Louis Vuitton, despite being an overpriced luxury brand, still makes some of the most desirable handbags on the planet.
Writer W. David Marx says about 30-40% of Japanese women in their 20s and older own some sort of LV item, with maybe 15% owning an LV handbag. Not quite the “mythic 94.3%” figure touted before, quite erroneously, but still impressive. China is “in love with Louis Vuitton”, said Eoin Gleeson way back in 2007. In the Philippines, owning an LV handbag is a sign of status and almost a rite of passage. Those who don’t have wealthy mommies and daddies – or sugar daddies – to give them LVs save up to buy at least one of the iconic bags, a Speedy 30 being the usual “first Vuitton”.
LV sells not only the items themselves, which are well-made and with care can last lifetimes (they are often passed on from mother to daughter), they also sell the experience. The LV shop at Greenbelt 5, Ayala Mall, Makati, pampers their customers with hors d’oeuvres and flutes of champagne on black trays carried around by smiling uniformed waiters. The salespersons are friendly and welcoming and, best of all – patient.
Even the assistant store manager herself (Ms. Angela Poblador) assists clients, never losing her cool no matter how many bags you ask to see from the stockroom. She even offered to email the Hongkong branch to find a model I inquired about. In less than a day, she had the information I needed to make a decision. Now that’s luxury service. And in the home stretch, that’s what convinced me to get my first Vuitton. It’s not a Speedy, though.
The unboxing! LV bags come with their own buttercream-yellow dustbag printed with the brand name in brown. The bag is nestled in a large, chocolate-brown box also marked with the brand name on the lid.
Not a Speedy, this is the model I’ve wanted for six years – the Popincourt Haut in Monogram Canvas. This was the only one such left in the store. Angela says they sell only three or four of these a year. Uncommon? That I like. In six years, I’ve only seen two women carry this model, unlike the LV Neverfull, which, because of its comparative affordability, you’ll see on the shoulder of every other woman at the mall.
The “Pop Haut” is a variation of LV’s old Triangle bag, designed to keep knitting in. (It was oriented horizontally and long enough to accommodate knitting needles.) The straps are adjustable, so you can choose to carry it as a shoulder bag or even as short-handle tote.
I find the Pop Haut’s austere structure appealing, with its simple, clean lines. Unlike the Speedy, it doesn’t slouch when full. This bag has perfect posture. The vachetta leather trim is pristine; over time, it will acquire a honey-brown patina.
The Pop Haut is comparatively roomy inside, with dimensions of 10.5L x 9H x 5W (inches). It has space for everyday basics. It can fit a Kindle and a Samsung Galaxy Tab. I like how the zipper opens a couple inches past the end of the bag, allowing one to spread it to its fullest, making it easy to put things in and take them out. For me, fashion should also be functional.
There’s something satisfying about owning a luxury item, whether a bag, a fountain pen, or other object of personal desire. Quality and cachet always attract and remain in style.