Why classic handbags are a wise investment
We catch up with bag auctioneer Meg Randell to learn more about iconic handbags as an investment
Designer handbag and fashion specialist at Chiswick Auctions in London, shares her expert
insights into the luxurious world of classic handbags.
What qualities do you think makes a handbag reach classic status?
The classic designs are the ones that have stood the test of time; the Chanel 2.55 is the perfect example, as the design has not really changed since it was first created. The key features of a classic bag seem to be simplicity of design, a lack of overt decoration (except on special pieces) and celebrity endorsement (Birkin –Jane Birkin, Kelly- Grace Kelly, Lady Dior- Princess Diana, etc.)
What are your favourite classic luxury handbags?
My personal favourite is the Chanel classic flap Jumbo sized – it’s such a beautiful, simple and elegant bag, whilst being practical. Hermes Kelly and Gucci bamboo are also lovely.
What is the most expensive handbag that you’ve dealt with?
I once had an extremely rare Hermes Birkin Contour in crocodile leather, which had been purchased last year for £36,000. Sadly the vendor wanted too much money and so I could not find a buyer for it. The most expensive bag I have sold to date was a beautiful vintage Hermes crocodile Kelly that sold for £10k (including buyer’s premium)
What tips would you recommend for spotting a fake designer handbag when purchasing?
Cheaper fakes will be easier to spot; using fake or low quality leather, or wonky stitching for example. There are, however, some horribly good copies that are being churned out that only a keen eye will spot. Often it is the smallest details; one too few stitches in a Chanel quilted section, the incorrect metallic stamp, the wrong accent on the ‘e’ of Hermès are all small examples that need to be completely perfect for the bags to be genuine.
How difficult is restoring classic handbags and getting all the parts?
There are increasingly more ‘handbag clinics’ opening as a result for the demand in pre-loved handbags. It is always better however, if possible, to get your items fixed by the original designer. Names such as Chanel and Hermes can do their own repairs, meaning that the bag retains all their original parts, and is still a ‘true’ Chanel or Hermes. Furthermore, receipts for bags that have been to the Chanel or Hermes ‘Handbag Spa’ will act as authentication certificates, making the handbags more commercial on the second hand market.
How would you differentiate the differences between a classic handbag and a trend?
The classic handbags are the ones that have kept their design for years – such as the Chanel 2.55, the Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags, Louis Vuitton Speedy etc. It can be hard to spot the future classics, but they tend to be of simple design. The most extravagant and unusual, or limited edition, bags can often be more expensive to buy retail, but often lose value in the pre-loved market. I find that the bags I sell best tend to be in simple colours (black, blue, and beige) and lacking in OTT adornment.
Our next sale to get your hands on any luxury pieces will be July 18th at Chiswick Auctions, 1 Colville Road, London, W3 8BL
0208 992 4442 chiswickauctions.co.uk
The Handbag Clinic has just arrived this summer at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge, offering incomparable restorative handbag services and esteemed cleaning. Situated within the Style Concierge suite of the third floor, the comprehensive repair service renews luxury bags to their former glory from as little as £10. With transformations to minor damages taking place on site, you can enjoy the exceptional eateries on offer and browse the extensive fashion collections of the store as you wait.
020 7235 5000 Harveynichols.com
MEG RANDELL TOP 5 PREDICTED CLASSICS FOR THE FUTURE