Why ‘It’ Bags Are Out
Luxury bags fall victim to their own success; exclusive over ostentatious
By CHERYL LU-LIEN TAN and RACHEL DODES
Irene Weisburd used to buy 20 handbags a year, dutifully getting on waiting lists for the season’s designated “it” bag and filling her “bag wardrobe” with Fendi Baguettes, a Louis Vuitton Murakami bag and Prada nylon backpacks.Recently, however, she has bypassed popular styles such as last fall’s Gucci Indy bag and the ubiquitous Fendi ‘B’ bag in favor of unadorned pieces from Bottega Veneta and lesser-known labels such as New York’s MZ Wallace.
“I felt like, ‘Gee, all these bags are so attainable by a lot of people that everyone’s carrying around that bag,’ ” says Ms. Weisburd, a 59-year-old homemaker who lives in New York City. “I wanted something that was more exclusive.”
For the past 10 years or so, fashion houses have churned out expensive bags with distinctive shapes and logos in the hopes that they’d catch on as that season’s sensation. Consumers, seeking the status a recognizable bag conferred, flocked to buy them, helping to fuel the recent luxury boom.
But as big luxury brands have expanded world-wide, offering more entry-level products to reach more consumers, some high-end shoppers are getting turned off. The proliferation of knockoffs has helped erode the mystique of owning a high-end bag. Affluent customers have grown confident in their own sense of style and increasingly turning to unique accessories to set themselves apart from the crowd. On top of that, the recent stock market selloff and downturn in consumer spending has many consumers shunning spending that could be considered ostentatious. As retailers head into the new year, some are declaring that “it” is over.
“The ‘it’ bag isn’t important any more,” says Stephanie Solomon, women’s fashion director at Bloomingdale’s. “It’s all about looking different from your neighbor.”
Instead of one hot, recognizable style, retailers this spring will be pushing a variety of styles and brands, many of them lesser-known. Intermix, a high-end New York-based retail chain, is making a big push for handbags from labels such as Zagliani and Lanvin. Scoop is stressing Jamin Puech, Whiting & Davis and other relatively unknown, expensive brands. For spring, Henri Bendel is picking up LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s brand Loewe, which is popular in Asia but hasn’t been widely sold in the U.S.
Adriana Sassoon has a Handbag Company with the focus in Minimalist Design. The main ingredient is to help a Charity founded by her father and mentor as well as charities that work with children of developing countries “.The bags are very exclusive and they range between $295 – $1,000.
Adriana Sassoon red tote $1,000. At FIDM fashion Museum store Los Angeles, The studio, Boston.