Ready To Wear: The only way a Birkin should be carried is open

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Indy Lifestyle Online

So I'm having lunch at Claridge's with Victoria Beckham (as you do) and as we mill around for quite some time waiting to be seated, my dear muckerina Hilary Alexander of The Daily Telegraph hands me my perfume and BlackBerry, which she had, entirely unbeknownst to me, lifted from my handbag only seconds before.

"It'll be your purse next," says the good lady in question (henceforward she will be known as the Artful Alexander). In truth, though, she was making the point that, gaping open as it does, my bag might prove rich pickings for anyone with either their hands or heart set on such things. "I'm only being protective," she continued, in case I was considering pressing charges, presumably.

I am, of course, not alone in carrying my possessions in an open receptacle – the more wide open the better, all the easier to reach into. In fact, it appears to be one of the fashion follower's golden rules to do just that. The only way a Hermès Birkin or – even more so – a Kelly bag ever appears to be carried, for example, is open. I know that's true, having seen any number of celebrities doing just that – from Kate Moss (pictured) to, yes, VB.

But why? For my part, sheer laziness, not to mention a genetic weakness regarding anything even remotely associated with co-ordination, decrees that the endless opening and closing of handbags is not an option. I'm that irritating person at the counter, faffing around with complicated fastenings and holding everyone else up. In this, the reasons behind any sartorial idiosyncrasy has its roots in pragmatism over and above style.

That is probably not the case elsewhere. A status bag is all well and good, but it's also somewhat on the smart side. Smart is rarely fashionable and so, while mere mortals might protect such precious items, wrapping them carefully in their dust sheaths once they're done with them, the rich and famous prefer theirs battered to within an inch of their lives. And never closed. The luxury of not caring is the story here, whatever the consequences.

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