Kylie Jenner got us thinking again
When you consider the paradox that luxury brands and consumers alike have to contend with, it’s not all that surprising that people sometimes go to great lengths to have a bag unlike any other. Luxury is a business predicated on the idea that fine things are rare and difficult to create, which helps justify why they cost so much. High-end bag brands have to maintain that idea among consumers while also selling as many bags as possible, which, as you have probably noticed, is a high-wire act that doesn’t always stay in perfect balance. Consumers see designer bags everywhere and on every celebrity now, and for those with plenty of money and plenty of purchase options, it’s easy to imagine how the usual stuff might start to feel a little stale. To deal with this, scores of brands have launched personalization services to let shoppers add their initials to bags, making them one-of-a-kind (and theoretically more special), with varying levels of consumer interest. For some shoppers, though, that’s not enough, which is where the burgeoning industry of handbag customization comes in.
Kylie Jenner is definitely one such customer—she can have more or less anything she wants and probably write much of it off as a business expense, so what’s the fun in having the same stuff as everyone else? She recently posted a behind-the-scenes look in her bag closet to her YouTube channel, and although it featured tons of notable bags, perhaps none was more notable than the Xupes x Year Zero London one-of-a-kind Louis Vuitton Alma Bag, painted by the England-based art collective with a picture of Kylie’s mom Kris Jenner in a Snapchat filter, waving around a stack of cash. In the video, we’re told it was a Christmas present.
That came on the heels of our anonymous Closet Confessionals submission by an Hermès expert who paints bags for a living, which was around the same time that we caught Elle MacPherson toting a Birkin with an after-market panel of zebra print added to it. Birkins have been getting graffiti’d be famous people since Lady Gaga’s first round of fame, but the practice of adding after-market customizations to one’s bags seems to only be getting more popular. To me, it seems like a great way to advertise to everyone that you can buy as many Birkins as you want, so doing something fun to one doesn’t matter to you.
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