As any regular reader of this blog knows we feature a handbag every day. After all, if there is any symbol of the rise of the luxury market aimed at the masses it is the "it bag" the bag that is released and suddenly dangled off every celebrity's arm. Everyone must have it for a season or so and then, just as quickly, everyone quickly consigns it or relegates it to the back of the closet. The Fendi baguette, the Vuitton Multicolore Speedy, the Chloe Paddington and so many others have been loved and then discarded. But could all this buying be slowing down. The NY Times' Eric Wilson took on the question of whether the status bag is on the way down.
There's no question that tthe mid-range luxury consumer that fueled the bag frenzy of the past few years, is cutting back.
While once a trendy bag was the way to show the world you had made it (and much cheaper than the status car or the status home), now in troubled economic times it seems like an easy place to trim the fat. Especially since, as designers churned out more and more special and limited editions it has become impossible to keep up with the latest trends.
If I had to choose a "jump the shark" moment for the handbag craze it would have to be the release of the Louis Vuitton Patchwork Tribute bag,
the $45,000+ haphazard creation shown at right which was last spring. I might also speculate that more and more consumers are becoming aware that their bags are less likely to be coming from a French atelier and more often are being churned out in a Chinese factory.
Handbags are clearly not going away. And for the true fashionista there will always be a market for a beautifully done bag. As in other markets, a loss in status or interest usually pushes the dilettantes out, leaving the dedicated obsessives behind.