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The 'it' bag is dead. Designers mourn

Golden_sand THE "it" bag, a status purse that costs more than a round-trip ticket to Paris and a favorite among stylish affluent women, is officially dead. "It" always refused to reveal its age but first hit the scene in the early '90s and was most prominently seen swinging gleefully from toned arms in the last five years.

The "it" bag was often known for its vibrant hides, large-toothed zippers and flamboyant Goyard hardware. Designers like Louis Vuitton, ChloƩ and Fendi all vied for the prestigious title with seasonal offerings of hobo bags and zaftig satchels -- all gifted to celebrities, of course.

The species did not die of natural causes. Fashion authorities suspect that a recent "it" bag -- the Yves Saint Laurent Muse -- is mostly responsible for wiping out the trend of women coveting oneMuse_1 brand of designer bag ad nauseam.

The Muse, a jaunty and haughty take on a bowling bag, was the Palme d'Or among accessory addicts. Like a slain stag slung across the roof of a pickup truck, the Muse signified that a woman had bagged the right bag. Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and other starlets reserved the cozy crooks of their arms for the popular purse.

These days, life pales for the Muse. The newest gray-felt version of the YSL handbag was last seen sheepishly lurking on discount retailer Bluefly.com. It was priced at 20% off. (Muse's distant cousins -- the Burberry Edna and a patent leather satchel by Fendi -- are currently selling at Costco.)

Much like the popular pretty girl who always dies first in a horror film, the "it" bag was a victim of its own ambition.

"A bag is only an 'it' bag when it's not accessible to everyone," says Christos Garkinos, theImages co-owner of local designer consignment store Decades Two, who admits that he is currently harboring a few secondhand Muses in his shop. "When Banana Republic and Forever 21 came out with a version of the Muse, it was suddenly everywhere."

57391 Not to mention the coy Muse clones sold by Guess, H&M and almost every counterfeit purse hustler from Canal Street to Santee Alley. Muse-carrying studio execs and talent agents were horrified to see their assistants rifling through their very own Muses. Beverly Hills socialites mistakenly grabbed the wrong white Muse after a few mimosas.

"I ordered one when I was in New York, but then came home and saw everyone carrying it," says Jessica Wu, a chic Los Angeles dermatologist with an A-list clientele. "I sent it right back without even opening the box."

The Muse's noxious ubiquity has spurred the most fashionable women to stray from the retail herd mentality. A purse touted as the next "it" bag holds as much cachet as a VIP Blockbuster membership.

"There's a backlash because women feel betrayed by the fact that a company calls a bag 'limited Muse_sunglassesedition' and then makes 100,000 of them," says Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a retail research firm in New York. "That's deadly."

The "it" bag -- in all its incarnations -- will be fondly remembered. The Muse is survived by its sister, the YSL Downtown bag, and offspring including the Muse charm bracelet, Muse wrap sunglasses (left) and Muse sandals.

Photo credits: Kate Moss, Splash; coffin, cemetarybroker.com

 
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Getting self esteem from knowing that only you have that piece of plastic/leather/vynil material. Where's my mensa muse? I find shallow women so eyyyywwwww.

Every time I see a woman carrying a bag with some obnoxiously overpriced logo, I assume it's a counterfeit anyway.

So can we now get back to making bags that actually work? Will someone please look around at what stuff women really carry, and design bags that fit all their stuff and keep it orderly, without being clunkier and heavier than the stuff?

I want to be able to put my hands on my keys, a pen, a nail file, that envelope with the whatever in it, and so on, *instantly* without searching, emptying or fumbling with fasteners (buckles are from hell, please leave them there). I'd like to be able to slip a small laptop into a bag that fits it along with all my usual stuff but that's somewhat smaller than the state of Delaware. I want a shoulder strap -- just one -- that I can adjust, so I don't have to wear the bag squished up under my armpit unless I'm feeling particularly paranoid. And if you want me to carry this bag every day, give it to me in brown or black, not just fuschia and lime green.

Whew. That felt good.

I'm glad I'm a male and don't have to lug around a bunch of stuff all over the place. What a pain. And then you have to buy some fashion statement bag on top of that.

Dear Kbch
You said "I want to be able to put my hands on my keys, a pen, a nail file, that envelope with the whatever in it, and so on, *instantly* without searching, emptying or fumbling with fasteners (buckles are from hell, please leave them there). I'd like to be able to slip a small laptop into a bag that fits it along with all my usual stuff but that's somewhat smaller than the state of Delaware."

You could try googling for ButlerBag Hybrid. They're not pretty but when I open my bag for inspection the women around me gasp with amazement.

Men don't give a fig about our handbags. They don't make us look sexier, younger or smarter. Do we buy these bags to "fit in" with other women? Men wouldn't mind if we carried Ziploc sandwich bags!

If some women are happy carrying around their cheap Made in China bags, more power to them. I for one, love my croco-embossed patent leather Muse, and its classic bowling bag shape will never go out of style. To each his own, I guess.

You know what I feel betrayed by? A $1200 Italian pocketbook made in China.

Designer is for fools. It's so passee.

Except the YSL Muse is French, made in Italy. YSL is classic.

I don't think buying designer is passe' in the least. It's just not for everybody.

From what I've observed, most women buy the ubiquitous Coach bags that are made in China and sold to the masses. But then again, I don't live in Beverly Hills, so what do I know?


YSL and Louis Vitton seem to be the poster designers for fraud these days though. I can't believe anyone is actually buying legitimate LV bags when the logo has almost become synonomous with baby mammas and E-bay.

And you're right about Coach and that's a shame. I used to love Coach when they were actually what they represent themselves to be - quality and traditiion. Not any more.

I went through the Prada bag stage and suddenly felt like a fool because of it. I put it in it's little stupid bag and am keeping it for a good laugh one of these days. Designer has become the golden fleece for a bunch of amateur wannabes and those of us who always said that when we could afford one we would get one (which is about the same time you're arms start getting tired when you blow dry your hair).

But somewhere along the way designers like Prada and D&G and Gucci realized they could put their logo on a petrified dog turd and get $2,000 for it. So while the designers are laughing alll the way to the bank we idiots carry around six months worth of groceries with a designer logo on it all the while people are thinking its fake.

Count me out.

I don't get it. As long as I know I have the real deal (I'm very anti-counterfeit), who cares what others think?

As for "poster designers of fraud", it's not just LV and YSL. It's Prada, Gucci, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Hermes, etc. Even those Made in China brands, Dooney and Coach, are counterfeited!

Instead of laughing at your Prada bag, why don't you sell it on ebay and recoup some of that money you wasted?

Nancy and Kat:
The Hermes bags are the ones that hold the most resale value. A real Hermes, of course.
Though I know Hollywood producers who carry the counterfeit versions too.
M.

I love my Black YSL Muse in soft gorgeous leather. It is an iconic bag and I will always carry it.
My Louis Vuiton Luco Tote was a gift from my husband- I used it for one year and got soooo tired of really sketchy people asking me "where I GOT it" and "Is that real?" Sadly, I have not carried it in over 5 years. I see so many fake LV'S on the street. It has about as much cache as a Le Sport Sac! It is unfortunate for LV, but their Logo is over.
My Prada tote is real, and I love it, same with my Chloe tote, and fabulous Tod's totes. But I HATE the stares I get with the Prada bag, like people are assuming it is fake. I just hate that! I don't do fake. At least I know they are real, and I love them. All my bags are classic, streamlined designs, like the Muse. They will always be in style. They are not trendy bags. Yuck.
Some women love shoes, others will spend $600.00 on a pair of jeans....Handbags are Forever.

Monica, I would love an Hermes Kelly bag. It is my dream bag and one day I will get one!

Suzanne, I love my Muse too. Sometimes I just sit and stare at its beauty!

I don't want to sell my Prada bag. I'm keeping it for a souvenier and a reminder not to get caught up in crap like the designer craze. When it's achieved vintage status I will bring it back out . . . if I 'm still alive.

Plus, I have this friend who has the single best sense of style I've ever seen - bar none except maybe Marilyn. No one is like her, she's a true original. She can take a run-of-the-mill scarf and turn it into art. She just has an eye for cool stuff and accessories. Anyway, she never, ever buys designer. She can go into Target or Gabes and zero in on things that look like nothing but she makes them into magic and for peanuts.

She never criticized my Prada bag but she said I could have bought ten bags of just as good quality and have a lot more versatility for what I spent on that damn black triangle. She was right.

I got sucked in like all the other fools. Live and learn. It's too bad China has ruined designer too. Plus, the designers got greedy and by mass marketing their products and lowering the quality, have lost their mystique. Now it's quantity - not quality. It used to really mean something to have an Hermes scarf but now I just think of The Devil Wears Prada when I see them.

And is it me but is Niemans going down the same path? The last few things I have gotten from them have just not been up to standard. Neimans has always been overpriced but now it's as if they've jumped on the how-much-will-people-pay mode of unfettered greed.

Living in Los Angeles, I see all kinds of shocking behavior/decisions being made by women. The teeth so white they look blue, the scary botoxed face and fake lips, the nasty hair colors and extensions, etc.

Buying Designer is not "passe," it is not "foolish," and it is not for "wannabes" unless of course you actually are one and buy a handbag that cost as much as "six months of groceries" that you can not afford and go into debt.
Then you are, as someone stated, "an amateur" because I do not go into debt to buy my handbags. Like diamonds, these bags are Forever. Do I taste bitterness in someone's posts?

I have been in Rome and have seen women carrying the Gucci Positano Tote with the silk scarf. I have this bag- it is simple and understated. You can not tell it is Gucci unless you literally were to bend down and try to find the tiny word Gucci or see if the word shows anywhere on the scarf. I hardly consider these gorgeous Italian women, who have exquisite taste and fashion sense to be "fools" or "idiots" for buying Gucci.
If you want to see the bag I am referencing go to Neiman's website and click on Gucci "Classic Collection" Handbags. They sell out of this bag all the time as does Saks 5th, because it is a TIMELESS CLASSIC THAT HAS BEEN AROUND FOR YEARS AND WILL ALWAYS BE CHIC, BEAUTIFUL AND IN STYLE!

Everyone must "choose thier medicine" as Keith Richards put it, and I am very happy with my bags. Personally, it is the ridiculous shoes that cost a fortune and wear out in one season, and the obscene prices women here pay for jeans that makes me laugh. A lot of these items are downright ugly to begin with and their shelf-life is tiny! But all last fall, I had women compliment me on my Chloe bag- not because they knew it was Chloe necessarily; as there are no logo's just the tiny word Chloe that you can not see, but because it is an amazing deep oak brown color with reddish undertones. I will have this bag until it falls apart! Not that it will, but jeans and shoes you can not say the same thing about.

Bottom line- face the facts. We are living in the Second Gilded Age. There will always be people with $$$, more now since the turn of the last century, and some will make really absurd choices and buy atrocious things because having money has never equated to havIng TASTE. Neiman's Beverly Hills store sold out of $25.,000 special edition Chanel bags a few months ago...in a couple of hours!! There were about 50 of them. Now I can't, and even if I could, I would never spend that kind of bank on a handbag. That is vulgar.

Suzanne,

You can accuse me of sour grapes all you want. That's your opinion. And my opinion is that designer has lost its meaning for the most part. In my little mind, designer used to be a statement of sophistication and class, not to mention sucess. Now designer means e-bay fraud and Canal Street, and made in China and spoiled teenage girls. Designer has - to me, in my mind - become something for the masses of which I'm one. It's sort of like the old saying that I would not want to be in a club that would have me for a member. My day of being able to treat myself to designer has been robbed from me by our e-bay culture, China and the incessent demands of children to have what they want.

If I awoke tomorrow to find myself filthy rich I would still not buy a $1200 Prada bag again. I found myself embarrassed over it and not because of the cost. I do still seek out quality though. Designer or no I like well made, good clothes that look like they are well made good clothes. My discovery as of late though is that price and quality do not go hand in hand anymore like it used to.

You like your expensive bags and you can have as many as you want. Enjoy. That's what I say. I personally will not buy any more designer. I also quit buying Brighton which I always loved just because of the styles and the quality. Brighton has no mystique. Some people consider them the Longaberger baskets of pocketbooks but I loved them and have many. But they too have become cheap yet expensive.

I just buy what I like now as long as it doesn't look cheap or is a knock off.

Suzanne,

You can accuse me of sour grapes all you want. That's your opinion. And my opinion is that designer has lost its meaning for the most part. In my little mind, designer used to be a statement of sophistication and class, not to mention sucess. Now designer means e-bay fraud and Canal Street, and made in China and spoiled teenage girls. Designer has - to me, in my mind - become something for the masses of which I'm one. It's sort of like the old saying that I would not want to be in a club that would have me for a member. My day of being able to treat myself to designer has been robbed from me by our e-bay culture, China and the incessent demands of children to have what they want.

If I awoke tomorrow to find myself filthy rich I would still not buy a $1200 Prada bag again. I found myself embarrassed over it and not because of the cost. I do still seek out quality though. Designer or no I like well made, good clothes that look like they are well made good clothes. My discovery as of late though is that price and quality do not go hand in hand anymore like it used to.

You like your expensive bags and you can have as many as you want. Enjoy. That's what I say. I personally will not buy any more designer. I also quit buying Brighton which I always loved just because of the styles and the quality. Brighton has no mystique. Some people consider them the Longaberger baskets of pocketbooks but I loved them and have many. But they too have become cheap yet expensive.

I just buy what I like now as long as it doesn't look cheap or is a knock off.

Even if this one bag is passing through the masses, it doesn't mean the brands of any designer bag will go out of style. I personally love Coach and I am very anti-counterfeit. I buy the bags that I like and most people probably think "that's fake," but hey, shows what they know. I can tell a quality purse from a counterfeit. If other people can't tell that, they don't need it to be of their concern anyways. It isn't hard. For Coach purses, you can just look at the leather trim, the way the signature C's line up at the stiching( if they aren't mirror symmetrical at the line of the seam, its most likely fake), or the thread used. Most of the time, if I see a "Coach" purse with distorted C's, wide stiching in the cloth pattern, shiny, ruffled leather, threads falling out of place...I can pretty much assume its fake. Or that its been through a hurricane. Best bet is its fake. Besides, whoever said as long as you know its real is right. Coach offers quality...so fake ones aren't going to have that distinct look that Coach purses have. People who mistake something real for fake obviously can't tell the difference and most likely have a fake on themselves then.

And besides that fact, here's one more. Designers will go out of style when money goes out of style...and we all know that will never happen!

I don't necessarily think that logo bags are passe. Nor is Ebay a bad thing in and of itself. I believe people should buy what they feel comfortable with and not because they see some so called "Star" carrying it. I myself have several authentic bags, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Burberry, Coach, and Marc Jacobs. But I tend to get either vintage pieces that you definately know are authentic and will never go out of style or pieces that just aren't mainstream. If you get a bag that's trendy for the moment, chances are you will see everyone with it or one that's like it, plus you won't want to even look at much less carry it in another year or two. Dare to be an individual! Carry the bag and don't let the bag carry you!

Hello,And thank you for allowing me to write to you.I sell my bags on ebay.I started because my daughter needed a bag for college.Before i knew it I was making bags for her friends needs too.Both my daughters and myself use my bags daily and for holidays.It's amazing how much they can hold.I sell bag to students,some of the bags double up as week end bags.You can get any size needed.I like to use upholstery fabrics,so that the bag will take the weight of the book with strong straps.Lined for luxury,and pockets .I never use zippers,or try not to as thay are always something to go on a bag.Besides I can leave that to those that do it best.I was trained to be a seamstress many years ago,and have worked for top names in London.But all I am doing is putting my sewing skills to work on bags(and curtains)Things that people need in their daly lives.Only using the best quality fabric and giving them at a good price.Thank you for reading this.Please see my bags by nancy.



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