Women are said to have a preference for chocolate. But a designer purse will generate just as strong a craving, albeit of a different sort.
Many women will spend Saturday night on eBay battling it out for a Hermes Birkin rather than enjoy the company of her latest beau. And the successful bidder, hats off to her, will no doubt go to great lengths to take care of her couture treasure. Woe to a thief who tries to wrest a beloved leather bag from the arm of its owner.
Designer handbags are purchased by more women than those who can outright afford them. In other words, if the designer purse market were limited to the armful of ladies who can actually afford them, it would be a thin market indeed. So why the demand? A purse is a visual cue to a women's identity, as surely as her shoes, earrings or hairstyle. Women don't carry purses; they wear them. Indeed, the bag becomes the focal point of the outfit, and that itself is just the point. A designer handbag is a luxury, indulgence really, and a statement.
Most of us who succumb to the allure of such beautifully crafted leather can't remember exactly how it happened. For me, I think it was high school. I was trying to fit in with the popular crowd and those interlocking G's seemed to be the ticket "in". Then came the shoes...was it the prom? I do remember my first pair of $300 shoes and once I was there, I never went back. Years later, as I stack up my Jimmy's and Giuseppe's at the counter at Saks, or offer up my American Express at Tod's, I hardly break a sweat. Shoes are a necessity, though; we must wear shoes. Must we have the bag?
My first Chanel answered the question for me. It came later in life...a wedding present to myself...I still carry it. So far, it's lasted three years longer than my marriage. Not so with my ex-husband.
So, we must have the bag, but why? Why will women shell out what is comparable to most people's mortgage payment for a scrap of leather? For many, it is the very idea of carrying a purse that cost as much as a house payment. Fundamentally, though, it's what it says to others about the carrier as a woman, a lady if you will. The designer bag carries cachet as a lady's portable necessity. As one interviewee said, "I just love carrying my bag. I get a lot of compliments. It is a status symbol of sorts." And isn't symbols what designer handbags are all about? The interlocking Gucci G's and Chanel C's, the offset LV of Louis Vuitton. It's the reflection of taste, the evidence of prosperity, a confident "I've arrived" message that is unmistakable. Such a purse is not only for its owner; it is to signal fellow label-lovers that they are not alone. Visit many Junior League meetings and you'll swim in a virtual alphabet soup.
Another benefit of carrying the finest in handbags: You're more likely to be treated well, especially in the places where you most want the attention, such as designer boutiques, charity balls, art galleries, or the symphony, likely environs for others who will recognize your sense of exquisite style. Maybe it's my imagination, but you get treated differently if you are carrying the right purse! I can't tell you how often my Birkin gets addressed before I do.
Now before you condemn me as completely frivolous, I must say that I don't buy everything at the stratospheric prices assigned. Short of Donald Trump budget, it would be difficult. If I'm going to spend that much money on an accessory, I have to fall in love with it and be willing to take care of it, and promise to cherish it till death do us part. I must be willing to stuff it with its original tissue paper each outing so it doesn't lose its shape and be sure to return it to a sleeper bag when I come home so it doesn't lose its color or get scratched by a stray pair of stilettos in my closet. And, yes, even give it its own chair at some establishments, pampering it like a first-born child. Such dedication to a handbag may sound silly, but as they say, love doesn't come cheap.
|Gucci Rose Gold Leather Abby available at www.queenbeeofbeverlyhills.com|