Monday, May 30, 2016

The most expensive handbag ever sold: Diamond-encrusted Hermes Birkin sells for over $300K

This Hermes signature Birkin is made with white matte Himalayan crocodile leather, and features hardware made from 18k white gold and diamonds. It sold for $300,168, making it the most expensive handbag ever sold.
(CNN) It's been described as a piece of "fashion history" by auction house Christie's.
A matte white Diamond Himalaya Niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin 30 with 18k white gold and diamond hardware, was sold by a private Asian collector for $300,168 on Monday, making it the most expensive handbag ever sold.
"The diamond pieces created by Hermes are exceptional, but none are nearly as iconic as the Himalaya," Christie's said in a press release prior to the sale. "It is believed that only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year, globally, making it one of the lowest production runs for handbags."
The results follow last year's record-breaking $222,000 sale of a fuchsia diamond-studded Hermes Birkin, and further cement the bag's celebrated fashion credentials.
"Its rarity and exclusivity, the quality of leather and craftsmanship, its style and the ability to customize," all contribute to making this the most valuable bag in the world today, according to New York-based appraiser Helaine Fendelman, of Helaine Fendelman & Associates.
The fact they are instantly recognizable without a large emblazoned logo only adds to their appeal, she added, although clever marketing by Hermes also helps.
"By not telling ladies how many are manufactured in a year, the idea that these are scarce makes them more desirable. It is human nature to want what others cannot get," Fendelman said.
Both Christie's and Fendelman agree that even the most basic Birkins hold their price, making them a sound investment as well as an impressive fashion statement.
"I remember when I wanted to purchase a Birkin bag at auction for about $7,500 and my husband thought I had lost my mind," she said. "That same bag today sells for double that price, at least."
Interest in these aftermarket bags ("second-hand" doesn't have quite the same ring to it) has grown rapidly, and Christie's now includes an accessories and handbags section in many of it's major sales around the world.  
While many women used to bid on the bags for their practicality and style, the promise of increasing value has become an important consideration.
Winsy Tsang, head of sales for handbags and accessories at Christie's in Hong Kong, said the value of these types of auction items generally increase, and that although Hermes leads the way, handbags from Bulgari, Chanel and Gucci were also popular as investment pieces.
"They are certainly an increasingly meaningful asset class," Tsang added.
As for Fendelman's Birkin, much to her husband's relief -- and her own, in retrospect -- she missed out on the sale.
"Am I sorry I didn't purchase the bag? No, not really, because I would be afraid to use it every day for fear of ruining it," she said.

Counterfeit Switcheroo

Virginia woman pocketed $1M buying designer handbags, returning Chinese knockoffs in their place

Praepitcha Smatsorabudh is accused of purchasing expensive Gucci, Fendi, Burberry and Celine bags online and returning fake versions of the purses to stores.

A Virginia woman was bagged by authorities for allegedly masterminding an elaborate designer-purse scheme, netting over $1 million in profit.
Praepitcha Smatsorabudh is accused of buying high-end handbags online, then traveling to multiple states to make in-person returns at department stores with knockoff versions purchased from China.
Smatsorabudh would double her profits by selling the authentic Gucci, Fendi and Burberry bags — some with a whopping $2,000 price tag — on Ebay or Instagram to unsuspecting buyers, prosecutors say.
Investigators probed the woman's purchases between 2014 and the end of 2015. She was such a prolific scammer, they found, that she would make weekly purchases of the costly totes — and was even one major retailer’s top online customer worldwide, according to documents which do not identify the vendor in question.
The alleged cutpurse faces up to 20 years in prison on wire fraud charges.
The scheming Smatsorabudh, who is in her early 40's, would travel to at least 12 different states to return the phony bags, having sourced the most believable fakes from Hong Kong and mainland China.
In a September 2014 email to one of the counterfeit bag retailers, she allegedly wrote:
"The best fake bag I’ve ever seen! Can you send me more ... from this factory. They make bag IMPaCABLE!!!!" (sic),” according to court documents obtained by ABC.
Authorities believe the scam was so profitable that Smatsorabudh raked in seven figures from one department store alone. That retailer's fraud investigators alerted authorities and helped the Arlington County Police Department and undercover Homeland Security agents bust the woman, court papers show.
Smatsorabudh, who was born in Thailand, will be arraigned next week in a federal court in Alexandria, Va.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hermès world: a refurbished Singapore flagship stocks scarves to stationery

In a city obsessed with luxury labels, Singapore has always had a soft spot for Hermès. Since the early 1970s, its corps of tai-tais have tirelessly worked their Kellys from one social event to the next like a badge of honour, their Soie Belle scarves a colourful semaphore of an expensive, but quietly tasteful, joie de vivre.
All of which explains the frisson that has greeted the unveiling of the newly refurbished flagship boutique on Singapore’s fabled retail stretch, Orchard Road.
Under the artistic direction of Denis Montel, the Paris-based architects RDAI replaced the former striated facade with a porous shell clad in white Alucobond and glass that is cut through with geometric rows of sharply angled embrasures – the arresting pattern provides interior shade while creating interesting shadows during the course of the day.
A new entrance on Angullia Park opens into a generously proportioned space that has soothing echoes of the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré store in Paris – a beautifully textured floor of trani biancone stone and mosaic framing cedar window shutters, European cherry vitrines, an under-used stainless steel and glass lift and, for those more leisurely retail flâneurs, a staircase of warm African teak.
The entire Hermès universe – as the marque prefers to call its merchandise – is on offer, from ties and scarves to stationery and perfumes. A new third floor now houses the furniture collection and home accessories alongside the equestrian collection and a VIP suite swathed in ecru velvet and silk.
An unexpected pleasure is the fourth floor Aloft at Hermès, a cosy 111 sq m art space that is one of just five in the world run by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. The inaugural show – the ethereal ‘How to disappear into a rainbow’ by local artist Dawn Ng –  runs until 14 August.

Hermès inks lease for Latin American office in Coral Gables

Hermès of Paris has signed an office lease for its perfume division in downtown Coral Gables.
Hermès leased nearly 2,900 square feet at 2020 Ponce, where it will house its Latin American office, Avison Young announced on Monday. The brokerage’s principal Donna Abood arranged the lease for the high-end French retailer along with Skyline Realty International.

The office and retail building at 2020 Ponce De Leon Boulevard
Florida East Coast Realty developed and owns the mixed-use tower, which includes ground floor retail and seven floors of office space. About 20,000 square feet in the 130,000-square-foot building are available to buy or lease, according to a press release.
Tenants include Avison Young – Florida, AMC Networks Latin America, Providence Companies, Peebles Corporation, as well as Florida Community Bank, Total Bank, Coral Gables Vein Specialists, and Elite Body Sculpting on the ground floor.
FECR first opened the office and retail building in 2009 with for-sale office space, but later shifted to leasing. The company announced last year that it would begin selling office and retail space again, citing demand from Latin Americans that traditionally buy the spaces they occupy.
Hermès opened its flagship store in the Miami’s Design District at the end of last year. The three-story, 13,000-square-foot boutique at 163 Northeast 39th Street represents one of the French brand’s largest stores in the country. – Katherine Kallergis

Friday, May 6, 2016

Bank Error in Your Favor Go to Hermes

Australian court bails student who 'spent bank error millions'

An Australian court has granted bail to a Malaysian woman who withdrew more than A$4.6m (£2.3m) mistakenly made available to her by a bank.
A lawyer representing Christine Jiaxin Lee, 21, said she had spent about A$1m on luxury items including handbags.
Ms Lee, a student, was arrested at Sydney airport on Wednesday while trying to travel to Malaysia.
Prosecutors say she withdrew the money from Westpac bank within a year and did not notify authorities of the error.
She has been charged with obtaining financial advantage by deception and with knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime, Australian broadcaster ABC reported.
The court in Sydney heard that Ms Lee, a chemical engineering student who has lived in Australia for five years, had opened a Westpac bank account in August 2012 and had mistakenly been given an unlimited overdraft.
Magistrate Lisa Stapleton granted Ms Lee bail on Thursday, although under strict conditions.
Ms Lee's lawyer said the student had been trying to return to Malaysia to visit her parents.



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