The Two Million Dollar Hermès Handbag: Fashion Lunacy?

Zina Tasreen , 09 Mar 2012
Victoria Beckham with the extremely rare Himalyan Birkin (left) and Kelly (right) from her collection of 100+ (!!) Hermès handbags

Right chums, remember I told you how the world’s most expensive handbags are the Birkins all the way? Would you believe it if I told you now that Hermès has gone and outdone itself? Well, it has come up with handbags that cost a whooping €1.5/$1.9/£1.2 million (approximately)! You know you want to know the deets, so click through… ;-)

As part of Hermès’s second sortie into the super-exclusive market for haute bijouterie, its artistic director for jewellery, Pierre Hardy, who also happens to be a bag and shoe maestro, created four different mini-handbags, called the Birkin/Kelly/Nausicaa/Chaîne d’ancre Sac Bijou(s), using gold and mind-boggling amount of precious stones.

Hermès Haute Bijouterie
Top: Anna Hu Haute Joaillerie (btw, the cuff on the top right is the one worn by Gwyneth Paltrow to the Oscars) Bottom: Audemars Piguet Haute Joaillerie

Okay, you *might* be wondering what haute bijouterie is… Well, that, along with haute joallerie, is like the ‘haute couture’ for jewellery: made to measure and to order, high-end stuff, and can be viewed by appointments only. But, the difference between the two being that the former, i.e. haute bijouterie, starts with outrageous designs, say sculptural objects with precious stones, while the latter with the most unusual and precious of stones but on a less off-beat design template.

The Sac Bijous: Birkin (left) and Kelly (right)

Getting back to Hermès, the mini-handbags are meant to be worn as bracelets, but, in theory, should also work as miniature handbags. They took two years to develop and can only make three versions of each. The Birkin Sac Bijou comes in rose and white gold versions – and is studded with 2,712 of the best-quality diamonds! The Kelly Sac Bijou has crocodile scales and 1,160 diamonds, while the Chaîne d’ancre Sac Bijou is made of intertwining chains covered in 11,000 (!!!) diamonds.

“I have no idea,” said Pierre Hardy when quizzed who he thought would buy these handbags, “But maybe they will have two bodyguards!” His bemusing response was supplemented by Patrick Thomas, the maison’s CEO, who laughingly said, “We are a little crazy here.”

Now comes the all-important question: would you, IF, you had all that money? Common sense says an emphatic no, but the economist/financier in me says “YES!!” Why is that? Because of the following equation:

handbags (crazily popular luxury accessory) x fine jewellery (super-exclusive one-off design with commodity investment potential) = must-have object

Just sometimes there’s a method to the madness…

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