The beauty of the handbag industry is the variety of pieces available to suit every taste, purpose or budget. From the high street to high-end fashion houses, experimentation with colours, materials, precious metals, jewels and size is frequent, and as a result there is something for everyone from functionality to finesse. Amidst these delights, as with all luxury items, there are pieces which take it to the next level and demand next level prices as a result.
Handbag Clinic will guide you through some of the most notorious handbag brands, the most expensive pieces they have ever produced, and just why they demand some of the vast sums that have been exchanged. Whether bought in an auction, direct from the designer or loaned out to famous names, here is our list of some of the most sought after and coveted handbags on the planet for you to fall in love with!
#10: Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs is a name ubiquitous with fashion accessories and notorious for quality, so their specialist ‘Carolyn Crocodile’ handbag had to feature at #10 on our list. Whilst they have more accessible and affordable lines and may not seem to be exclusive, this piece proves they can compete with huge global names, not just on price but on outstanding quality and rarity too.
This handbag costs an estimated £21,000 ($30,000) and is constructed from patent crocodile skin, available in a quilted blue or purple coloured pattern reminiscent of tie-dye, which guides the chosen colour through a variety of different tints and hues on each individual panel to create an unforgettable effect. You won’t see anything like this again.
Marc Jacobs' 'Carolyn Crocodile' in purple. Source: Luxos.com
The ‘Selleria’ handbag was first launched over 70 years ago in 1938 and is an icon Italian fashion giants Fendi have moulded their brand image around. Made to order with sable and chinchilla leathers (two of the most expensive and elusive skins in existence) these beauties can take up to 4 months to be produced by Italian master craftsmen.
Fendi's 'Selleria' handbag in a stylish silver. Source: Pinterest
The handbag, priced at £26,500 ($38,000), not only exudes luxury and sophistication with a sublime finish but is one of the few bags in our list which is actually big enough for daily use and can accommodate all of your accessories comfortably within its sumptuously soft hide. Tempting to say the least for any handbag aficionado.
#8: Hilde Palladino
Hilde Palladino is a Norwegian designer who produces some of the most unique handbags on the planet. The ‘Gadino’ is classed as one of the most impressive purses in the world by popular demand. The limited edition bag is made from white crocodile skin with 39 diamonds placed on its lavish white gold fasteners.
Palladino's 'Gadino'. Source: Smartsuwal.com
Coming in at a cool £27,000 ($38,470) it’s actually quite reasonable in the context of this piece. Palladino sells her bags within high-end boutiques around the world like Harvey Nichols, but keeps them incredibly limited in production to keep them exciting and only for a fortunate few.
#7: Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton are known for pushing the boundaries with extravagant one off collections and ground-breaking concepts which have changed the landscape of fashion over their history. With a brand image of usually being clean, clinical and recognisable, nothing within this list quite compares to their ‘Tribute Patchwork’ bag for boundary pushing innovative design.
Including a variety of different iconic Louis Vuitton styles pieced together, only 20 of these Frankenstein-esque collector’s items were ever produced, and retailed for £29,000 ($42,000) each. Opinion was split upon release in 2007 as some sectors dubbed it “the world’s ugliest handbag”, but unsurprisingly they all sold out rapidly. For sheer attention to detail and paying homage to some fantastic styles, Louis Vuitton has to be acknowledged for their audacity on this occasion.
Beauty or a beast? Louis Vuitton's 'Tribute Patchwork' has raised some eyebrows. Source: Financesonline.co.uk
#6: Saint Laurent
Saint Laurent, founded in 1961, is a brand notorious for modern minimalism and Parisian monochrome fashion, creating ready-to-wear garments as well as a range of accessories in which handbags feature prominently. Creatively directed by Hedi Slimane, simplicity in its purest form with perfect execution and superb materials seems to be the way of YSL, and their ‘Sac De Jour’ leather tote is a prime example of this mantra.
Constructed from magnificent alligator leather you cannot argue that this handbag is simply sublime and will never go out of style: exactly what founder Yves Saint Laurent would have wanted. Coming in at £ 20,500 (€26,500) it ranks at the ‘cheaper’ end of this list but maintains an understated luxury that rivals the more excessive pieces on this list. Maybe one day!
The definition of elegance? Saint Laurent's crocodile 'Sac De Jour'. Source: Mytheresa.com
A mainstay within the handbag world, if you ask any collector or enthusiast Chanel will not be far from their thoughts. Aside from their classic, lavish retail collections they have some of the most beautiful and sought after bespoke pieces the world has ever seen.
The Chanel ‘Diamond Forever’ handbag is a piece which immediately springs to mind. With only 13 produced worldwide in 2007 the handbag boasts 334 diamonds making up an extraordinary 3.56 carats, 18 carat white gold hardware and a white alligator skin body. The price for this masterpiece of £183,000 ($261,000) places the bag firmly amongst the most desirable handbags to have ever been produced.
Diamonds are forever with this Chanel showstopper. Source: Styledemocracy.com
For something with a little less ‘bling’ the Chanel ‘Croc Biarritz’, an oversized tote bag made exclusively from black crocodile exotic leather, is another notable release from the French powerhouse which is a little more subtle. There were only 8 produced and the sleek design means an incredibly resilient everyday fashion piece, but for £30,000 ($43,150) you would expect it to be!
Hermes Birkin’s are notoriously hard to come by and demand eye-watering sums as a result, and this trend has no sign of ending. Currently a Birkin holds the record for the most expensive bag ever to sell at auction- a pink exotic crocodile skin example with diamond embellishments which sold at Christies in Hong Kong for a staggering £155,000 ($221,844). The previous record at auction was also a Birkin too, set in 2011 when a red Birkin with diamond accompaniments sold at Heritage Auctions in New York for £143,000 ($203,150).
These aftermarket auction prices are extreme, but they are nothing compared to the retail of their collaboration pieces with renowned designers. In 2012 Hermes revealed a solid gold piece by designer Pierre Hardy 2 years in the making which went on sale for $1.9million. A Hermes Birkin by Ginza Tanaka made of platinum and adorned with more than 2000 diamonds, including large pearl drop diamonds, also holds a value of $1.9 million (approximately £1.3m).
Pierre Hardy's collaborative Hermes Birkin: worth its weight in gold...and then some. Source: Fashionmagazine.com
#3: Lana Marks
A favourite of Helen Mirren, the ‘Queen Cleopatra’ is amongst the more understated and sophisticated pieces we have featured in our list. With a metallic silver alligator skin making up the entirety of the frame, the ornamental metalwork surrounding the clasp holds an impressive 1500 fully cut and faceted black and white diamonds housed within an 18 carat gold surround.
Helen Mirren clutches her 'Queen Cleopatra' at a black tie event. Source: Bagbliss.com
The bags are supposedly so exclusive that Marks only allows one high-profile star per year (since 2004) to be seen with the piece, which is valued at around £175,000 ($250,000). It is not known whether any A-listers actually own the piece, or whether it is just loaned for red carpet events.
#2: Judith Lieber
Renowned for her extravagant designs, particularly her ‘Cupcake Minaudiere’ accessory which was featured in the Sex & The City movie, Lieber pieces are as expensive as they are recognisable. Operating from just 4 boutiques in India, Indonesia, Singapore & Malaysia exclusivity is one element Lieber is well-known for.
One particular piece which caught headline attention and the imagination of handbag fanatics worldwide is the one off ‘Precious Rose’ handbag, a piece so ornate it would look better in a gallery than on an arm. The £64,000 ($92,000) decorated rose has an incredible 1016 diamonds totalling 42.56 carats, 1169 pink sapphires and 800 tourmalines. This evening purse must sparkle!
A work of art, could you see yourself wearing Lieber's rose? Source: Bagbliss.com
#1: House of Mouwad
Mouwad’s ‘1001 Nights Diamond Purse’ which was formed in 2011, holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive handbag in history and took ten artisans more than 8,800 hours to make. The heart shape bag is currently valued at an astronomical and frankly ridiculous £1.65 million ($2.35m).
With a diamond embellished surface utilizing a variety of precious metals, Mouwad’s record breaker is certainly a sight to behold and another on our list which is probably more beautiful than functional. Imagine leaving it in a bar or having a leak inside! It’s the stuff of nightmares. We are guessing this handbag was never meant for purpose and should feature within an art gallery somewhere (and rightfully so).
We love it with all our heart (but will be waiting a while to afford one!). Source: Dailymailonline
Looking for something more within your price range?
If your budget does not quite stretch to any of these astronomical prices, Handbag Clinic may have something suitable within our retail locations! We stock a wide range of high-end designer pieces to suit all tastes and budgets and can even source one for you to your specification. Enquire online today or come and visit us in-store to browse our diverse collection and find exactly what you are looking for at the right price.
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