In the saturated world of fashion, where shiny new collections drop regularly and trends come and go in the blink of an eye, it can be overwhelming to know which items are worth the money. Especially when most of us are tightening our purse strings thanks to the ever-increasing cost of living.
One way that advertisers attempt to cut through the noise and propel a product from the shelves to 'It' status is through celebrity endorsements.
Is this because we're more likely to trust a familiar face than a nameless supermodel on a billboard? The research says, yes.
A 2021 study found that the “celebrity effect” means consumers regard celebrities highly in “expertise, trustworthiness, and attractiveness”; this then positively affects aspects of consumer’s trust including “ability, benevolence, and integrity”.
As well as leveraging this sense of trust to sell items (and literally raise stock prices in some cases), the right celebrity endorsements can lead to products such as handbags being bestowed with the coveted ‘It’ status.
The Hermès Birkin bag is one of the most famous handbags in the world. Known for its eye-watering price tags that range from $10,145 for a Birkin 25, to $12,450 for a Birkin 35, the It-bag isn't easy to get your hands on with a waitlist for potential buyers.
The bag's muse? British actress Jane Birkin. It was 1984 and the star was on an aeroplane. She happened to be sitting next to the executive chairman of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas. The pair got chatting about how hard it was to find a bag that fulfilled Birkin's needs. Dumas asked her what her ideal handbag design would be; the rest is history.
To give you an idea of just how sort after these bags are, in 2015, a pink crocodile skin Hermès Birkin bag with gold and diamond hardware sold at auction in Hong Kong for a staggering $223,000.
Designed in the 1950s, what is now known as the Gucci Jackie bag — named after First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy — was originally just part of Gucci's "hobo" collection designed to capture the growing free spirit of the mid-20th century.
It was only after the bag became a fixture in Jackie's wardrobe rotation — and she was subsequently photographed on numerous occasions holding it — that the design house renamed the bag, proving the power of celebrity endorsement, even when unintentional.
Current Gucci creative director, Alessandro Michele catapulted it to It-status once again in his 2019 Chateau Marmont collection. Today, it's known to be golden boy Harry Styles' handbag of choice.
The Balenciaga City Bag
In what must be coined as the It-bag of 2022, celebrities and fashion TikTok girlies alike have been coveting the Balenciaga City Bag. While it was released in 2001, it was deemed to not be "commercially viable" for the designer brand, until model Kate Moss requested one from creative director at the time, Nicolas Ghesquière.
Through the sheer power of Kate Moss's icon status, Balenciaga's unhopeful bag gained It-status. While it fell out of trend, thanks to the twenty-year fashion cycle, the accessory (particularly the Le Cagole shoulder bag version) has once again been catapulted onto our radar thanks to icons like Alexa Demie, Dua Lipa, Kim Kardashian and Julia Fox.
How To Nab Your Own
You don’t need to have celebrity-level status (or their paycheques) to nab a cult bag for yourself. Re-sell sites such as eBay have options for high-quality, second-hand designer handbags that come with an Authenticity Guarantee, so you know what you're getting is legit.
Plus, you’re participating in the circular fashion economy which is better for the planet than buying new; even if it is an investment piece.
But, if you can't wait for a re-sale handbag, then lining up early and dropping a few grand is always an option.
What Will The Next It-Bag Be?
Predicting the next It-bag is tricky. Will it be a celebrity-endorsed advertisement from the likes of Dior or Chanel? Will an off-duty model get papped post-ballet class with a small brand? Or, will it emerge at fashion month tomorrow?
Thanks to TikTok speeding up trends faster than ever, it's hard to say. But, keep an eye on your fave celebrity's arm to be ahead of the curve.
Click here to dive into eBay's range of luxury secondhand handbags, all with an Authenticity Guarantee.