A $38,000 handbag not unheard of in luxury market

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Oprah Winfrey. AP

LONDON — A $38,000 handbag? For most people, it’s unthinkable.

But for the richest sliver of the global population, it’s a realistic option — and buyers aren’t short of choices.

In the upscale boutiques of Singapore, New York or Zurich — where Oprah Winfrey claims a sales clerk refused to show her a $38,000 bag — purses priced in the four figures are common. In fact, they’re so common that a higher level of luxury exists to set the super-rich apart from the merely affluent.

A budget of about $1,000 to $2,000 will buy one of the cheaper bags by luxe labels such as Prada, Hermes, Fendi, Chanel or Louis Vuitton.

But that’s just the starter step. Many labels create the same style of bag in a range of fabrics, from leather to more expensive calfskin, snakeskin and crocodile skin. Adding silver or gold clasps or precious stones can increase the price tag, while limited editions and one-off creations can fetch astronomical sums.

The item at the center of the Winfrey dispute was reportedly a Tom Ford Jennifer bag — named for Jennifer Aniston, a fan of the American designer. The version on sale at Zurich’s Trois Pommes was one of the higher-end models, priced at 35,000 Swiss francs ($38,000).

Prices for Hermes’ Birkin bag — a square, sturdy tote that has become one of the most-coveted luxury handbags since it was introduced in the 1980s — start at about $10,000, but have gone as high as $200,000, for a red crocodile skin Birkin sold at a 2011 Christie’s auction.

Hermes also produced a platinum version studded with 2,000 diamonds, designed by Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka and valued at almost $2 million.

That, however, is not the world’s most expensive handbag. According to Guinness World Records, that honor goes to a heart-shaped gold purse from jewelry house Mouawad covered in 4,500 diamonds and valued at $3.8 million.

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  • INQ_reader

    Crazy! A cheap bag will function just the same.

  • VeryDisgusted2

    Wow! $38k is P1.6m. The money can build 6 Habitat for Humanity units.

  • Rex_Ranhilio

    Paging Jeane Napoles!

  • UrHONOR

    HA HA HA…nagkalat ang mga bags na yan sa kusina ni Coal Girl Jane! Pang araw-araw lang daw ng katulong nya yang mga Hermes at LV bags na ginagamit sa pamamalengke.

    • basilionisisa

      coal girl: sounds like a prostitute. i like it, nice!

  • $3741640

    What are this people trying to prove?….I bet the Napoles clan has a collection of this….at the expense of the Filipino people! They say this elite companies generate revenue and jobs….but to whose expense? Many corrupt persons are trying to be a faux socialite!

  • erica

    Naku kayang kaya ring bumili ng reyna ng uling nyan…. imagine mag uuling lang pero bilyones ang kaban na nakatago.

    • basilionisisa

      gaano ka kaya kaputi? ikaw naman kaya, reyna ng asukal o semento? at ano kaya nakatago sa kaban mo? tsk tsk tsk! jealousy makes bad judgement.

  • chingnarciso

    May mamahalin din na bag si Mommy Dionisia, na bigay daw ni Manny at Jinky. ha. Ipinagyabang pa niya sa T.V. noon..I don’t know if what brand she got, pero sabi nya galing daw sa State, at huwag kalimutan yung relo na pinagyayabang din..lol..

  • Juan Delacruz

    If you cant pawn it don’t spend too much on it. That’s my motto on personal goods. I have a very expensive watch (not rolex) but when hard times comes i wish i had a automatic seiko instead.

  • TV

    Interesting news from Switzerland, arguably the destination of choice for Third World (read: non-white, non-Caucasian) plundering despots like Marcos.

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