Not long ago, we took a closer look at why, exactly, designer handbags cost as much as they do. Materials and labor play a part, of course, but a lot of money goes into convincing consumers that the ultra-pricey pieces have the aura of glamour and luxury that makes sky-high price tags seem appropriate. There’s no more direct way to create that image than advertising; brands can perfectly orchestrate a scene around a purse or pair of shoes to give the a product just the right high-end context and then present that image to consumers without the middle-man of a magazine stylist or a department store window dresser.
Fashion: Behind The Scenes
Leading up to National Handbag Day on October 10, we want to share our love for handbags with some of the best editorial, photos, and stories, starting today. I’ve told the story of how Vlad and I started PurseBlog.com so many times to so many people, but I’m not sure that we’ve ever shared it with all of you before. Some of you have been here since the beginning and some are newer readers, so in honor of National Handbag Day (which is a holiday because we say it is – we registered it and everything), I want to share the story of how PurseBlog.com and PurseForum.com came into existence.
At the time of this writing, we don’t know if Marc Jacobs’ show today for Louis Vuitton will be the last in his 16-year tenure as the creative leader of the incredibly powerful French brand. What we do know, however, is what Jacobs has done for Vuitton so far, which is nothing short of turning the brand into a household name with one of the most iconic logos in fashion history.
A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that something interesting was going on over CR Fashion Book’s Tumblr-fueled website: the fashion mag had taken it upon itself to look behind the seams of luxury handbags, and its latest subject is the Loewe Amazona Bag. If you ever found yourself thinking that this classic piece’s simplicity might be deceptive, it turns out that you were right.
In case you’re not yet familiar with CR Fashion Book, let me explain – the “CR” stands for “Carine Roitfeld,” the incredibly influential and generally brilliant former editor of French Vogue. When she left her former post, she consulted for a little while before forming a new indie magazine, which is pretty great. Also great: the magazine’s look behind the scenes at the construction of the iconic Hermes Constance Bag, which promises to be the first in a series of features on the making of iconic accessories by CR editor Shiona Turini and photographer Ulysse Fréchelin.
As consumers, finding the right wardrobe balance of classic pieces and trendy accents can be tough. So many trends will look obviously outdated after a season or two that even if you love them, it can be hard to justify spending the big bucks on something that will look old almost immediately. That’s why Fall 2012 is so major – so many of the big runway trends are things that a well-stocked wardrobe should have anyway, all the way from knee-high boots to a good black bag.
One of our favorite parts of being members of the PurseBlog team is working with designers and companies I both love and respect. We partnered up with with Beth Kanfer from SaksPOV to go behind the scenes and work on a fun interview and photoshoot surrounding the new Loeffler Randall bags. Chatting with both the Saks team and Jessie Randall of Loeffler Randall about the new line of bags was quite the treat, the bags are simply gorgeous.
As consumers, we see just one side of the design process: the finished product. Even in the democratized world of the Internet, the creativity and hard work that go into making fashion inspiration come alive are still relatively shrouded in secrecy. Where do ideas come from? How do designers decide if a trend is right for their work? Which pieces does a designer look back on most fondly?
First released in 1975, it’s been decades since the Hermes Passe-Guide Bag graced the shelves of an Hermes retail store, but the heavily hardwared bag made a comeback for Spring 2012 and will be produced again for fall. In very limited quantities, that is; the design starts at $11,700 for regular leather, and good luck finding one to purchase. What, you thought that Hermes would launch a new bag by making it widely available to all interested parties?
As handbag lovers, we’ve been very lucky recently. Luxury brands are notoriously secretive about their behind-the-scenes processes, particularly their manufacturing, and anyone who knows anything about the counterfeit trade knows exactly why that is. Letting people behind the curtain not only risks trade secrets, but it also chances taking some off the luxurious mystique off of the final product. Don’t be fooled, that mystique factors heavily into the prices that these brands are able to charge for their goods.