 8, 2005

Elaine Arsenault
305 East 9th St.
New York, NY
(212) 228-3251