Purse race

Before the bling bubble bursts
For a while it was expensive watches that most tempted the very rich. More recently it’s been handbags for women, which are intended to be iconic advertisements for designers and to flaunt the wealth of the owners. These are presumably people who survived the dot-com crash and the subprime crisis and have the trophies to prove it.

While researching this religio-cultural phenomenon, I learned the names of bags: Heloise, Mathilde, Beata by Chloé, plus Mariah, Camila and Elsa. Eric Wilson, in the style section of the November 1 New York Times, cites these names, making them sound like a “cloud of witnesses” or a galaxy of seraphim to praise the owners. These are expensive companions. Neiman-Marcus offered a version called 25 Chanel for $25,000—and sold them all “in a snap.”


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