Just as models don’t need to be pretty (just thin) to get work, expensive accessories needn’t be attractive to be coveted. Enter a $46,000 Louis Vuitton pocketbook, perhaps the world’s most expensive and unattractive
handbag ever made. Only 24 were created, and only four of those are available to U.S. consumers (and they’re already sold). It’s referred to as a montage (literally) of the most iconic LV bags.
Look at the bag. You want to turn away, but you can’t. It’s like driving by a roadside wreck; it’s alarming to
view, but you can’t resist gawking. This bag is an accessory gone horribly wrong—a visual cacophony of fabric and brass, the Frankenstein of purse production. It’s a modern-day version of the Emperor’s New
Clothes, with LV serving as the underhanded couturier and buyers in the role of the fool. (Oh, and I’m the
peasant who points out the egregiousness of the situation.)
This bag represents the awesome power of brands. The bag is hideously ugly, $46,000, limited in production, really ugly, $46,000, and is made by a worldwide luxury super brand. Total sales for this likely already sold-out item are $1.1 million.
Where is the jewelry industry’s version of this bag? Where is that must-have, super-chic, outrageously priced bauble that folks fight over to own? Jewels and precious metals don’t fade in sunlight, sustain rips, fall victim to pen explosions, or succumb to coffee stains; jewelry appreciates, and continues to be appreciated for generations. Jewelers even have a distinct advantage over bag makers because our product is inherently beautiful—Mother Nature just makes gems pretty, even before cuts and polishes are made. Meanwhile, LV
cobbles together some dyed hide swatches and scrap metal to make a sell-out pocketbook? That isn’t right.
Rise to the challenge, jewelers. Brands, such as LV, earn these premiums by making their product more appealing than others. And clearly, some folks are eager to pay. Well done, LV. How can jewelry emulate LV?