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Column: When Does Luxury Become Overkill?

The Serial Shopper is Salute Magazine’s weekly column authored by Fashion Editor Money Jensen. The Serial Shopper is a weekly look into the mind of our quirky and eclectic Fashion Editor and her thoughts on the state of the fashion industry, fashion influencers, and controversial topics within.

The luxury community is full of many brands, but there are a few that have always been known as the ultra exclusive. Hermès, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton are known as “The Mother Three” the top three brands to obtain in the luxury community when it comes to handbags. Over the last decade, the prices at all of these brands have been on a climb. To say it was a steady climb would be generous. This brings the question, when does luxury become overkill?

There was a time not too long ago when you could buy a brand new Chanel bag for under $2k in the states, but now at almost $5k a pop it is becoming more and more unattainable, and more so impractical for people to justify these sort of purchases. Granted certain styles like the classic flap or the Le Boy bag will always retain their value are inching towards exorbitant ( a small Classic Flap bag for F/W 2017 collection is $4700 USD) they are worth more than some people paid for their first vehicle.

chanel-small-classic-flap

Hermès has always been a brand that has lived on the edge of fantasy and reality for many people in the luxury community and rightfully so. At Hermès, the lowest price for a handbag made of leather and not silk, or canvas is the Double Sens 36 Tote for $3425.00. The Hermès Birkin, literally the most coveted bag in the world, ranges in price from $12k-$300k USD. In June, the auction house Christie’s sold a Himalaya Birkin for $379k, the highest price in the world paid for a single handbag.

To round out the list, the prestigious luggage company started in France 163 years ago in 1854, Louis Vuitton is the most attainable of the three brands. The  A full-size canvas and leather  Speedy 30, known to many as the entry level luxury bag is priced at a modest $970.00. One of the more Being in the elusive company of Hermès, Vuitton also has their own ridiculously priced handbag. The Capucines MM crocodile bag is coming in at a whopping $48,500.00 USD.

As loved as the classic canvas bags like the speedy are, the unofficial word on the grapevine is that the smaller canvas bags like the “Favorite” clutch which in the smallest size, the PM, comes in at only $805 USD will be replaced with all leather handbags.

With the price already rising on the premium handbags of the brand, the question is clear; “How much is too much?”. Yes, luxury is often thought to be only for those who can afford it on a whim. But in the current economy, people have to be smarter with their money. The always inconsistent state of the world economy is an indication that people are trying to save more and spend less.

Price increases are expected, but the twice yearly hikes of some of the “mother three” have turned off some to the brands.Luxury items are often treats we give ourselves and others on special occasions or just because, but when you could buy a decent car in cash for what you are carrying on your arm, it is time to evaluate your purchases.  Because of the hike in prices, many people have moved from buying in-store to getting their bags on the pre-loved market.

The exchange of canvas for full leather bags will be the end of an era for many young women who save up their hard earned money for their first bag. Although they are priced less than their competitors, Vuitton bags will never lose their spot in the high-end community as long as they off the same impeccable craftsmanship and service that has made the company a staple of luxury for nearly two centuries. If this change does happen, there will be many women who will lose out on a wonderful experience of purchasing their first handbag in-store. Luxury is not only about the item, but also the experience. Although you will still be able to purchase other lower priced items, the special experience of buying your first luxury handbag is like no other.

Vuitton is not only a name of luxury but also a legacy of astounding quality.

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