In case you were wondering how deep fashion people’s capacity for purchasing branded novelties is, yesterday morning’s quick sell-through of a thousand Karl Lagerfeld-designed and -branded Barbies at Net-a-Porter should tell you all you need to know, thanks to a little digging by Tyler McCall at Fashionista. The Barbies went for $200 a pop, and they were gone before I got to work in the morning. (more…)

If you’re not a cat lover, these are hard times for you. First Charlotte Olympia sold a pair of cat-embroidered flats to basically everyone in the fashion industry, then Taylor Swift started toting around her cat, Olivia Benson, on her arm. Now, Karl Lagerfeld has decided to emblazon a new line of bags, clothes and accessories with a cartoon version of his beloved cat, Choupette, according to Women’s Wear Daily. (more…)

Not long ago, we brought you the tale of one very rare bag: the Hermès Himalayan Crocodile Birkin above, complete with pavé diamond hardware. The bag, arguably the most sought-after in the world, was about to be sold at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, and some speculated that it might break price records. It didn’t quite make it that high, but it did sell for more than a respectable family home does in many perfectly lovely areas of our fine country. (more…)

As of late, financial news for Prada hasn’t been great. According to Fashionista, the brand’s overall growth was just 1% in early 2014, which is well below what investors would generally hope for in a luxury sector that’s seen sustained expansion overall in recent seasons. A big part of that slowdown comes from consumers’ apparent ambivalence toward Prada’s bags; the category, which is among the brand’s most important, is down 5% so far this year. It’s questionable where the brand’s Spring 2015 collection, which debuted only days after this news emerged, can help. (more…)

Pricing data from the mid-2000s can be hard to come by for any handbag; it’s not the kind of information that brands or stores keep in public archives, and PurseBlog itself was only just getting its start cataloging those sorts of things back in the mid-aughts. When the bags in question have never been sold online at all, the search for data only becomes more difficult, and that makes it all the harder to track the at-times-exorbitant price increases that those bags have received over the past decade. Racked did the dirty work of finding out how much Chanel’s prices have changed, and the result was surprising even to me. (more…)

Applying algorithmic logic to fashion is tricky at best; Google itself has failed publicly at predicting what stylish shoppers might like to buy, and a recent report from trendcasting duo Credit Suisse and NetBase makes me think they might not have quite figured it out either. According to them, Hermès is the brand with the worst online momentum for its handbags, and Ralph Lauren is the leader of the pack. Huh? (more…)

As we all know, Coach is in the middle of a rebranding effort to make itself palatable to a more discerning, higher-spending clientele, and it looks like that transition has now begun in earnest. Although Stuart Vevers’ first Coach collection has yet to start arriving in stores, the brand’s extremely slick ad campaign has already made the rounds, and now we have our first glimpse at the brand’s first in-store installation under its new creative director. It involves giant animal heads. (more…)

If you were expecting Chanel’s Fall 2014 collection to be posed in a Target near you for the brand’s fall ads just because of the supermarket runway show, you were wrong. Karl Lagerfeld has gone in a workout direction for Chanel’s seasonal ads, choosing to focus on the sporty side of the collection (including tons of sneakers) instead of the grocery-themed details. With that in mind, the ads feature brand favorite Cara Delevingne and Binx Walton, a boxing gym and approximately one zillion of Chanel’s pre-fall and fall handbags. (more…)

Well, that didn’t take long. Only days after announcing that Christophe Lemaire would be leaving the brand to focus on his eponymous collection, Hermès announced on Thursday that Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, most recently the head of ready-to-wear at The Row, will take over as its womenswear creative director, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

It’s not immediately clear what Vanhee-Cybulski’s appointment will mean to accessories fiends; at Hermès, more so than at most other brands, there is almost a church-and-state separation between what goes on in ready-to-wear and how decisions are made about the brand’s iconic, immensely profitable leather goods, silks and accessories. The 36-year-old Frenchwoman won’t oversee handbags, but her aesthetic will no doubt influence those who do in certain ways.

Vanhee-Cybulski has spent the bulk of her career at Maison Martin Margiela, Céline and The Row, which, as the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman points out, gives a strong indication that Hermès is committed to pursuing the expansion of its ready-to-wear business in the most restrained and dignified of manners. Get ready for more ultra-luxurious minimalism, which is, of course, a look that translates extremely well from clothes to handbags and accessories.

In the world of big-name leather goods, shifts in strategy rarely come as a surprise. There are rumors and whispers of declining sales, or, alternately, talk of the designer becoming enough of a star in his own right that he or she doesn’t need the brand anymore. That’s why designer Christophe Lemaire’s exit from Hermès, announced yesterday and reported by Women’s Wear Daily, caught so many people off guard. (more…)

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