The Holy Grail of handbags is the Birkin from HERMÈS. After all, it is worn daily by its namesake and travels everywhere.
What makes Birkin’s HERMÈS Birkin truly exceptional, though, is the condition it’s in—which is to say, not much of a condition at all: Stickers from her adventures are unceremoniously slapped onto the leather; the exterior’s roughed up; talismans hang from the handle.
A Birkin bag is a perfect rain hat; just put everything else in a plastic bag” is only the first.
Birkin, however, has owned only four Birkins since Jean-Louis Dumas named it after her in 1984. (She’s donated the last two to charity auctions as well.) She is a religious wearer—so much so that the bag sometimes serves as an extension of her physical self. One rainy afternoon in Paris, just before hopping in a taxi, Birkin rang up Vogue with her thoughts on her sartorial legacy. “A Birkin bag is a perfect rain hat; just put everything else in a plastic bag” is only the first.
On personalization: “There’s no fun in a bag if it’s not kicked around so that it looks as if the cat’s been sitting on it—and it usually has. The cat may even be in it! I always put on stickers and beads and worry beads. You can get them from Greece, Israel, Palestine—anywhere in the world. I always hang things on my bags because I don’t like them looking like everyone else’s.”
I hate changing bags, so I never have the thing of having ten bags.
On restraint: “I never have more than one bag at a time. I think one is already quite enough. Also, I hate changing bags, so I never have the thing of having ten bags. Any bag with me will take the same course as mine. It will take the same airplanes, be squashed in the same way, and be used as a cushion in the airports.”
On the Birkin she’s carrying now: “It’s black, but it’s not dirty enough, and it hasn’t gotten any stickers on it. It’s rather bumpy than the other one, but the surface will soon get scratched about.”
What she carries in her Birkin: “I’ve got my agenda, my phone, photos of all the children [daughters Kate Barry, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Lou Doillon], and my makeup, which is all upside down. It’s the nice mess that I always like.”
But if people want to go for the real thing, fine. If they go for copies, that’s fine too. I don’t think it matters.”
On the popularity of the Birkin—both real and fake: “It’s very nice that everyone’s got one or wants one. I keep saying to Hermès to make it out of plastic or, even more fun, make it out of cardboard. Then it wouldn’t be so heavy. But if people want to go for the real thing, fine. If they go for copies, that’s fine too. I don’t think it matters.”
On handing them down: “My daughter Lou does not have one. I think it would be a horrible thing to have a Birkin bag from your mother.”
Can you discern a $10,000 CHANEL bag from a $200 imitation? The truth is, hardly anyone can, causing a massive upheaval in the luxury fashion industry.
I recently found myself strolling through the streets of Paris with a counterfeit CELINE handbag draped over my shoulder. In France, a nation that takes pride in its fashion heritage, the penalties for counterfeiting are strict, with possible consequences including three years in prison for merely carrying my seemingly innocuous knockoff. Yet, my bag’s inauthenticity was virtually indistinguishable. I harbored a thrilling, maddening secret: my bag appeared identical to the genuine article in both design and quality. It was, however, deemed fake and deceitful.
My journey into the realm of exceptionally realistic counterfeit handbags, known as “super fakes” to frustrated fashion brands and intellectual property attorneys, or “reps” to their ardent purchasers, began a couple of years prior during an impulsive moment. It was early 2021 when I was drawn to an advertisement featuring Kaia Gerber clutching a CELINE Triomphe, a simple, tiny rectangular bag with a seemingly outrageous $2,200 price tag.
As a first-generation immigrant, I was determined not to be someone who coveted luxury handbags. However, I succumbed to temptation and began searching for affordable CELINE Triomphe options.
As a first-generation immigrant, I was determined not to be someone who coveted luxury handbags. However, during the seemingly endless days of quarantine, I succumbed to temptation and began searching for affordable CELINE Triomphe options. This led me to a Reddit community of replica bag aficionados who shared information about “trusted sellers” offering CHANEL 2.55, LOEWE Puzzle, or HERMÈS Birkin replicas indistinguishable from the real thing at just a fraction of the retail price.
These astounding replicas originated in China, where a new breed of counterfeit bags has emerged in the last decade, boasting impeccable quality and evading customs effortlessly. These superfakes can deceive even the most discerning eye, leading to a vast and pervasive issue in the luxury fashion world. According to Hunter Thompson, who oversees authentication at luxury consignment site The RealReal, “It’s gotten to the point that you can see something in season replicated within that season.”
With consumers facing rampant inflation, the allure of a $100 replica of a $10,000 HERMÈS Birkin is hard to resist.
Superfakes have become a massive market fueled by the pandemic, stimulus-check spending, and social media platforms like Instagram. With consumers facing rampant inflation, the allure of a $100 copycat of a $10,000 handbag is hard to resist. The challenge of addressing duplication in fashion is a complex one. While design houses spend billions combatting counterfeits, even authentic luxury bags like PRADA Cleos and DIOR Book Totes are produced using machines and templates, begging the question: what truly distinguishes a genuine bag from a fake? Is it simply about who profits from the sale? As the world of super fakes evolves, the lines between authentic luxury and these hyperrealistic replicas become increasingly blurred.
The market for replica luxury bags and superfakes is thriving, with shoppers eager to find a good deal on designer-inspired items. In China, where many of these counterfeit products are made, millions of people are involved in producing and distributing these bags. Guangzhou is considered the epicenter of super fakes production, with bag-making technology and skilled artisans contributing to their rapid proliferation.
The production of superfakes is often reliant on high-quality materials and craftsmanship, with some manufacturers sourcing materials from the same suppliers as luxury brands.
These counterfeit operations have adapted to avoid detection, utilizing a fragmented supply chain that makes it difficult to track and dismantle. The production of super fakes is often reliant on high-quality materials and craftsmanship, with some manufacturers sourcing materials from the same suppliers as luxury brands. Chinese authorities have little incentive to shut down these operations, as they benefit local economies and enjoy support from some consumers who see replica bags as a more accessible alternative to high-end fashion.
As the quality of counterfeit luxury bags improves, there is a growing sense of subversion among those who embrace them.
Though experts claim that there are always subtle differences between superfakes and genuine luxury bags, some admit that discerning can be challenging. As the quality of counterfeit luxury bags improves, there is a growing sense of subversion among those who embrace them, challenging the dominance of luxury brands and their exclusive pricing. Replica bags have become a symbol of the democratization of fashion, particularly for middle-class consumers who feel empowered by having access to these sought-after items.
In the face of global wealth disparity, attitudes towards fake bags are shifting, with some arguing that they represent a more accessible and honest approach to luxury fashion. Pursuing designer bags and their superfake counterparts continues to spark debate and challenge conventional notions of value and authenticity.
Handbags typically belong to one of two categories: timeless designs that outlast the changing seasons or trendy pieces capturing a specific moment in fashion.
The LOEWE Mini Puzzle Bag effortlessly straddles both worlds, offering a unique blend of style and practicality.
The original LOEWE Puzzle Bag was the first creation by Jonathan Anderson (or JW Anderson in fashion circles) for LOEWE. Unveiled in June 2014 at the men’s S/S 15 collection presentation in Paris, the bag quickly became the center of attention. Shortly after, a slightly smaller version of the Puzzle Bag was featured in LOEWE’s A/W 15 womenswear collection, and that’s when the LOEWE Mini Puzzle Bag entered the scene.
The LOEWE Mini Puzzle Bag’s distinctiveness lies in its technical prowess. Its ergonomic, origami-inspired design is crafted from separate pieces of leather stitched together, allowing the bag to fold flat when not in use. Additionally, the bag’s adaptability offers five different ways to wear it, making it one of the most versatile designer bags on the market. The intricate pattern requires an expert team to spend nine hours assembling just one LOEWE Mini Puzzle Bag, enhancing its allure.
The LOEWE Mini Puzzle Bag is a luxurious, versatile accessory that promises to remain sought after in the years to come.
Over the years, the Mini Puzzle Bag has been reinvented in an array of colors, with black, tan, beige, and green being the most popular on social media. The bag’s clean lines and innovative design have earned it a cult following, especially among minimal-style enthusiasts who appreciate its seamless blend of form and function.
In conclusion, the LOEWE Mini Puzzle Bag is a luxurious, versatile accessory that promises to remain sought after in the years to come. Its unique ability to combine timeless elegance with contemporary design ensures that it will continue to stand out as a future classic in the world of high-end fashion. Don’t be surprised if, in 20 years, the LOEWE Mini Puzzle Bag is still a must-have item for style connoisseurs.
FENDI’s Exquisite Peekaboo Cut Captivates Spring 2023 Fashion Scene.Embrace the quintessential ’90s essence with the re-envisioned Peekaboo Cut.
The FENDI Peekaboo has solidified its position as an iconic symbol within both the revered House of FENDI and the entire handbag universe. Its rapid ascension to It-bag status commenced upon its dazzling debut on the runway in September 2008, and it has never looked back.
The Peekaboo quickly gained a reputation for its sophisticated shape, elegant lines, and everlasting silhouette. This design offered the ideal foundation for constant reinvention, allowing FENDI to consistently breathe new life into the legendary Peekaboo.
For Spring/Summer 2023, FENDI masterfully revitalizes one of its most cherished House classics. Unveiling the Glamorous Peekaboo Cut. The freshly-minted Peekaboo Cut fuses the signature form and composition of the Peekaboo ISeeU with a striking ’90s flair, a predominant motif throughout the entire new collection. Amplifying the FENDI Peekaboo’s most esteemed elements, the Peekaboo Cut is characterized by a sleek metal bar and a twist lock traversing its horizontal axis. The bag’s distinctive trapezoidal shape further accentuates its sharp contours.
A chic O’Lock chain emerges, bestowing a feminine grace upon the architectural marvel.
For the first time in Peekaboo chronicles, a chic O’Lock chain emerges, bestowing a feminine grace upon the architectural marvel. The Peekaboo Cut arrives in a mesmerizing array of hues, for which the FENDI Peekaboo is renowned, effortlessly satisfying those who adore the Peekaboo’s form but yearn for a more contemporary appeal. The Peekaboo Cut epitomizes the seamless fusion of FENDI’s time-honored House codes with avant-garde sophistication.
Introducing the enchanting VALENTINO GARAVANI Straw Summer Petite Tote.
Experience the epitome of luxury with this exquisitely crafted tote, complete with a sophisticated gift box, elegant literature, a protective dust bag, and an authenticity card as a mark of high-end quality.
Embrace the allure of charming summer bags inspired by rattan, raffia, and canvas elements. Fashion icons and Vogue connoisseurs have popularized woven bags as a year-round accessory. With chic designs from VALENTINO, it’s never been more effortless to join this stylish trend.
The VALENTINO GARAVANI Straw Summer Petite Tote captivates with its intricate raffia weave and the distinguished brass-toned VLogo plaque, an unmistakable emblem of the prestigious Valentino Garavani brand. The detachable shoulder strap is embellished with iconic Roman Studs, another signature element of the brand’s refined aesthetic.
Wondering how to style a straw bag with panache?
Our stylist suggests considering three key factors: size, structure, and color. “The key lies in the harmony of the overall outfit. For instance, a black straw crossbody paired with a blazer and tailored shorts creates a distinct vibe compared to a brown straw tote matched with a dress,” he explains. “However, some styles are versatile enough to complement anything from a graceful, billowy summer dress to a classic professional ensemble, like a blazer and trousers.”
We’ve all seen it. Bags that totally eclipse all conceivable expectations and become so sought after and cult worthy that it appears their reign over street style guides, editorial spreads, and our wish lists will never end.
An It bag is a high-priced luxury handbag that has become a hyped best-seller. The phenomenon arose in the luxury industry and was named in the 1990s and 2000s. Examples of handbag brands that have been considered “It bags” are CHANEL, HERMÈS and FENDI.
But, alas, the harder they rise, the harder they fall. It seems the desirable levels of popularity some bags once possessed can just as quickly turn against them. Overexposure, increasing competition from new designs, and fashion fanatics simply getting sick of certain styles can all contribute to the downfall of beloved bags.
And so enter, handbag has-beens. Sometimes a direct result of our collective purse fatigue, and sometimes something more. These styles once ruled fashion’s handbag hotlist, now seeing their popularity dwindle. But what makes a design in danger of becoming a handbag has-been? And is there any way to predict which bags will meet this fate next? Let’s find out.
The Danger of Overexposure
A little bit of mystery goes a long way when it comes to luxury bags, and it’s one way to combat that dreaded handbag fatigue we’ve discussed. And while it’s great for sales when a design becomes the ‘It’ bag of the moment and is spotted on every billboard, Instagram advert, and influencer at Fashion Week, too much exposure too quickly can threaten the longevity of a bag’s popularity.
Case in point, the LOUIS VUITTON Multi Pochette Accessoires. Released in late 2019, this design arguably started the multi-bag phenomenon, which saw handbag aficionados scrambling to carry a multitude of bags incorporated into one design. The trend, and this style in particular, became a cult favorite, and the bag (which is, in fact, two pouches resembling the Pochette Accessoires and a Round Coin Purse all attached to a thick cross-body strap) was sold out everywhere for months after its release. But fast forward to 2023, and the design is nowhere to be seen.
The problem with bags garnering wild levels of popularity and exposure very quickly is that this momentum is hard to maintain and can leave fashion insiders and consumers prematurely bored of seeing the bag.
The wild hype surrounding certain bags notoriously drives up resale prices, this investment potential is often overinflated and short-lived.
One bag that could potentially fall victim to the curse of overexposure is the BALENCIAGA Le Cagole. Providing today’s trendsetters with a rush of Y2K nostalgia, the Le Cagole has been the breakout bag of the 2020s so far. With its overembellished studded design, inspired by BALENCIAGA’s famous Motorcycle line, and coveted curved shoulder bag silhouette, the style has quickly risen to widespread popularity. But since the Le Cagole has experienced so much exposure and popularity in a reasonably short time, it’s arguably lost an element of its mystique. It’s faced with the difficulty of maintaining momentum and continuing its relevance.
The luxury resale market has long been an avenue for shoppers to score ‘It’ bags sold out everywhere else. The wild hype surrounding certain bags notoriously drives up resale prices and leads shoppers to believe that a bag has lucrative investment potential. But when bags climb to cult-favorite status very quickly, this investment potential is often overinflated and short-lived.
When a bag’s acclaim is largely thanks to a popular new trend or aesthetic, the design risks becoming a has-been.
Fashion can be fickle. Trends that show no signs of stalling are often over before you know it. So when a bag’s acclaim is largely thanks to a popular new trend or aesthetic, the design risks becoming a has-been. Take the PRADA Re-Edition bags. Many designs have come to be associated with the resurgence of early 2000s fashion, but perhaps no bag selection is more synonymous with fashion’s Y2K revival than PRADA’s Re-Edition styles.
Crafted from the label’s signature nylon material and shaped to a sleek and functional shoulder bag silhouette, bags from the line were on the arm of every celebrity. They dominated trend guides during the early 2020s. But just a couple of years later, PRADA’s Re-Edition bags noticeably lack the popularity they once enjoyed despite repeatedly being dubbed as classics, and styles from the range struggle to receive the same level of interest from editors, stylists, influencers, and consumers today. The fashion world has moved on and is obsessing over new styles.
When a bag is commonly associated with a certain era in the minds of consumers, it is often prematurely labeled as outdated.
A bag doesn’t have to perfectly embody a specific trend or the style of a particular era to be at risk of ending up a handbag has-been. Sometimes when a bag is commonly associated with a certain era in the minds of consumers, it is often prematurely labeled as outdated once the era is over. One example is the CHANEL Maxi Classic Flap. As fashion waved goodbye to the compact purses of the early 2000s, it ushered in a new era of tote bag love which saw large and slouchy styles reign supreme. As a scaled-up version of a CHANEL icon, the Maxi Classic Flap became the go-to CHANEL bag of many during the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Paparazzi images featuring the likes of Lauren Conrad donning the super-sized CHANEL favorite, along with the decade’s other must-have styles, such as skinny jeans and wedge sneakers, have cemented the bag’s association with the era’s fashion.
There are countless examples of designs that have remained must-haves for decades, like the HERMÈS Birkin, CHANEL Classic Flap, LOUIS VUITTON Speedy, and many more.
There is, of course, the concept of a bag becoming so sought after that the only direction its popularity can go is down. This doesn’t happen to all beloved bags. There are countless examples of designs that have remained must-haves for decades, like the HERMÈS Birkin, CHANEL Classic Flap, LOUIS VUITTON Speedy, and many more. But there’s a growing list of once classic bags with dwindling popularity.
There are certainly some styles that are more likely to miss out on continued long-term popularity.
Two obvious examples come in the form of the CHANEL Grand Shopping Tote and LOUIS VUITTON Neverfull. As some of the most sought-after tote bags of all time, these two designs reached peak popularity during the 2010s, and while they are undisputed classics, they simply don’t boast the same widespread popularity they once did. Some social media users have even taken to platforms like TikTok to brand the styles “over.”
Handbags gaining and losing popularity is an inevitable part of fashion. Whether styles fall from grace because of fickle trend cycles or consumers getting sick of seeing the same thing, handbags becoming has-beens is nothing new. But there are certainly some styles that are more likely to miss out on continued long-term popularity. And for handbag lovers eager to invest in enduring classics, it won’t hurt to be on the lookout for signs that a style’s popularity could be doomed to plummet.