Designer Bag Ladies
Byline: RACHAEL SNOWDEN
WOULD you spend hundreds of pounds on something as basic as a handbag?
More and more women are - and not just those on big salaries.
Designer bags are 1999's biggest status symbol and girls are blowing more on them than on the rest of their entire outfit. There are even waiting lists of up to six months for the most sought-after styles. But are the bags really worth it or is it just all marketing hype? We spoke to five designer bag ladies to find out . . .
THE MARKET TRADER
FAITH O'NEILL, 30, works in a collector's record shop in London's Kensington Market, where she earns around [pounds sterling]15,000 a year, and lives in nearby Olympia.
She has one of the most sought-after bags in the world - the Fendi Baguette.
The animal print bag cost [pounds sterling]500 last October.
MY BOYFRIEND Frank, who writes books about music memorabilia, took me to Venice for my 30th birthday. The Fendi shop was next to our hotel so I noticed the bag on the first day.
I'd seen a lot of publicity about them in Britain and knew how difficult it was to get hold of one so I was surprised to see the shop had three left.
'I knew I had to have it and nagged and nagged until, after three days, I got my way and Frank bought it for me. I think he thought I was being a bit spoilt as he'd treated me to the holiday, but he knows that when I've got my mind set on something I usually get my way.
'The shop also had a grey cashmere style with a diamante buckle, but that was being shipped to a fashion editor somewhere so I had only this one and a real mink one (which I wouldn't have worn) to choose from. I love animal print and I haven't seen anyone else with this design, so it's a bit more exclusive.
'The day I returned from Venice there was a big article in the Evening Standard where even their fashion editor said she couldn't get her hands on one.
'Whenever I wear my baguette I hear people talking about it: "Ooh, she's got a Fendi bag." My friends love it. I've got a [pounds sterling]280 Gucci bag and a [pounds sterling]220 Prada bag which Frank also bought me under my bed at home, but they're a bit passo now.
'My baguette is definitely my favourite bag at the moment - a very pretty bag that makes me feel very grown up when I'm carrying it around.
'I'd be lying if I said the hype didn't affect my opinion, but it's nice and attractive regardless of who it's made by. Of course, having an exclusive [pounds sterling]500 bag is a status symbol, but at the end of the day it's only a bag.' M
THE PR EXECUTIVE
AIMEE HARTLEY, an account executive at a PR company, earns about [pounds sterling]20,000 a year. 24-year-old's great passion her black leather Prada bag, which cost [pounds sterling]450. She says:
'I BOUGHT my Prada bag in a moment of madness last year. I had been saving up for a car and had around [pounds sterling]600 in the bank.
'I had just started a new job - it was my first one after university and I was concerned about making a good impression and looking the part as a professional young woman.
'I asked my friend Charlotte, who works in PR for Chanel, to come shopping for a new working wardrobe and give me some advice because she really knows her stuff.
'She took me into the Prada store on Sloane Street and we tried a few things on and then I saw this bag. I thought it was glamorous, simple, classy and perfect for both work and socialising. Charlotte said it was perfect label for the PR world, definitely a "must-have".
WHEN I was handing over the money I felt really good. I thought: "Blow the car, I don't need it!"
'I kept it a secret for about month and when I did tell my boyfriend he thought I was a fool for spending so much money. He said we could have gone on holiday for that amount. I still haven't mentioned it to my Mum - I'm sure she'd think it was a bit excessive. …