Haute Hand-me-Downs: Our best selling bags

July 29, 2008

So why, you may ask, am I including a picture of a car’s interior in a post about handbags? Well, I thought I’d diverge a bit from the expected fawning over our best-selling bags and instead give you some little-known facts about the brands that are featured in this week’s homepage. Yes, we are highlighting four brands you know very well: Gucci, Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton–these are pieces that will always be worth the investment.

I’m pretty sure you already know exactly why these four brands continually top Portero’s sales, so I decided to do a little digging and find out a few stories behind the companies that you may be interested to hear. Let’s start with Gucci (and that car interior picture above). When the company was going through a bit of a downturn in sales, Aldo Gucci decided to expand into new markets, one of which was a partnership with American Motors Corporation. The 1972 AMC Hornet “Sportabout” station wagon was decked out in Gucci stripes and emblems, and was one of the first American cars to offer interiors by a fashion house.
Most people are aware that Hermès started out as a saddle company, but did you know that the founder’s grandson Émile-Maurice bought the exclusive rights to the use of the zipper for clothing and leather goods? This was around 1914, and you can imagine that this really made Hermès a luxury brand on another level. (The saddle above, FYI, was a one-of-a-kind creation made by Hermès for Selfridges in London.)

We talked a lot about Chanel handbags during our amazing vintage auction, so here’s a tidbit about Coco’s famous perfume: The number 5 was picked solely because it was Chanel’s lucky number. Like all of her clothes, Chanel specifically created a very simple bottle, and the design has not changed at all since its introduction in 1921.

I’m sure you’re aware of the value and beauty of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks, but do you know why they were so innovative at the time? Besides being made of lightweight and airtight trianon canvas, it was the flat shape that really made an impact. Before Vuitton’s version, trunks had rounded tops, mostly to let water run off the top. But these rounded tops meant that stacking was impossible, so Vuitton’s invention truly changed the face of travel.

The unique histories of these companies are really what make the products so special. Click right here to link directly to the homepage, and bid on something that can be passed down for years to come.

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