If they ask what I want I would be upfront...I wouldn't even hint...But I would say that- I know it is a high priced item.. So I wouldn't mind contributions- so that I can purchase it myself. (Which can be in the form of a gift card etc. That way if someone is willing to purchase they know exactly what you want. And what kind of price range is at stake.
And it also shows that you do understand that what you are asking for is a high priced item (extravagent to some)- and by saying that you wouldn't mind contributions going towards your dream bag- and you wouldn't mind putting in the rest... You would seem considerate----and not spoiled. IMO
Only from my boyfriend. From everyone else I just ask for visa gift cards or they usually end up giving me cash. My family and friends know I have expensive taste so they don't even bother buying an actual present!!