From Louis Vuitton to Hermes, luxury companies are raking it in this year

July 29th, 2011

Economic problems? Debt ceilings? Political tensions? What are those things? The luxury industry has surely never heard of them, if double-digit sales increases from LVMH, Hermes and Burberry, just to name a few, are any indication. The rich only get richer, naturally, and when they do, they buy clothes. Lots of clothes. And handbags. Louis Vuitton is even reporting waiting lists, a thing that most pundits seemed to think would never be seen again after the economic crash of 2008.

And yet, I put my name on a waiting list myself at the beginning of the year in order to wait for the apparent privilege of buying a bag that cost nearly $2,000. Having been in college during the rococo days of the mid-2000s, the opportunity to queue up to buy an It Bag like the original Chloe Paddingtons and Fendi Spy bags passed me by while I stared in envy at the people who were buying their way into the “ungettable get.” Are we headed back there again?

Perhaps this sentiment is unexpected coming from someone whose living is predicated on the lustworthiness of the season’s accessories, but I sure hope we’re not going to see that kind of handbag stampede again. A luxury market where consumers are throwing themselves off financial cliffs in pursuit of the bag of the moment isn’t fun for anyone; it makes popular bags more difficult to find for people who truly love them, and consumers who simply get caught up in the fervor of a so-called must-have end up with a closet full of things that they just couldn’t live without but never really loved. It means dissatisfaction all around, and I like my handbag people to be happy.

And since there’s no group of people on the Internet who is better informed about the intricacies of the accessories business than our readers, I’d like to ask you guys: Is it beginning to feel like 2005 all over again out there? Have you noticed that the bags you want have become harder to find? When was the last time that you put your name on a waiting list for a handbag? Does hearing this kind of talk make you as uneasy as it makes me?

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