Tuesday, October 16, 2007

If you could only have one bag...

...what would it be? How hard would it be to let go of your entire collection and only hold onto one sad, lonely, but gorgeous piece?

I've been thinking about that every since I finished reading "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster." I know I've referenced this book many times (the author should really thank me!), but if I had to summarize the entire book in one sentence, it would be "The conglomerates *cough* Louis Vuitton *cough* are evil, but buy Hermès and Chanel, they are the real prince and princess of Luxury Land." Ironically, I own neither, so now I'm re-thinking my whole purchasing process. Have I been doing this all wrong? Why not use that consumer power for something truly refined instead of mass-produced?

My answer to my own question would be the Hermès Birkin. Hands down, this is one of the most iconic bags in the world, but it is also classic, made truly by hand, with all natural and wonderful materials, and unique in itself. Dana Thomas' in-depth description of the meticulous process needed to make this bag made my once-elevated LVs fall as quickly as an elevator whose cable has snapped and is hurtling, crashing, into downwards descension. Who has deceived me more than I have deceived myself?

Don't get me wrong. I don't love my LVs any less. But now I must tell myself, should I stop buying completely? Other than trying to satisfy the hoarder in me, why buy so many bags? When did the madness begin, and what makes sense now? Is it the hunt for the bag that exhilirates me? If so, then it was wrong for me to buy, because if I enjoy the hunt more than I can use the bags, there is obviously some deep chasm I need to fill, and bags are not the answer.

If you think I'm going to sell all my bags now, hah!, you are dead wrong. Each bag bears a memory now. It's not that easy to let go, even though I've thought about relinquishing some to the world of eBay. The pink Christian Dior pochette that was so hard to find, but which after I purchased, I never used. Its white leather flowers are still pristine, in all its dainty, milky glory. There is the red patent leather Marc Jacobs hobo that I thought would look so great slung on my back. It wasn't until it arrived in the mail that I found out how ridiculously big it looked on me. Still, the patent leather is one of the most gorgeous materials I've seen on any bag....it was just too big on my frame, so it now sits somewhere, waiting to be cherished. I have even thought of letting go of some of my prized LVs. The cute multicolor pochette that they don't even make anymore. I also have the clutch, which is more in line with my wardrobe, so why keep both? And so the gears in my head turn, wanting to absolve them, but wanting to hold on as well.

I am now on the biggest hunt; for a meticulous, gently used but loved Birkin that won't set me back TOO much. This can be a hunt for years, so maybe I won't buy anymore, because the hunt will keep me at bay. Maybe it's because I'm approaching 30 next year; a more adult, classic bag is calling out to me to replace the girly fantasies that my other bags provided in the past 5 years. Vanity Fair had a lovely article written on the Hermès family, which you should definitely read. They perceive themselves to be truly about the craftsmanship, rathering than the marketing (if you want to believe them), but I think we all can agree that as of the present, they have not sold out just yet. If they can hang onto themselves and not allow the giants of the business world swallow up their "family business," then shouldn't we hold onto our own souls as well? Do you buy because you love it, or just to have it?

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