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It’s the social nightmare of every New York lady worth her Louboutins: she gets decked out in her black-tie best and arrives at the party only to find that someone else is wearing the exact same outfit. But at Carolina Herrera’s show Monday morning, there was nary a catfight in sight when a slew of well-heeled ladies including Valesca Guerrand-Hèrmes, Susan Fales-Hill and Minnie Mortimer showed up toting the same handbag. The bag in question was the Mercer, a $1,300 needlepoint, CH logo design, trimmed in bright orange and yellow leather. It’s from the fall collection of the three-year-old CH Carolina Herrera line, which is sold in freestanding stores, three of which have opened so far with six more planned for next year.

Judging from the response, the purse seems to have found a strong fan base among veterans and converts alike.

“I was always kind of intimidated by her,” said Isabella Brewster (Jordana’s sister) of the designer as she happily showed off her new accessory. “She’s so elegant and classy and refined. But now she’s gotten much cooler.”

Muffie Potter Aston was particularly enamored of the Mercer’s hefty size.

“It holds everything — it’s like a laundry bag. Thank God for Carolina Herrera,” she gushed. Seated right next to her, Fales-Hill was also putting the purse’s capacity to the test: hers was stuffed to the brim with newspapers and her Tod’s driving shoes, a necessary respite from her photographer-ready stilettos.

But fashion is a fickle business and even obliging social ladies have their limits. At the Oscar de la Renta show a few hours later, many of the same women arrived, sans Mercer. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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