Ok, so here’s the deal. The Row launched its first-ever line of handbags at Barneys last night, and as I was dutifully checking Twitter while finishing up my posts for the day, a strange thing came across my computer screen. Fashionista.com, staffers of which were in attendance at last night’s launch festivities, tweeted a picture of what appeared to be the bag above and a price point: A cool $39,000. I promptly fell off my chair.
Just two days ago, I joked that the brand’s silence on the crocodile prices while releasing the numbers for the other bags probably meant that if you had to ask, you couldn’t afford it. I had no idea how right I was. Based on the mid-four-figures prices of the leather bags and small non-croc exotics, I would have speculated that the croc pieces would end up in the $10,000 to $15,000 range, and that perhaps the exclusion of the prices from the first round of press information meant that they would go as high as $20,000.
I was not prepared for $39,000, though, and I thought for a moment that perhaps we were being punked. For comparison’s sake, the prices for a 30cm crocodile Hermes Birkin reportedly hover somewhere right above $40,000 depending on the type of crocodile, if the information I found last night and my quick currency conversion skills are to be believed. So The Row is quite literally charging Hermes prices for its bags.
The Olsen twins are undoubtedly committed to the quality and precision of The Row’s products, and for that I cannot find fault, particularly based on something as unrelated as their childhood stardom. They aren’t fashion pretenders; Mary Kate and Ashley are the real deal, just like I think Victoria Beckham is despite her history as a pop star. But if everyone choked on Victoria’s $14,000 price tag for her first croc bag, I wonder how this one will do at retail. Of course, I can imagine that only a tiny number of them will be bought by stores, but is there an audience for this bag? Will people who buy $1800 blazers from the line also be willing to spend over 20 times that on a trendy (if pristine) backpack when the twins have yet to prove themselves as accessories powerhouses? All we can do is wait and see. That, and feel a little poor. Handbags from The Row will be available at Barneys and Barneys.com.