These days, a monogram isn't enough. Women around the world are customizing their handbags—picking the style, skin, and size of their arm candy. At the sunny boutique April in Paris (55 Clement St., San Francisco; 415/750-9910;; bags from $1,600), French-born Béatrice Amblard, a former Hermès designer, saddle stitches and hand-finishes leather purses, briefcases, and travel cases—a process long abandoned by most traditional leatherworkers. On-site or phone consultations are currently booked three months ahead. • Transplanted from Brazil to Manhattan, Roberto Vascon (140 W. 72nd St.; 212/787-9050;; bags from $125) has attracted a devoted following: the average client owns 12 of his creations. Customers go to his Upper West Side workshop (or to his recently opened Henri Bendel counter) to choose among 75 styles and 200 hides. • In Paris, Un Jour, Un Sac (6 Rue des Saussaies; 33-1/42-65-00-03;; bags from $68) lets you devise a tote in two easy steps. First, choose the handles (leather, crocodile, ostrich, PVC), and then the bag itself, which changes by the season. This winter, it's all about tweeds, corduroys, and herringbones.
—Liz Krieger