When you’re trying to give your brand a refreshed, ultra-exclusive sheen in the face of a consumer market that has grown tired of its flash, aligning the brand with well-respected artists, designers and aesthetic thinkers is one of the tried-and-true paths to take toward redemption. When you have the coffers of LVMH at your disposal, that strategy becomes writ large – for Louis Vuitton Icon and Iconoclasts, Louis Vuitton has tapped rival Karl Lagerfeld, as well as Christian Louboutin, Comme des Garcons’ Rei Kawakubo, architect Franky Gehry, photographer Cindy Sherman and industrial designer Mark Newson to create bags or luggage celebrating Vuitton’s iconic monogram. (more…)

Other than PursBlog’s readers (and writers), perhaps the people who love handbags more than anyone else are rappers, and we’d like to think that somewhere (probably in Paris), Kanye West will be celebrating National Handbag Day along with us tomorrow. If you’ve listened to hip hop radio in the last 10 years, you know exactly what we’re talking about – songwriters seem to shop as much as we do, which is a lot, when you factor in that shopping is our job.

Handbags fit perfectly with exactly the kind of post-modern, upwardly mobile braggadocio that rappers traffic in so commonly, which means that, when you get down to it, Jay-Z raps about brands for the same reason that so many people shell out to buy their products. Bags are particularly recognizable and status-laden, and because designer bags have, to some extent, entered the wider American lexicon, rapping about them and carrying them are both supremely effective ways to telegraph to others that you are, in the immortal words of Nene Leakes, very rich. It’s yet another reason to love handbags, even if it’s not a reason everyone’s willing to cop to.

There is, predictably, no shame in these rappers’ (and Fergie’s) games. Check out the best sing-along handbag shout-outs below, but be warned: these songs all contain explicit content and may not be appreciated by you, your coworkers, your boss, your parents or your pastor. If you get fired, grounded or sentenced to eternal damnation, well, we warned you.

Andy Warhol wasn’t always the pop art icon that we know him as today. Before he hit the big time, Warhol worked as a fashion illustrator for companies like Barneys and Neiman Marcus, and he even did some window displays for Bonwit Teller. After he became famous, Warhol’s legacy became heavily linked with fashion because of the fabulous social circles he kept, even more so after he founded Interview magazine in 1969. That lead him to occasional fashion photography, and now Andy Warhol@Christie’s: Fashion gives you a chance to own rare pieces of Warhol’s fashion legacy. (more…)

Everyone loves handbags (everyone here, at least) and everyone loves animals (unless you’re a sociopath, in which case, I’m a little creeped out), so it’s not particularly surprising that the animal sculptures that Louis Vuitton commissioned from British artist Billie Achilleos have taken on a life of their own. Achilleos’ work was first intended for display at the brand’s London maison, but since its debut, the collection has traveled among some of Vuitton’s fanciest boutiques. Now that the animals are making a stop in the brand’s Waikiki store, there’s a new dude in town – a Louis Vuitton turtle. (more…)

Just when you thought that the one-of-a-kind, graffiti-clad Hermes Kelly Bag was the pièce de résistance of the Moda Operandi bunk boutique, the retailer has added a late contender to the game: this (also one-of-a-kind, also graffiti-clad) Hermes Birkin Bag, customized just for Moda by artist Travis W. Simon. When you see the finished product (after the jump), you won’t believe that the bag started out as a standard black Birkin from Heritage Auctions. (more…)

Coach’s artist collaborations have been pretty unbeatable since they began with Hugo Guinness last year. The stalwart American leather brand hooked up with James Nares next, and now Coach has come up with a collection of men’s (but they’re unisex, let’s be real) bags and small accessories with Brooklyn-based street artist Craig Costello, also know as KRINK. Coach x KRINK just dropped at Coach.com, and you’d be well advised to start stocking up if this particular variety of street-wise luxury tickles your fancy. (It definitely tickles mine.)

Coach and Costello used a 30-step screen-printing process to transfer the dye onto these leather or coated canvas bags and accessories, and the result is the brand’s traditional aesthetic transformed by a bit of New York punk street culture. Modern, edgy collaborations like this one are a potential way forward for a brand that wants to sell lots and lots of bags to a wide variety of people but still maintain a bit of an edge, and Coach is writing the book on how to accomplish just that.

Prices range from $98 for luggage tags to $798 for the weekender bags you see above. Check out the collection below or shop it now via Coach.com.

Coach x Krink Wallet Card Case Coach x KRINK Luggage Tags Coach x Krink Large Black and White Tote Coach x KRINK iPad Sleeve Coach x KRINK Blue and Brown Tote

Are you in the market for a handmade, highly expensive piece of art that doubles as a clutch and allows onlookers a small peek into the condition of your psyche, or at the very least, into your opinion of yourself? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve mentioned Jimmy Choo’s recent collaboration with pop artist Rob Pruitt before, but somehow, we neglected to highlight the Jimmy Choo x Robb Pruitt Limited Edition Angel and Devil Crystal Minaudieres, which cost $15,000 apiece, until now. Our deepest apologies for the oversight.

At this point, you might be asking how one arrives at a $15,000 price tag for a cute cartoon clutch. That’s a valid question, and here’s the reasoning that Choo provides: The angel and devil are hand-covered in crystals, signed by the artist (whose famous work generally sells for quite a pretty penny), and are individually numbered. Only 14 pieces of each version were made, so for a collector of Pruitt’s work, the cash investment perhaps makes sense. And even at 15 grand, these bags are a lot less expensive than the $55k pill-bedazzled bags that Damien Hirst decorated for The Row.

If you’re so inclined, both versions can be pre-ordered via Jimmy Choo’s website. (Angel version here, devil here.) So which are you – angel or devil?

Most brands are simply happy to produce a luxurious, cohesive handbag collection each season, but as we all know, Hermes isn’t most brands. The legendary French house consistently takes leather to the next level, and this time, they’ve taken it to the jungle. With a little help from Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann (the two halves of French art studio Zim & Zou), that is.

According to FastCompany’s Co.Create site, Hermes first commissioned a single parrot made of Hermes leather scraps from the duo. After seeing the finished product, though, Hermes decided to populate its own rain forest with a lizard, a monkey and the toucan you see above. The animals are part of Hilton McConnico’s latest exhibit in Hong Kong, but to get a look at them without traveling halfway around the world, check out our slideshow below. [Photos via Co.Create]

If you were scandalized by the price of The Row’s original Alligator Backpack when it launched, you may want to sit down for this news. As we all know, a great way to increase anything’s asking price is to get a very name-y artist involved, and that’s exactly what The Row has done – the brand tapped notorious contemporary artist Damien Hirst for a line of $55,000 custom backpacks, including the pharmaceutical-embellished alligator creation you see above. I hope the bag comes with a couple real Xanax, because you might find yourself in need of some medically induced serenity when you receive the bill.

The bag is a part of a line of nine embellished alligator backpacks, all of which cost $55,000 and are available for order at Just One Eye. A portion of the proceeds is intended for UNICEF, which is nice, but Refinery29 reports that the amount of the donation is at Hirst’s discretion and will apparently not be made public, so I hope UNICEF isn’t holding its collective breath in anticipation of a windfall. You can check out a couple more of the bags and the collaboration’s video below.

Hirst is an artist with a broad and ardent following, so his involvement in this collection likely means that the items will move quickly to collectors and art world glitterati, and perhaps to fashion obsessives with huge budgets who pride themselves on having everything that is ridiculous. And really, there’s no other way to describe what’s going on here.

This week has been a whirlwind. A week filled with emotions, stress, and a ton of time sitting in our apartment. If you follow me on Instagram, you will see that I love a good manicure and try new designs and styles on my tips often. I really love Halloween, and while everyone in the Northeast had their holiday affected by Superstorm Sandy, it did give me time to try out Halloween Nails. Trying to help pass time and keep myself occupied as Sandy hit, I gathered up a bunch of nail polish and decided to test my hand and patience at tiny Halloween-themed designs.

When it comes to painting my nails, turns out, I have a steady hand and an artistic edge. I love any manicure, from simple clear coats to intricate designs since our hands and fingers are always helping showcase our beloved bags. This is my favorite manicure I’ve ever given myself. Which design do you like best?

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