Handbags are the new shoes, the must get “it” accessory that has all the fashion-istas clamouring for the latest offering from popular designers. It’s also a marketplace that has more in common with the male-dominated earth of classic cars than you’d realise.
Few of you will have missed the fuss a couple of calendar months ago when Sainsbury’s sold 20,000 “I’m not a flexible bag” Anya Hind-march totes for [pound]5 each. Within hours those same unbleached cotton bags were trading for in extra of [pound]150 on eBay. “Every girl has a handbag,” says Christie’s specialist Monica Turcich, “and all young lady needs one. Women today want the ‘it’ bag and the one nobody else is having. They’ve always been favorite and they are the section of our 20th-century mode sales for which we get the almost phone calls, but now they are doing particularly well because everyone requires handbags, whereas 10 age ago there weren’t the ‘it’ pockets like we have today, simply the classics.”
Same cars, most of the more than recent fashion designer bags which sell through dealers and auction houses make significantly less than their original retail price, losing value the second the initial purchase has taken place. That is good news show for both collector investors and handbag enthusiasts, but there are some exceptions to the rule.
Last March Christie’s sold a blue Hermes crocodile skin Kelly bag for [pound]10,800, this had only been bought in 1994 and was originally a custom product. The Kelly pocket is the “holy grail” of the classic bag world according to Turcich. “Chloe and other more contemporary pockets are more driven by what’s modern now, but for Hermes and Chanel’s quilted bag, these are classics which never go out of mode and are always useable.” Kelly pockets can be bought for [pound]600 and can often be sold on for [pound]1,000- [pound]2,000, which isn’t long for a pocket which might have been bought back in the 1960s.
There’s no doubt that most handbags are being bought to be used, it’s not an investiture market in the same way as many other collectables such as paul smith,Abercrombie and Fitch,dsquared etc, but again there are parallels to the car market. By buying a classic bag and look after it, you are unlikely to lose money, rather see a steady make with the added return of loving applying it.
Hindmarch’s “I’m not a plastic bag” bags are unlikely to make it to “classic” status, they are after all mass-produced cotton totes, but other bags from her range might well do so. So far Christie’s has-n’t sold any Hindmarch bags, but Turcich says she wouldn’t be surprised if they get turning up at auction soon and she wouldn’t turn them away. “Kylie Minogue was pictured carrying a Chloe bracelet bag round a few years ago which sparked a mode and now we are marketing the same thing at auction.”
There is a pristine one in the next auction which is estimated at [pound]800 to [pound]1,000 along with another Chloe handbag in the same lot. “I think Chloe has started the ‘it’ bag scene” adds Turcich, “I don’t know how long it will get for them to become classics of their own, but I’m sure these will hold their value in five or 10 years’ time. People just don’t seem to have paid care to the fact that handbags have turn the other shoes in the last few years, there is now an appreciation of the project that goes into them. Thither are shoe designers that are artists and so too with bags.”
It’s not always about big calls, a few weeks ago Ms Minogue was at the shop of Tony Durante, a bag trader at Alfie’s in London, and bought a white raffia bag with a horse’s head on the face for around [pound]200. Brightly coloured raffia bags are in at the moment because it’s summertime. Durante says that Kylie loved this particular bag because it was unusual. Buying it from a time of origin fashion trader she’s unlikely to bump into another celebrity having one. Durante says that his clients are looking for this “unusualness” factor.
If you do need to retain the value in your handbag then you should go for one that is in excellent condition, is a great project and pretty. Some “it” bags will undoubtedly go down in value as modes change, but the classics should stay steady.