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The Anatomy of Luxury Handbags: What Makes Them Worth the Investment?

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Fashion Lifestyle

luxury bags: Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton – these are just a few of the most popular luxury brands known today.

These fashion houses have stood the test of time, with some already in existence for more than a century. That is probably why their products, particularly those gorgeous handbags they sell, are considered worthwhile investments.

When choosing a piece to invest in, you need to know what it is made of to ensure it’s worth every dirham you spend. It doesn’t matter if you choose brand-new or pre-owned designer bags. What matters is how well you know them.

To help you out, this article summarizes the anatomies of two popular luxury handbag brands, including their unique parts, materials, and prices.

Chanel 2.55 and Classic Flap

The Chanel 2.55 is one of the most iconic luxury bags of all time. Since the fashion house reopened in the 1950s, this bag – created by Coco Chanel herself – has evolved into many versions, including the Classic Flap Bag.

Parts and Materials

One thing that separates Chanel 2.55 and the Classic Flap from your average handbag is the level of craftsmanship and the quality of materials used to make them.

Below are the different parts and materials Chanel 2.55 and its sisters are made of:

  • High-Quality Leather: Some versions of the Chanel 2.55 are made of soft lambskin, but more durable varieties are crafted from calfskin leather. Another option is caviar leather, which is treated and hardened to achieve that signature Chanel look.
  • Golden Hardware: Another thing that raises Chanel bags’ values is their gold-plated hardware on the mademoiselle chain strap. They are made of 22K to 24K gold-plated solid brass, which makes the bag feel more luxurious to carry around.
  • Interwoven Strap: Second-generation Chanel 2.55 bags from Karl Lagerfeld are made with interwoven chain straps. Although not quite as lavish as the mademoiselle golden chain, these come with an elegant and sleek finish perfect for everyday use.
  • Turn-lock Clasps: Another thing that has evolved in Chanel handbags over the years is the clasp. In the original version, you’ll find the rectangular mademoiselle clasp, a piece of minimalist golden hardware that will never go out of fashion. In the second-generation models, you’ll find the CC clasp that reflects the brand’s unique logo more than its predecessor.

Price

At the end of 2021, reports emerged stating that Chanel is aiming for Hermes-level pricing with its most recent global price increase.

A spokesperson for the fashion brand attributed the hike to an unspecified currency exchange rate fluctuation. However, analysts see it as an aggressive corporate strategy to assert control over the luxury handbag market.

Whatever the reason, Chanel prices are now 60 percent higher, with a brand-new Classic Flap Bag selling for $8,200 with the larger 2.55 handbag pegged at $9,500.

Of course, pre-owned Chanel bags will remain relatively cheaper than brand-new ones – albeit not as much as before. Still, this will only mean that the value of that Chanel handbag in your closet has gone up and will continue to do so, proving that it is a worthwhile investment.

Hermes Birkin

Sometimes referred to as the ultimate collector’s bag, the Hermes Birkin is one of the most sought-after luxury pieces in the market today.

With its sister, the Hermes Kelly Bag, the Birkin has become a prime topic in most luxury handbag top lists and is seen as a viable investment for many fashion aficionados.

Parts and Materials

Hermes Birkin is a handmade bag that brings artisan craftsmanship and top-quality material together into one timeless piece.

Its anatomy comprises several components, including:

  • Structured Leather Handles: Birkin handles are made from rolled leather that usually matches the rest of the bag. However, some custom pieces can be made with different colored handles to match the owner’s personality and any Hermes Twilly scarf attached to it.
  • Detachable Tiret: This simple leather piece attaches the clochette to the handle, providing easy access to the keys hidden in it. The tiret can be removed to make the handbag look more minimalistic, but make sure that you keep it inside the bag or in secure storage for future use.
  • Plaques: These are found on each end of the sangles, with one engraved with the word “Hermes.” The plaque bearing the brand name should be stacked above the other when putting the component in place.
  • “H” Lock: Not many luxury bags come with a lock, but Birkin has set a standard for security and style. Its “H” lock is made from the same leather material as the rest of the bag and keeps the touret securely in place. For people who don’t enjoy locking their handbags, the “H” lock can be attached on the other end of the tiret, opposite the clochette.
  • Clochette: Although a staple in many luxury bags, the bell-shaped clochette is an iconic Birkin accessory that helps disguise the keys that come with the bag’s “H” padlock.
  • Touret: This projecting piece keeps the sangles stacked in place and serves as the locking mechanism kept secure with the “H” lock.
  • Four Clou: These are the four metal “feet” attached to the base of the bag to protect it from hazardous surfaces. They ensure the handbag stands steadily in place and are often made with the same material as the rest of the hardware.
  • Flap: Deemed as one of the most important features of the Hermes Birkin, the flap is crafted precisely so it sits comfortably in front when locked. It serves as an anchor and secures the bag opening.
  • Sangles: These are straps made of thin similarly-hued leather that helps keep the flap in place over the touret, with matching hardware plaques at each end. The sangle is also where you’ll find the date stamp for the bag.
  • Pontet: These thin-yet-sturdy brackets fasten the sangles on top of the flap.

Price

The latest prices for the more popular Hermes Birkin models range between $10,145 and $12,450. This could still vary depending on the country where you’re buying a Birkin from and how much tax will be added to the price.

However, its resale value is expected to increase by about twice or thrice as much, especially for the rarer and more famous combinations. For example, those made with more exotic leather can be sold four to five times more than handbags made from Epsom or Togo leather materials.

Know Your Luxury Bag

Well-maintained luxury handbags are significant investments that provide outstanding value to their owners.

Make sure you choose the right brand and model for you based not only on your preference but also on the bag’s anatomy, value, and potential for ROI.

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