Image via Bundle

Denying it is impossible: Even with most of the economy at a standstill, luxury goods continue to boom and the products that make up the marketplace continue to reach higher and higher price points. All of the husbands and boyfriends (not to mention jealous officemates and frienemies) out there who nearly keel over at the price tags on handbags should take a look through the back pages of any major US fashion magazine – accessories are expensive, but clothes are out of this world.

Considering that, it’s no surprise that a recent survey by Bundle and Citi found that Oscar de la Renta’s Madison Avenue flagship is the most expensive store in the country. When cocktail dresses start at more than a thousand dollars and sometimes stretch up into the five figures, it’s not hard to see where the boutique’s $3217 average ticket comes from. Naturally, I have a few theories about these results. (more…)

Do you ever get the sense that luxury monolith LVMH might be trolling Hermes, purely for CEO Bernard Arnault’s amusement? With yesterday’s report from British Vogue that LVMH’s ownership percentage in the family-run French leather goods company has increased once again, the possibility seems not altogether unlikely.

The increase – from 20.2% to 21.4% – may seem tiny on its face and to those who haven’t followed the story. In this case, though, context is important. The move comes in the wake of Hermes’ redoubled efforts to block LVMH from gaining additional shares after news that Arnault had quietly acquired a full fifth of Hermes stock without the family’s knowledge shocked the accessories world late last year. Will Arnault and LVMH stop before they own a controlling share in the seemingly boundlessly profitable brand? (more…)

Economic problems? Debt ceilings? Political tensions? What are those things? The luxury industry has surely never heard of them, if double-digit sales increases from LVMH, Hermes and Burberry, just to name a few, are any indication. The rich only get richer, naturally, and when they do, they buy clothes. Lots of clothes. And handbags. Louis Vuitton is even reporting waiting lists, a thing that most pundits seemed to think would never be seen again after the economic crash of 2008.

And yet, I put my name on a waiting list myself at the beginning of the year in order to wait for the apparent privilege of buying a bag that cost nearly $2,000. Having been in college during the rococo days of the mid-2000s, the opportunity to queue up to buy an It Bag like the original Chloe Paddingtons and Fendi Spy bags passed me by while I stared in envy at the people who were buying their way into the “ungettable get.” Are we headed back there again? (more…)

No matter your brand of choice or accessories budget, I think all bag lovers can agree: Prices are too freakin’ high. Even if you’re willing to grudgingly pay them in exchange for quality, it still stings a little bit every time, doesn’t it? Get ready for it to sting a little bit more in the near future – it’s costing brands more to source leather from Italian tanneries than ever, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

The rise in prices is impacting contemporary brands with sensitive price structures more than anyone, and if you took any economics courses in college, you know that there are only a few ways to deal with this kind of problem. Brands can cut amount or quality of leather used, increase prices or source materials from alternate locations (in this case, mostly South America.) WWD spoke to four brands who have used these tactics with varying degrees of success. Which option do you prefer for the companies that you patronize? (more…)

       
Photo credit: Jeffrey Westbrook for Harper’s Bazaar

I opened up my inbox this morning to find an oddly alluring email about Smurfette wearing designer accessories in new issue of Harper’s Bazaar. First off, I had no idea The Smurfs movie was coming out and second off, I find it hilarious to see Smurfette posing with high end designer goods. However, somehow this small blue fictional character pulls off posing and wearing accessories in a rather fashionably comical manner.

From Marc Jacobs to Louis Vuitton to Dolce & Gabbana, Smurfette hits the pages of Harper’s Bazaar in accessories any non-fictional female would pine for. (more…)

When Style.com Fashion Director Candy Pratts Price speaks, fashion people listen, which means that anything she included in her Vogue.com list of Fall 2011′s 45 most desirable accessories just got an instant injection of cool on top of the considerable amount that it probably already had. For the article’s bags, Pratts Price picked everything from glossy patent daytime satchels to tiny evening clutches festooned with animal images, and surely you’ll covet at least one of her selections.

You’ll probably also recognize a few of the choices from our coverage of the season’s accessories, and a few more are off-runway pieces that we’re all seeing for the first time. Do you agree with Candy’s choices? I love the cherry red Marc Jacobs satchel and have since I first saw it on the runway, and we all know how I feel about that green crocodile Valextra clutch. The Givenchy box evening bag, on the other hand? I’ll pass. Let us know your picks, and if Vogue skipped anything important, in the comments. (more…)

For those of us who carry designer accessories, it can be rare that what we’re toting inside our bags is worth more than the bags themselves. Sure, it would cost $600 to replace my cell phone, but my Balenciaga Day Bag in Fall 2007 Violet? Priceless, people. For one metro-Atlanta woman, though, even the ritziest of bags could be had for the value of what she found floating around inside of her purse: A winning lottery ticket.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Rhonda Williams of Fairburn, Georgia, had a lottery ticket worth $189,302 riding around in the bottom of her handbag for almost three months before she realized that she still had it and checked the numbers online. With as many receipts, scraps of paper and (somehow) sunglasses cases as I have in my bag, reading the story prompted me to dump it out and see if there was, say, a gold bar or giant stack of cash that I had forgotten about. I wasn’t as lucky as Ms. Williams, but maybe one of you ladies will find something you’ve forgotten in the bottom of your bag today. You know, besides a Jolly Rancher covered in lint and approximately 42 bobby pins. Not that I had any of those in my purse, of course. If we dumped out your handbag, what would be see?

[Photo via Flickr]

In 2007 we had the exclusive on the Chanel Diamond Forever Classic Bag which came with a $261,000 price tag. But today $261k appears to be nothing compared to what the Guinness Book of World Records crowned as the world’s most expensive purse.

Here is the outrageous “1001 Nights Diamond Purse” which is valued at $3.8 million. The heart-shaped bag is encrusted with over 4,500 diamonds – of that 105 yellow, 56 pink, and 4,356 are colorless. Total carat weight is a staggering 381 carats. (more…)

We all make mistakes from time to time. Today I caught a handbag-world mistake from one of our favorite stores, Barneys, in labeling a handbag. The bag is marked as the Lanvin Large Leather Cabas, but this is no Lanvin bag. This bag is in fact a mix between the Proenza Schouler Keep All and Shopping Tote – meaning it is a Proenza Schouler Bag.

More info via Barneys (for $1,990). Just a little Friday Barneys Blooper for you all!

PurseBlog Awards

Can you believe 2010 is coming to a close? We certainly can not. Either way, with the end of 2010 we decided to start the first annual PurseBlog Readers’ Choice Awards. There are two categories, premier designer and contemporary designer. We picked the top 16 designers for each category that we believe have made the largest impact in the handbag world this year. The final choice, however, is up to all of you.

We want you to vote for the brands you believe have made the most impact in 2010, through their innovation and designs. You can vote once a day in each category. Voting ends January 7th and we will announce the top three in each category on January 10th.

VOTE HERE in the 2010 PurseBlog Readers’ Choice Awards

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