What it feels like to be inside a luxury handbag

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The legendary "it" bag and luxury status symbol, the Hermès Kelly, has been magnified by 15 times its original size for a special exhibit unveiled today (November 19) at an upscale department store in London.

French luxury goods company Hermès teamed up with Selfridges to present the "Kellydoscope," a unique customer experience that showcases, using video technology and special effects, what it feels like to be inside the iconic handbag as if the individual were one of the accessories waiting to be picked up and used by the bag's owner.

The Kellydoscope, which stands 4 meters (13 feet) high, took more than five months to develop. Every detail of the regular-sized Kelly has been faithfully reproduced on the giant tan leather-bound and beige toile fabric-lined one. The multi-sensory experience begins when an individual steps inside the colossal bag and watches three one-minute films that portray the lady owner of the Kelly bag in three different situations: dancing with a gentleman, bicycling to a picnic, and playing on a swing. Thanks to the augmented reality of the Kellydoscope, the viewer inside the bag feels all the movements related to each experience.

The handbag, named after the former Princess Grace of Monaco Grace Kelly, is being displayed at the London department store as part of its Christmas "Play" theme. It has been installed alongside a bevy of other made-for-adult toys, including the Barbie foosball table where the dolls replace the usual footballers' line-up.

The Hermès Kelly bag, created by Robert Dumas in the 1930s, has become one of the fashion industry's most timeless handbag styles. It is also the ultimate status symbol for women given its steep price tag (beginning at £20,000 or 23,300 EUR) and long wait-list (about 3 years). The Kelly comes in five different sizes and an array of luxe materials including ostrich, crocodile, and calfskin. It takes a craftsman 20 hours and 680 hand-stitches to assemble. Its most distinctive feature is the metal-link clasp, which is fastened with a shiny padlock. 

Prior to the Kellydoscope exhibit at Selfridge's, a giant trunk for French luxury house Louis Vuitton was displayed outside its Plaza 66 Shanghai store this past August while it was undergoing renovation.

Visit the Kellydoscope exhibit from November 19-30 at Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London.