ETHICAL ACCESSORIES SNAPPED ON DIANA VREELAND's MEMOS
In my sustainable style column for Daily Life recently I questioned how much your designer It-bag is really worth. I noted that prices for the same designs have increased seemingly at random over the past decade, and that they also vary according to geographical location. According to Business of Fashion, in June last year, for example, a Louis Vuitton Speedy cost US$854 in France, $970 in America, $1138 in China and $1322 in Brazil.
But while it's not always clear how much our luxury accessories are really worth, it is perfectly clear that they're worth a mint to brands.
Handbags are a money spinner, as the legendary New York fashion editor Diana Vreeland found out when she first arrived at Harper's Bazaar in the 1930s. Full of bright ideas, she suggested to her boss, editor Carmel Snow, that women might consider jettisoning handbags altogether in favour of pockets. Snow swiftly put the kibosh on that, saying:
"Listen, Diana, I think you've lost your mind. Do you realise that our income from handbag advertising is God knows how many millions a year?"
Today the personal accessories category (mostly handbags and wallets) accounts for about 30% of the global luxury market. At Kering, for example, leather goods make up more than half of revenues. Most brands mark accessories up as much as they can get away with, not least to counter losses made on ready-to-wear.
So I think there's an obvious case for the value of the artisanal, the vintage, the one-off, the hand-made and the passed down when it comes to accessories in general, don't you? Not just bags, but costume jewellery, scarves, gloves. And that's all the excuse I need to snap some of mine on D.V.'s memos.
The pearls and the watch were my grandmother's.
I found the pastel vintage earrings in a flea market, still on their original cards.
The hand-woven clutch bag was a very charming present from the Purple Mango girls. Can you believe it's made from recycled VHS tape? Believe it. It's made by artisans In Brazil.
I hereby dedicate this to my mate Viva Vayspap. If you don't know about her, you should. She's the best accessories stylist on the planet. And would not be snapping shit on her iPhone in poor light. Anyway, kisses Viva, I hope you like this.