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How Luxurious Is Your Designer Bag?

It's in the texture.
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For meticulous fashion insiders, hardware is the telltale sign of an expensive bag. For most, however, texture is the true "real estate," the element that says how much a bag goes for. Animal skins have always been the most expensive.

Ostrich


Ostrich bags are marked by circular spots the size of green peas. Up-close, the surface has various shades—the wrinkled areas are darker than the rest of the skin. The surface is supple and bumpy.

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Many use the word "exotic" to describe ostrich skin, referring to its rarity as much as its looks. Of course, something this uncommon is priced as a luxury item. Louis Vuitton's Alma BB, made of pearled ostrich skin, retails for $7,350. A more mindblowing one is Victoria Beckham's pink ostrich Hermes Birkin, reported to be worth about £100,000.

Calfskin


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Calfskin leather is known for its softness and fine grain. It is also used in bookbinding, which speaks a lot about its durability. The most precious variety of calfskin, veau velours, has a texture similar to suede and is used in Louboutin bags.

Snake


Many designers have made snakeskin a base for color patterns. Gucci, which has taken on a luxe-experimental look, has a variegated snakeskin bag called Nymphea. The mosaic-like texture of python is another extravagant choice. Fendi's Mini Peekaboo has map-like spots in not just two, but six colors.

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Crocodile


Expect nothing less than a statement from crocodile accessories. They are striated, featuring grooves that define the squares of the skin.

The most-talked about crocodile bags from luxury brands are shiny and structured and are worth a pretty penny. In 2015, Fortune reported that an Hermes croc bag was sold for $222,912 at a Christie's auction in Hong Kong.

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Alternatives


For those who are opposed to the use of animal skins, luxe vegan bags are a stylish option. Stella McCartney uses vegetable coating in her Falabella bags, and they look uncannily like leather.

Source: The Fashion Dictionary by Emily Angus, Macushla Baudis, and Philippa Woodcock

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