Yesterday and early this morning we brought you some of the world’s most extravagant handbags. Some are drop dead gorgeous while others make you wonder why you would spend one cent on them. The information came from an amazing article written in Forbes magazine and online by Hitha Prabhakar. I had the pleasure of speaking with Hitha and sharing some of my thoughts for the article. Thanks to Hitha and Forbes! Read the full article after seeing the quoted part below!

World’s Most Extravagant Handbags
Hitha Prabhakar

Not to be outdone, Louis Vuitton had fashionistas scrambling recently for the $42,000 Tribute Patchwork handbag introduced on the runway last fall. Dubbed “the most expensive handbag ever” by industry experts and media outlets, the four available this year in U.S. stores sold out, but 20 can be found in Louis Vuitton boutiques throughout Europe and Asia.

“If something is hard to find or impossible to get, it makes it more valuable,”
says Meaghan Mahoney, editor of purseblog.com, an online community devoted to handbags. “In addition to paying the high price, you are also getting something that no one else will have.”
What hangs in our closets depends on the creativity of these 10 men and women. Click here to see who made our list of fashion industry tastemakers.

That’s true for the Tribute. “It may not be most attractive bag,” Mahoney continues. “It’s made of 15 different patterns of Vuitton handbags all sewn together. But only 24 of them exist.” Translation? It’s unsightly, but prized.

Despite media claims that the Tribute is the costliest handbag on the market, we found several much more expensive. Adding to the princely price tags? Diamonds and rare animal skin.

Read the full article after the jump!

Got $100,000 to burn? How about investing in a diamond-encrusted metallic alligator skin clutch favored by Hollywood’s A-listers? Better act fast, though. With six-figure totes such as these flying off shelves like crinkly hot cakes, it’s a wonder there are any reptiles left.

“People want to spend their money on frivolous things,” says Pamela Danziger, author of Why People Buy Things They Don’t Need and founder of luxury good research company Unity Marketing.

So much so that Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which includes brands such as Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Givenchy, said during the company’s earnings conference call in February that ready-to-wear fashion and leather goods accounted for much of the company’s 12% growth last year. Online shopping site eluxury.com saw a 13% increase in sales of handbags over $500 in 2006.
In Pictures: World’s Most Extravagant Handbags

Not to be outdone, Louis Vuitton had fashionistas scrambling recently for the $42,000 Tribute Patchwork handbag introduced on the runway last fall. Dubbed “the most expensive handbag ever” by industry experts and media outlets, the four available this year in U.S. stores sold out, but 20 can be found in Louis Vuitton boutiques throughout Europe and Asia.

“If something is hard to find or impossible to get, it makes it more valuable,” says Meaghan Mahoney, editor of purseblog.com, an online community devoted to handbags. “In addition to paying the high price, you are also getting something that no one else will have.”
What hangs in our closets depends on the creativity of these 10 men and women. Click here to see who made our list of fashion industry tastemakers.

That’s true for the Tribute. “It may not be most attractive bag,” Mahoney continues. “It’s made of 15 different patterns of Vuitton handbags all sewn together. But only 24 of them exist.” Translation? It’s unsightly, but prized.

Despite media claims that the Tribute is the costliest handbag on the market, we found several much more expensive. Adding to the princely price tags? Diamonds and rare animal skin.

Bejeweled Bags

Accessorizing handbags with precious stones is not uncommon. The Gadino, from Norwegian designer Hilde Palladino, boasts white gold and diamonds. Cost: $38,470.

The Lana Marks Cleopatra Clutch in alligator ($100,000) comes accessorized with 1,500 black and white round diamonds. Only one clutch is made for retail each year. Marks also makes a yearly limited edition Cleopatra for one actress to carry down the red carpet. Call it a lucky charm–two have won Academy Awards in recent years while possessing the bag: Charlize Theron in 2004, and this year Helen Mirren, who carried hers right up to the podium.

Rare Skins
When it comes to alligator, ostrich or snakeskin, handbag designers go to extreme lengths to find the rarest. Santiago Gonzalez, chief executive of Nancy Gonzalez handbags, has traveled from the Australian outback to Hong Kong to find skins that seldom come to market.
Crazy for cashmere? Click here for five ultra-luxe ways to stay warm in style–for big spenders and thrifty alike.

“What people don’t understand,” he says, “is that it takes a certain amount of area on the skin to make a bag.” That means that since uniformity of scale is prized, even if a reptile with rare skin is found, if too small, the search continues.

The Nancy Gonzalez Porousus Bag, made with uncommon ring lizard skin, costs $30,000. Designer Devi Kroell uses alligator skins whose scales are similar in size–a rarity–to create a $29,000 bag.

A Purse Is Worth A Thousand Words
Of course, an expensive handbag speaks volumes about the lucky person who carries one. The most vocal? The world’s most expensive.

Some argue no bag compares to the Hermes $148,000 Birkin in croc porosus lisse. What makes this bag so expensive–by far the costliest in the world–is not just the type of skin used, but the nine carats of diamonds set in white gold and placed on its clasp and lock. This bag is custom made.

Fair Fashion
Lovely leather aside, with animal rights activists up-in-arms over fashionistas in fur, might we not soon see the day when lizard lovers will have been intimidated against buying bags that once swam or slithered?

“As much you would think there would be a huge backlash, there won’t be,” says Danziger. “It goes back to the basic rule of supply and demand. The more rare and scarce something is, the more people want it. In the case of overly expensive handbags, people will still covet them because it’s an uncommon find.”

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