Updated: Dec 8, 2019
You may think luxury handbags are farcical purchases.
After all, most people can’t justify spending four, five, or six figures on a luxury handbag.
But, if you choose wisely, buying luxury handbags can make you a savvy investor!
Before you barf at this statement, here's why luxury handbags are an investment in every sense of the word:
They will never go out of style. They are timeless pieces of art that will go with [almost] every outfit and will last across the decades.
They are money-makers. Studies have shown that they can make better investments than a London property *mind blown*. Considering the property market is getting harder and harder to get into, perhaps it’s time you invest in your wardrobe instead. If you need an excuse to buy one of these handbags, this is it!
Their quality is second to none. They are durable, well-made, and their beautiful fabrics age remarkably well. Investing in a luxury handbag means you won’t need to replace it anytime soon. They will last, often for generations and get passed down as family heirlooms.
Here are my top picks for which luxury handbags to invest in:
The Hermes Birkin is probably the most famous investment designer handbag. Mainly due to its exclusivity, the moment you purchase a Birkin, its value increases.
Baghunter compared returns on investment between gold, S&P 500 and the Birkin, and found that the value of the Birkin increased in value more than 500% during that time - outperforming both stocks and gold. And unlike the S&P 500 and gold, which might have good and bad years, the value of Birkin handbags has never decreased.
As of today, August 2019, Birkin bag retail prices range from $12,000 to $150,000 and can see resale prices up to $223,000. The most expensive Birkin ever was sold for $380,000. And, it's set to double in price again in the next 10 years. The Birkin continues to grow by 14.2% per year and is considered the safest and least volatile investment market.
If you want to invest in one, buying a Birkin proves to be a near-impossible task. Although they say that the waitlist can take up to 6 years, there is no actual “waitlist”. This “waitlist” is a combination of knowing the right person, your relationship with them, the amount of money you’ve spent at Hermes in the past, whether you’re deemed worthy enough and pure luck. It’s said that you can only buy a Birkin if you’ve owned a Birkin in the past. This creates an interesting dilemma of how to get your hands on your first Birkin in the first place.
If you are looking for a safe investment, the classic of all classic Birkins, called the ‘holy grail’ of handbags is a black Birkin with golden hardware.
Honourable mention: The Hermes Kelly
Chanel Classic Flap
Chanel’s history is lined with many timeless investment pieces.
However, it’s the Chanel Classic Flap Bag that steals the spotlight for the smartest investment bag.
Studies by Baghunter have found that these handbags consistently outperform housing prices, S&P 500, gold and inflation in the last 6 years, reselling up to 70% per year.
Did you know? The Chanel Classic Flap Bag is Karl Lagerfeld’s modern interpretation of Coco Chanel’s original shoulder bag 2.55, first released in February 1955 (hence the name 2.55). Upon its release, the 2.55 changed fashion history forever.
Before the 2.55, handbags didn't have shoulder straps; they only had handles to be carried by hand. That’s why it’s called a “handbag”. Coco Chanel said “I got fed up with holding my purses in my hands and losing them. So I added a strap and carried them over my shoulder.” A pioneer in her time, she made these shoulder handles into a status symbol for the elite. And the bag itself instantly became an iconic, classic design.
For the ultimate timeless Chanel bag, see if you can find an all-black limited edition bag. These bags (complete with black accessories and hardware) are a rare classic and in high-demand, making them a great investment.
Honourable mentions: Chanel Boy Bag, Chanel 2.55.
Dior Lady Dior
The Dior Lady Dior handbag has a place for royalty, literally. The French First Lady, Bernadette Chirac, gifted one of these handbags to Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, on a visit to Paris in 1994. Lady Diana loved the bag so much, she ordered every colour available and carried many versions of it around the world.
The bag’s original name was Chouchou (French for “favourite”), it became a classic and was renamed “The Lady Dior” after Lady Diana was seen photographed with it countless times.
Its iconic stitching is described by Dior as “a network of lines stitched vertically and diagonally create a precise harmony from which cushions of quilted leather emerge like a scattering of shimmering, faceted diamonds”. A set of DIOR charms hangs from the top handle.
The bag has maintained its average selling price YOY if kept in good condition. It’s thought that the value of the bag increased by 8% between 2004 and 2016, and by over 14% between 2014 and 2016.
Louis Vuitton (LV) Neverfull
Louis Vuitton is the most valuable player in the luxury market today at a valuation of $47.2 billion (it’s first place hasn’t changed in 14 years). This French luxury brand was established by Louis Vuitton, a suitcase maker, in 1854 when he was just 16.
Aside from being undeniably chic and widely recognisable for its designs, Louis Vuitton also changed the course of fashion history when the fashion house began helping women find empowerment and freedom with bags that are practical, roomy and durable. This is especially true after World War II, when many women began working on their careers.
Needless to say, one of LV’s most famous bags is the Neverfull. The LV Neverfull bag is, basically, never full. It’s also one of the most durable bags ever made. The treated canvas is considered as indestructible and is designed to last through several generations. Even vintage pieces of 20 years old and older, have aged beautifully and are still strong. The bag is also able to carry up to 90 kgs and is used as a baby bag, travel bag, business bag, and shopping bag by women all over the world. If you are looking for a roomy bag that will never let you down from day to night, this might be “the one”.
Value-wise, Vestiaire Collective reports that it holds its value consistently and can recoup over 80% of its retail price. Between 2007 and 2018, the Neverfull’s retail price has increased by 41.5%. During the same time period, the FTSE 100 went up and down and saw an approximate increase of 19%, making the Neverfull a better investment.
Between its durability and value increases, it’s an heirloom worth keeping.
Honourable mentions: LV Speedy, LV Pochette Métis
Celine Vipiana founded Celine in 1945, when the French brand was a made-to-order children’s shoe store and sported a logo of a red elephant. In 1960, Celine rebranded and shifted its focus to ready-to-wear fashion for women and fine leather goods such as handbags, shoes and small leather accessories.
Today, the Celine style is famous for it’s distinct, yet understated designs. Celine handbags are clean, elegant, comfortable, effortless, and are a fine balance between innovative details and timeless elements.
In 2008, Phoebe Philo arrived as Celine’s new creative director. In 2010, the Celine Luggage tote was created. The tote became extremely popular and quickly became one of the most widely coveted “It” bags amongst celebrities, bloggers, fashionistas and influencers.
Visually, the bag’s construction is sturdy, with elegant curves and gorgeous proportions. What’s hard to miss are the features that resemble a quirky smiley face. This interesting design became a new “classic” and is considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing luxury bags of our time. Stylistically, it also goes with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
This special bag that is a hybrid between classic, quality, and design innovation will elevate and add personality to any outfit - from everyday casual to high-flying business chic.
To get your hands on a Luggage tote, there is a waitlist to get on. And while its prices have steadily increased, the departure of Pheobe Philo in 2018 immediately saw Celine bags go up a further 30% in the resale market. Along with the Luggage tote, other Phoebe Philo-era items are rapidly becoming collectors items.
Honourable mentions: Box Bag, Belt Bag
Goyard Saint Louis GM
In 1854, Louis Vuitton was founded in Paris. But just one year prior, another Parisian luxury brand quietly came to life.
Considered a lesser known brand compared to all the above fashion houses, Maison Goyard is still one of the world’s favourite brands amongst its richest people. In fact, Goyard is synonymous with quality and prestige, and competes against Louis Vuitton and Hermes as the ultimate status symbol despite not being in the spotlight.
Goyard’s mysterious air is due to its approach to no advertising, no e-commerce, and no celebrity endorsements. The house’s strategy is simply... silence. A representative for the House of Goyard has said, “Luxury is a dream and revealing too much of what goes on behind the scenes would spoil the magic. We believe that whispering softly in someone’s ears is not only more elegant, but also much more efficient than screaming at the top of one’s lungs.”
Finding a rare travel trunk from Goyard is an extremely complicated hunt and is almost a secret. And if you do get your hands on one, it can cost anywhere between US$10,000 and US$60,000.
As for the Saint Louis GM, it’s a direct competitor to the Louis Vuitton Neverfull. However, Goyard’s focus on artisanal craftsmanship means Goyard arguably holds on to a higher level of quality and prestige compared to Louis Vuitton as the luxury house does not churn out nowhere near as many items.
Also, each Goyard item is considered an heirloom, and therefore, holds its resale value over time.
Fun fact: Goyard products were once loved by Coco Chanel herself.
Other Honourable Mentions
Stella McCartney Falabella
What do you think? Are these worth their price tags?
Which one(s) of these would you splash your cash on?
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