Musing: the $10,000+ designer bag

In culture, Fashion on February 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Up early and in need of ideas, I read an old issue of Sunday Times Style from my archive. The issue, a spring 2012 fashion week round-up, was nothing I hadn’t read before, but I came to a page I’m surprised I hadn’t noticed. A group of editors gave their verdicts on ‘it’ bags of the moment: satchels, clutches, Middy bags (those loved by the Middleton sisters) and, to my surprise, the super bag. What is that? Well, judging by the title, it ain’t hard to tell.

At least I respect the linage and craftsmanship of the Birkin bag.


I’m not talking of the mythical Hermès Birkin bag (I say that because it’s virtually impossible to get), but these brands by celebrities-turned-designers who believe a tiny bit of clout is reason for an atrociously priced piece of luxe. As if. Some established designers also revel in the liberties. Take a $16,900 (USD) Croc Small Tomodachi Bowling bag by Zagliani. Zagli who? Or the $21,580 Namaste Big Hobo by Valextra. Valex what? I suppose that’s the point. Never mind that they resemble something I probably passed walking past the dump of accessory racks at marked-down department store Winners. As for the Olsen twins – owners of the coveted The Row brand – and their Python Tall Day Tote for $19,000 (USD), ladies, you make beautiful stuff, I’ll give you that, but you’re not Chanel. Oh! And yes, Ms. Posh Spice with her Alligator Victoria bag for $25,776 (USD). And society wants to get down on rappers for wearing diamonds in their mouths?



Kanye West and his diamond encrusted teeth. Which one’s worse?

These bags are the equivalent to cougars with too much botox and collagen injections. Yes, I say this because they are. To be honest, though I am a fan of real fur – which I wear for warmth – the idea of wearing a crocodile on my shoulder seems absurd. Actually, a little climatic story, I bought a vintage fox fur scarf from e-Bay. vintage, from the 1950s. I wore it on the tube. This woman sits beside me and says ‘Poor thing’ in this patronizing manner. I snap back ‘oh so poor’. She says ‘I suppose it’s too late now.’ First of all, wench, my fox fur vintage stole costs about as much as a new pair of sneakers. And yes, my vintage furs, which I would only ever buy, are doing just fine. Fresh new animals? No. Never.

Back to the current issue at hand. All that would be missing is a leopard print one piece and Sergio Rossi heels. To say it’s offensive is mildly put. This exorbitant price is the cost of someone’s yearly wage in a first world country.  It’s tuition fees. It’s a down payment on a mortgage. Why, on this earth, should I pay this ludicrous price for something that depreciates in value once you make the purchase. Not like I don’t swoon over a couture concoction, that’s my job. But there’s a reason fashion is a fantasy. The problem is when it becomes a reality. Animals are killed, labour inflation, 1000 per cent mark-up all so can prove your place within an elite society.

Victoria was tired of spending money on the Birkin, so she made one herself.

You know, I was thinking I’d rather wear diamonds in my mouth. But then again, with the exploitation and corruption of people and resources – i.e., Africa – for that rubbish, it doesn’t fare any better.


One of the editors concluded (after barely being able to use it) that for  Beckham’s retail price, the bag had better rub her feet and sing her to sleep. If you ask me, the bag had better be lined in 24 carat gold and come with Ms. Beckham herself. Non-negotiable.

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