http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2007-03-14-vuitton-purse_N.htm Those $45,000 bags are a sellout By Maria Puente, USA TODAY Enlarge By Chris Moore, Catwalking, via Getty Images Pretty ugly: The Tribute is apatchwork of 15 Vuitton bags. That new Louis Vuitton Tribute Patchwork Bag everyone is blathering about? The one that's supposedly the most expensive bag ever? The one being disparaged from blog to blog as the ugliest bag ever? Sold out. Yes, some two-dozen special customers of the venerable French line ordered the $45,000 custom-made shoulder bags months ago and they've all been delivered. No more are being made, and Vuitton doesn't want to talk about them. It is not the most expensive bag ever sold: An Hermés Birkin bag of black crocodile with a diamond-covered clasp sold for $64,800 at auction in April 2005. No word yet on who would pay the equivalent of a college education for the Vuitton Tribute, a startling-looking bag designed by Marc Jacobs and made up of pieces of 15 Vuitton bags. The British press, never shy about sniping at the French, referred to the bag as "Frankenstein's monster" when it appeared on the runway last fall. Now, months later, pictures are turning up on the purse blogs, where bag lovers dish and damn with abandon. Their take was not kind: "An atrocity," declares Kelly Cook of Bagsnob.com. "Ridiculously hideous the craze for this bag has got to stop." But it probably won't, because Vuitton today launches its similarly named Patchwork collection of denim patchwork bags, priced at $3,000-$5,000, says a customer service rep. So maybe this Tribute tizzy is all about marketing? Cook says Jacobs knows what he's doing: "He makes 'editorial' bags that the magazines will talk about and then he can sell the regular bags based on the hype." So will the Tribute bag be counterfeited? Anna Van Pragh, a reporter for The Daily Mail in London, had the sly idea of testing it. "It took me just four hours and ($222) to buy fake versions of the separate bags," she wrote. "For just ($77), a local seamstress cut them up and sewed them together." Her fake fooled plenty, attracting "the admiring glances of curious passersby." But "it didn't make me feel rich or special, just a little bit silly."