I’m a huge believer in dreaming big, as they say, ‘reach for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars’. Or perhaps you’ll end up with a Birkin in your hot little hands! Even if you’re not dreaming of a Birkin, there are so many other insanely gorgeous, and equally insanely priced, bags to dream of, I thought I’d showcase some of them here.
First off, want to know the deets on the most expensive bag ever sold at auction? Well, no surprise, it was in fact a Birkin. It sold in 2016 through Christie’s Auction House in Hong Kong for $379,261. This Birkin was the exclusive white Himalaya version, handmade from Niloticus crocodile, featuring 18 karat gold hardware and more than 240 diamonds. It’s called the Himalayan because of its colour, which resembles the famous mountain range. According to Hermès, this bag is “possibly the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world.” Well it should be for that price, don’t you think? Just not sure how practical it would be to grab for a quick trip to the shops, unless it comes with a full-time security guard.
The Birkin Himalaya: most expensive bag in the world.
But Birkins aren’t simply fashion statements, these bags can be a savvy investment, appreciating considerably in value over time. Much like a classic Chanel flap bag, which recently underwent a price increase by the fashion house of up to 8%.
Even the most basic Birkin bags start at around $10,000 and are known for their long waiting lists – sometimes stretching years. Victoria Beckham is a huge fan, she's said to have around 100 of them, in a collection worth approximately $2 million.
So what other bags are the rich and famous splurging on?
First, the most expensive bag in the world. The 1001 Nights Diamond Purse by House of Mouawad. Price? $3.8 million. It’s even been certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive. Its heart shaped and encrusted with 4,517 diamonds in yellow, pink and colourless variants, totaling 381.92 carats. It took 8,800 hours to create by 10 highly skilled artisans.
The 1001 Nights Diamond Purse by House of Mouawad with a price tag of $3.8m.
The Chanel Diamond Forever Classic Bag features 334 diamonds (a total of 3.56 carats), set in white gold. It also features white gold shoulder straps. Only 13 of these bags were ever made. Price? $261,000.
Chanel's Diamond Forever Classic Bag.
Louis Vuitton’s Urban Satchel comes in at $150,000. The odd thing about this bag is it looks more like a pile of rubbish than a high-end handbag. I guess there’s no accounting for taste. When it launched in 2008, Ashley Olsen signed a multimillion dollar endorsement deal to advertise the bag. Rumour had it that she and twin, Mary-Kate, got into a heated battle over who got to purchase the bag; whilst Victoria Beckham and Anna Wintour started a bidding war for it.
Louis Vuitton's Urban Satchel.
We’ve featured this one before, but still a genuine work of art. More like a piece of jewellery than a bag; Leiber’s Precious Rose, worth $92,000. This one has 1,016 diamonds, 1,169 pink sapphires and 800 tourmalines, all set in 18 carat white gold. So precious that only one was ever made.
Leiber's Precious Rose.
Two other Louis Vuitton are up there in price. The New Age Traveller Backpack ($54,500) and the Tribute Patchwork Bag ($42,000). Both a relative bargain when compared with the insane Urban Satchel. The New Age Traveller Backpack features exotic skins including snakeskin and crocodile, alongside various lurex jacquard woven Monogram fabrics. It also has suede leather tassels, headphone cables and two furry fox tail charms. I guess for that price they need to throw in a few extras! As for the Tribute Bag, only 24 exist and were created using 15 different LV patterns. No offence, but looks more like a something a dog might have regurgitated than a designer bag to me. I’m certainly not lusting after this one. Beyoncé, you can hang on to yours, I won’t be wanting it.
Above left: Louis Vuitton's New Age Traveller Backpack. Right: Beyoncé proudly sporting her LV Tribute Bag.
Fendi are also in the ‘most expensive’ bag game with their Selleria Bag, price tag: $38,000. This bag is made from two of the world’s most rare and expensive animal skins: chinchilla and sable.
Fendi Selleria Bag.
So there you have it, a handful of some of the highest price bags in the world, something for everyone’s taste it seems.
I don’t know about you, but even if I had the cash, I’d certainly steer away from an ugly, gimmicky feeling ‘Urban Satchel’ or ‘Tribute Bag’. I can understand someone splurging on a bag that is a rare work of art, like a Lieber or Mouawad; I just think you’d never feel comfortable wearing them; they’re best left behind a (thick) glass panel, or in a safe. However, I’d put my money on a classic, timeless bag… a Birkin. Now I know why they continue to dominate the high-end handbag world and have a waiting list a mile long. No gimmicks, practical, wearable, elegant and simply beautiful.