My friendship with Tina Craig and Kelly Cook of Bag Snob is of no coincidence; I’ve always been a fine admirer of high quality purses, and my closet can attest to that!

However, while Tina and Kelly look to the runways for their inspiration, I go directly to my mom. Here I present to you the holy grail of handbags, the trifecta of sophistication: my collected (and inherited) Hermès trilogy.

1. First up is my Kelly Bag with alligator skin, custom made for my mom in 2000.  At that time I was working in Paris, and it took three trips to have the bag produced.  This first time Hermès turned me down until they realized it was for my MOTHER and not for ME—in true French fashion, “But Patti, why didn’t you say so?” The second time, we had to pick the alligator skin, and, well, what I don’t know about alligator hide could fill a book. The third and final time was to pick the hardware— “But Patti, the workshop refuses to make the bag with chrome hardware, they insist on using gold!” The best part was that in customs, afterward, we realized that the alligator was actually born and raised in Mississippi! I think he must be happy to have come home.

2. Trim Bag in amazonian rubber. Again, custom made for my mom. Alas, the rubber is CRACKING! Argh! Can someone please help?

3. Lastly, another Kelly Bag, this time in black calfskin. It was inspired by the bag Gwyneth Paltrow carried in the film, “A Perfect Murder” and one of the few pieces Hermès deigned to make with chrome hardware.