The World's Most Extravagant Handbags *pics*

  1. World's Most Extravagant Handbags
    Hitha Prabhakar​

    Got $100,000 to burn? How about investing in a diamond-encrusted metallic alligator skin clutch favored by Hollywood's A-listers? Better act fast, though. With six-figure totes such as these flying off shelves like crinkly hot cakes, it’s a wonder there are any reptiles left.

    "People want to spend their money on frivolous things," says Pamela Danziger, author of Why People Buy Things They Don't Need and founder of luxury good research company Unity Marketing.

    So much so that Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which includes brands such as Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Givenchy, said during the company's earnings conference call in February that ready-to-wear fashion and leather goods accounted for much of the company's 12% growth last year. Online shopping site saw a 13% increase in sales of handbags over $500 in 2006.

    Not to be outdone, Louis Vuitton had fashionistas scrambling recently for the $42,000 Tribute Patchwork handbag introduced on the runway last fall. Dubbed "the most expensive handbag ever" by industry experts and media outlets, the four available this year in U.S. stores sold out, but 20 can be found in Louis Vuitton boutiques throughout Europe and Asia.

    "If something is hard to find or impossible to get, it makes it more valuable," says Meaghan Mahoney, editor of, an online community devoted to handbags. "In addition to paying the high price, you are also getting something that no one else will have."

    That's true for the Tribute. "It may not be most attractive bag," Mahoney continues. "It’s made of 15 different patterns of Vuitton handbags all sewn together. But only 24 of them exist." Translation? It’s unsightly, but prized.

    Despite media claims that the Tribute is the costliest handbag on the market, we found several much more expensive. Adding to the princely price tags? Diamonds and rare animal skin.

    Bejeweled Bags
    Accessorizing handbags with precious stones is not uncommon. The Gadino, from Norwegian designer Hilde Palladino, boasts white gold and diamonds. Cost: $38,470.

    The Lana Marks Cleopatra Clutch in alligator ($100,000) comes accessorized with 1,500 black and white round diamonds. Only one clutch is made for retail each year. Marks also makes a yearly limited edition Cleopatra for one actress to carry down the red carpet. Call it a lucky charm--two have won Academy Awards in recent years while possessing the bag: Charlize Theron in 2004, and this year Helen Mirren, who carried hers right up to the podium.

    Rare Skins
    When it comes to alligator, ostrich or snakeskin, handbag designers go to extreme lengths to find the rarest. Santiago Gonzalez, chief executive of Nancy Gonzalez handbags, has traveled from the Australian outback to Hong Kong to find skins that seldom come to market.

    "What people don’t understand," he says, "is that it takes a certain amount of area on the skin to make a bag." That means that since uniformity of scale is prized, even if a reptile with rare skin is found, if too small, the search continues.

    The Nancy Gonzalez Porousus Bag, made with uncommon ring lizard skin, costs $30,000. Designer Devi Kroell uses alligator skins whose scales are similar in size--a rarity--to create a $29,000 bag.

    A Purse Is Worth A Thousand Words
    Of course, an expensive handbag speaks volumes about the lucky person who carries one. The most vocal? The world's most expensive.

    Some argue no bag compares to the Hermes $148,000 Birkin in croc porosus lisse. What makes this bag so expensive--by far the costliest in the world--is not just the type of skin used, but the nine carats of diamonds set in white gold and placed on its clasp and lock. This bag is custom made.

    Fair Fashion
    Lovely leather aside, with animal rights activists up-in-arms over fashionistas in fur, might we not soon see the day when lizard lovers will have been intimidated against buying bags that once swam or slithered?

    "As much you would think there would be a huge backlash, there won’t be," says Danziger. "It goes back to the basic rule of supply and demand. The more rare and scarce something is, the more people want it. In the case of overly expensive handbags, people will still covet them because it’s an uncommon find."

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    Hermes Birkin in Croc Porosus Lisse

    Named after French singer/songwriter Jane Birkin, this 35 centimeter croc porosus lisse tote boasts 9-carat diamonds with 1.86 carats of diamonds on the lock itself. Pictured here: the same Birkin tote sold at auction in 2005 by Doyle New York. Each is made-to-order.
    Lana Marks Cleopatra Bag

    Each year, Marks produces one Cleopatra clutch for retail. This year's limited edition (pictured here) is made of metallic silver alligator skin and a clasp encrusted with 1,500 black and white diamond set in 18-carat white gold.
    Chanel Croc Biarritz

    Chanel debuted this black crocodile tote last month. Three are available in Chanel boutiques in New York City and two in Los Angeles; select Neiman Marcus locations carry three more. External pockets close with a discrete double "C" logo zipper. Its interior has dividers for the unorganized.
    LV Tribute Patchwork Bag

    Though this tote, made of 15 different Louis Vuitton patterns cut up and reassembled, has gotten mixed media reviews, the four available in U.S. stores have sold out. But 20 are available in Louis Vuitton boutiques throughout Europe and Asia.
    Gadino Bag by Hilde Palladino
    Upon first glance, the crocodile Gadino Bag made by Norwegian designer Hilde Palladino doesn't appear to be anything special. But look closely and you’ll see the glint of 39 white diamonds strategically placed in clasps made of white gold. It’s little touches like that that give it the same price tag as an SUV.
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    Marc Jacobs Carolyn Crocodile Handbag

    Its hefty price tag hasn't swayed Marc Jacobs fans from nabbing this bag; it is one of his most popular accessories. Made of purple crocodile skin, the quilted Carolyn comes with interior pockets and separators.
    Fendi Sable Bag

    A bag like this one can be made to order with sable and chinchilla, two of the world's rarest and most luxurious animal skins. It's far from precious but big enough to accommodate necessities such as a wallet, keys, cellphone and makeup bag.
    Nancy Gonzalez Porousus Bag
    Made with a rare, almost uniformly scaled crocodile skin, the Porousus Bag can be customized by color, skin, size and hardware.
    Devi Kroell Alligator Hobo

    The softened triangular shaped tote, made of skin with scales of near-uniform size, is large enough to carry even a small laptop. It has internal pockets for added storage.
    LEIBER Dandelion Suede Gator Handbag
    With yellow a popular spring color, this alligator LEIBER bag is sure to make a splash this season among the bag-obsessed. It comes with two external pockets and a strap as well as a clasp made of 18-carat gold. Only four have been made of this style and are still available.
  4. Oh my...I don't know where my upper limit is, but I'm cutting it off before it gets to the price of a car. I love my bags, but I love my TL more :smile:
  5. Love the Leiber bag.
  6. Good heavens.

    Let's or bag.....
  7. Oh, God, if I won the lottery, I would love to own a Hermes ostrich kelly maybe.
  8. Thanks for posting this!!!!! Will definitely need to go up on the blog!! :yes:
  9. Car, heck...I'd have to get a mortgage on some of those bags!

    Pretty pics though!
  10. They're all so lovely, except for the LV Tribute bag. What were they thinking?

    But all the rest are gorgeous.
  11. oh dear god. for that kind of money you could build a city for impoverished people anywhere and ALL OVER the world and no one woudl want for anythign!
  12. Wooow, these are some really expensive bags!
    I like the Chanel Croc and the Devi Kreoll one.
  13. I can show this to my husband when he thinks the bags I buy are overpriced - $1500 is nothing!!
  14. I just don't get the LV Tribute bag ... even if I had the money ... that bag is just ... not attractive to me. :shocked: The other bags are very nice though ... but yeah, waaaaay too expensive for my pocketbook!
  15. :roflmfao: yeah right!