I Tried 5 Cult Designer Accessories Everyone's Talking About


Fall is officially here, which means one very exciting thing in the world of fashion: The latest collections are arriving. All the runway shows and buzzy new It pieces we’ve been reporting on for months are finally here, and I always begin shopping in the accessory department. Shoes and bags are the pieces I collect most, so I’ve been studying the designer runways to decide which ones I’ll be adding to my closet. 

This season, I test-drove the best luxury accessories from the F/W 22 collections that I think are worth investing in. For fall, I’m going for items that feel cool and directional—from dramatic proportions to classic designs reimagined with modern twists. Read on for the designers and key pieces I’m backing right now. I truly can’t resist a great shoe or bag, and these are the ones worth paying attention to.


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols; Styling: Balenciaga Deconstructed Jacket ($1790), Cut-Up Mini Skirt ($1050), Low Crotch Jeans ($1290), boots, and Crush Large Chain Bag ($2950))

We’re in the Balenciaga era, no question. With impactful runways that become the most-talked-about shows of the season and celebrity-fronted campaigns, including none other than Kim Kardashian, Balenciaga is in its moment. And the pieces live up to the hype—especially the accessories, in this editor’s opinion. While the Cagole boots and bags launched to It status in 2022, right now, I have my sights set on the Crush bag. The oversize bag, designed in relaxed leather with a chain strap, is a main fixture in the F/W 22 campaign and has already been spotted on a long list of A-list celebrities such as Nicole Kidman and Bella Hadid. If you’re looking for your next statement bag, this is it.

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I simply can’t get enough of all things Prada—this statement is always true but especially in the last several collections. From the season-defining cult white tank top embellished with the brand’s signature triangle logo to the return of the 1995 bag for S/S 22 that originally gained It status when minimalist fashion icon Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy carried it, Prada is hitting on exactly what style people want to be wearing in this moment in fashion. In the F/W 22 collection, Prada introduced yet another piece that is destined to sell out: its chunky Mary Jane heels. Designed with a thick architectural heel and puffy logo on the toe, the shoes take the classic Mary Jane to a cool, modern place. Somehow, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons always predict what the coolest accessory trends will be for the upcoming season, and they managed to do just that with these stunning heels—and I'm placing equal bets on the new airbrushed Supernova bags.

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(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols; Styling: Khaite Estelle Coat ($18,000), Stagg Heels ($1180), and Olivia Large Leather Hobo Bag ($2800))

Khaite is the brand on everyone’s lips right now for its take on style that defines the New York cool girl. "That independent, New York, strong, stealth woman—that is who I’m designing for,” Khaite Creative Director Catherine Holstein said backstage at the S/S 23 runway show. Khaite strikes the almost impossible balance of editorial, directional design and wearability and is in high demand by celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Laura Harrier and in the closets of the best dressed buyers and editors. Simply put, it taps into what in-the-know fashion insiders want to wear. Holstein has a knack for design that turns fashion staples into cult items. Case in point: the Olivia bag. The slouchy hobo crafted from glossy calfskin leather takes on the everyday black bag with a shape that feels modern and sophisticated. It comes in an everyday size you can tuck under your arm but is also designed in a XXL size that is the season’s best take on the giant-tote trend.

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(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols; Styling: Miu Miu Single-Breasted Plaid Coat ($4400), Poplin Shirt ($1270), sweater, Plaid Mini Skirt ($1850), Wander Bag ($3000), Ballerinas ($950), and socks)

While it may be bold to call Miu Miu’s satin ballerinas the shoes of the season, I stand behind that claim. In large part, we have Miu Miu to thank for the balletcore movement and the renaissance of hyper-pretty things—the delicate ballet shoes playing a major role solidifying the larger trend. Fashion insiders have already been snapping up the shoes, and I guarantee that they will be selling out in no time at all, so I would advise anyone who is interested in the ballerina shoes to add them to their cart right away. As always, Miu Miu accessories are too good to resist.

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(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols; Styling: Fendi Pinstripe Shirt ($1190), Houndstooth Skirt ($1190), Slingbacks ($1390), and Fendigraphy Bag ($2590))

Yet another brand that embraced prettiness for fall? Fendi. While the sheer pastel slip dresses, lingerie-inspired corset tops, and stunning tailored pencil skirts from the brand’s F/W 22 collection might solidify the house’s commitment to light and frothy things, it’s the bags that really drive that home. But they also provide a counterpoint. Designed in the season’s popular crescent shape and constructed with beautiful checked fabrics, the Fendigraphy bags appear to have the makings of easy, discreet bags to carry under your arm. That is, until you flip them over to expose the Fendi motif spelled out in graphic gold lettering on the bottom—the perfect nod to a logo bag, all the while remaining discreet if you prefer.

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Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including Vogue.com, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.