Women still worshipping at the altar of the fashionable handbag

The priestess of designer fashion, Miuccia Prada, once told me that a woman's obsession with bags – and shoes – has its roots in the fact that these hardware-laden, status-driven receptacles are an easier way to make a fashion statement than, say, wearing a coat that looks like a big green teddy bear or a jewel-coloured turban. And what La Prada says ...

While pundits have been decreeing for the past year or so that the designer bag is no longer fashion's holy grail – it was replaced by shoes last season and then costume jewellery this winter, on the catwalks at least – the need to snap up ever-more-elaborate handbags appears relentless. Yes, the woman on the street is steadfastly ignoring any fashion-forward posturing and, despite the fact that she owns a good few already, is adding to her burgeoning collection at the sales as you read.

In fact, a woman's love affair with her handbag begins at the tender age of, well, about four as anyone who has witnessed the little pink metallic heart-shaped purses turning up under trees across the nation this Christmas will be quick to testify. A lady – and this too stretches back to toddler-hood – resists the urge to stuff her pockets with keys, lipstick, money, whatever, almost as soon as she exits the womb. That would only ruin the line of her trousers. A man, on the other hand, is still likely to find the idea of carrying a bag effeminate and this despite the fact that any major brand worth its credentials is spending a serious amount of advertising budget to persuade him otherwise. Even now when society is bombarded day in day out with news of the worst recession to have hit the Western world since the 1940s, women appear to be unable to resist the lure of the handbag. And it's not just during the sales that such unabashed consumerism runs rampant. Waiting lists for the season's "it" bags and indeed classics like the Hermés Birkin and the Chanel 2.55 continue to grow.

Is there anything particularly wrong with any of this? Perhaps. Consider the tragic predicament of Victoria Beckham who is unsatisfied by owning just one Hermés Birkin and instead appears to own one in every colour of the rainbow to match any given outfit. Given that these cost upwards of £2,000, for the simplest lambskin model this may well be described as an extremely costly addiction. Be warned, then, fashion friends, because that way madness lies.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

    Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

    £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

    Ashdown Group: Web Developer (PHP & Wordpress) - Central London

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Web Dev...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Operative - Unskilled & Skilled

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen to jo...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee