My husband doesn’t understand why women in general and myself in particular are willing to splurge on leather handbags. While he recognises the value of an exquisite timepiece, he often asks me, “How can any cow be so expensive?”
I explain, patiently, that it is all in the real-or-perceived worth of the product. What I do not tell him is that the cowhide is in fact secondary – most women I know are happy to spend hard-earned money on a branded bag made of canvas or fabric, with just a touch of leather in the handles and trimmings.
Just like luxury cars, big-ticket handbags come with after-sales support, at least for the first year. And just like the motor trade, the handbag industry has parallel importers and a thriving pre-owned market (especially for popular labels and collectibles). There are online shops, too, offering the same stuff as the flagship boutiques but at lower prices. Some sellers on the internet peddle cut-price, past-season designs, but there is no guarantee of quality and authenticity, so the buyer should be wary. My rule-of-thumb is: “If it sounds too good to be true, it is probably not very good.”
Strangely enough, even though I appreciate the feel-good factor of a prestige automobile, I’m not sure I would hold “automotive” fashion merchandise in similar high regard. Carrying a Porsche Design sports bag versus driving a well-designed Porsche sports car – it just isn’t the same thing. Owning a brand-new Porsche tote is hardly a consolation if I cannot even afford a renewed-COE Boxster.