A new book called ‘Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster’ cites some statistics about designer handbags that I find deeply upsetting. Apparently, 40 per cent of Japanese people own a product made by Louis Vuitton. Girls in Japan will resort to prostitution in order to buy a Louis Vuitton or Hermes handbag.
In 2004, luxury brands collectively sold $11.7 billion worth of handbags and other leather accessories. Shit! I think about $10 billion of that was my fault, but I’m not taking the blame for the rest of it.
This horrible scourge of “It Bags” and what it represents is a depressing subject for me, since I consider myself somewhat enlightened and devoutly anti-authority, but I still want a nice handbag. By ‘nice,’ I mean expensive. By ‘expensive,’ I mean that anything under $500 is unacceptable. By ‘unacceptable,’ I mean brands like Coach or Cole Haan or any other mid-priced brand. I don’t mind using a vinyl Hello Kitty bag if I get the urge, but otherwise it has to be an eye-popping luxury piece that says ‘Look! I’m Not Afraid To Waste Money!’
I’ve read The Theory of the Leisure Class, and I know about conspicuous consumption. I snicker at people who care what kind of car others drive. I like thrift shops and second hand clothes. I hate Republicans. But I am hopelessly caught up in the handbag thing.
Is it insecurity? Vanity? Status-Seeking? Advertising? Brainwashing? I’m not sure, but I’m hoping that ‘Deluxe’ will enlighten me. The appeal of Louis Vuitton has always seemed unfathomable, since those logo handbags are so drab looking. And I had no idea that the Japanese has switched their affection from Prada to Louis!
My enormous yellow handbag has stopped giving me a thrill, sort of like when you hit a wall with Zoloft and have to try Lexapro or Effexor. I am presently involved in a transaction with Vivienne Westwood, which may solve the problem. God knows I have prostituted myself to pay for it!