Coveting 'it'

/ Thursday, August 4, 2016 /
Model Gisele Bundchen carries the Givenchy 'Antigona' in the luxury house's Spring Summer 2012 Campaign. 
Image source here.

A few months ago, my friends and I had gone to a luxury goods sale which took place in town. The brands which were on offer were popular to say the least, and some, more so than others. Amongst them included Givenchy (with its star prints, not-so-friendly rottweiler and almost all-black palette) and Tom Ford. Naturally, many of the sale-goers, including ourselves, headed straight to the Givenchy section.

Being the sensible shopper that I was (not sarcasm!), I was quite amused to see about a dozen women clambering to get their hands on the remaining Givenchy Antigona bags on display. With these bags going at over 50% off their original price, the hype that surrounded these babies seemed totally normal.

Except that the bags were in a bright purple shade. Never mind that they were made of suede, either.

As this situation took place before my eyes, I found myself trying to rationalise such a purchase:

  1. A purple bag can't be that bad, right? It could make a bold statement. I'm sure these people have something in their wardrobe that would go great with this bright bag...
  2. Suede is hard to maintain, that's for sure, but that's a small price to pay given that it's an Antigona, no? 
  3. Perhaps I could sell this bag on Carousell if it doesn't grow on me in the next few days? I don't know... I don't have to decide what I'm going to do with it now, do I? Buy first, think later?

As much as I tried, it still didn't make sense to me. In fact, it felt as it I was deluding myself. Shortly after this, I found the situation to be even more fascinating as I overhead a lady telling her friend, "It's the Antigona, babe. Take it, take it, take it."

This fleeting observation has somehow stuck with me even till now, because it made me look at the bigger picture and realise the following:

More and more people (admittedly, including myself) have become 'blind' as to the things that we really need or the experiences which we can gain genuine satisfaction from. Instead, we are reaching out for material possessions that we are constantly told to have or want, simply because they have been marketed to appear so damn coveted, exclusive and life-changing.

Having said that, what makes us covet 'it'? 

The whole obsession with 'it' can stem from numerous factors, but given the context in which I have set for you today in this blog post, I am particularly interested to share about the possible reasons behind our obsession with 'It Bags'.

If you are not familiar with the term, I believe that an 'It Bag' is one which has propelled to cult status due to its stylish design and expert craftmanship, or due to the nature in which it has been presented to the consumer that appears highly desirable.

Let's talk about the latter.

Model Alexa Chung is the face of Longchamp's Spring 2016 Campaign.
Image source here

Case study: Alexa Chung and Longchamp 

Alex Chung is a British model and presenter who's known for her effortless and slightly boyish style of dressing. Often sported in denim, classic Breton-striped tops and the occasional 60's-style mini dress, Alexa is particularly well-known in the US and the UK. She has fronted countless magazine covers and has even recently hosted a short documentary series for VOGUE UK's YouTube channel. But more impressively, her true strength lies in her ability to sell.

With collaborations and endorsements for big names such as Mulberry, Eyeko and denim brand AG Jeans by Adriano Goldschmeid, it appears that whenever Chung is involved, the people and the media are most likely to lap it up, real quick. 

Alexa Chung's influence did quite a number on me, as her ongoing endorsements for Longchamp have actually altered my perception of the French luxury goods company. 

Allow me to explain. 


As long as I could remember, Longchamp was the brand that sensible women would go for. (Read: boring; NOT fashion-forward). My mom had been a fan of the brand ever since the late 90's - her first encounter with the brand was through an ad in a magazine which showcased the brand's line of leather bags, and she was particularly drawn to their quality leather and classic designs. 

While there is no doubt that quality leather bags with classic designs are able to stand constant wear and tear, are these 'features' alone able to constantly appeal to the ever-changing luxury consumer and stand the test of time?

Enter Alexa Chung.

Being the influential style icon that she was, Alexa Chung's association with the Longchamp brand created quite the buzz among the public and people started taking notice of the brand again. When the Longchamp ads featuring Alexa first appeared in some of my favourite glossies, I was pleasantly surprised by the partnership. And pretty impressed too.

As a fan of (admittedly 'younger' and 'cooler') brands such as Valentino, Stella McCartney and Chloe, I found myself drawn to what was previously known as an 'classic' and 'safe' brand, to a brand that had managed to successfully transform into something more youthful and appealing to today's luxury consumer.

To sum it up, the right spokesperson or ambassador can do wonders for your brand's image. Yes, big numbers (such as a person's Instagram and Snapchat follower count) are more 'tangible' ways of determining a person's ability to 'sell', but other factors ought to be included too.

Upon flipping through the latest glossies on the newstands, you'll find the 'Kendalls' and 'Gigis' dominating the ad spaces. Their appeal lies in their 'self-made' celebrity status with their impressive social media following, which mainly consists of young female adults and the fashion-conscious crowd.

Whichever product or new campaign that these new faces attach themselves to, it is almost guaranteed a sell-out and it will remain a hot topic on the Net for the days to follow.

A black leather bag is ordinary. But when the new golden girl in fashion carries it, it now becomes the bag to have for the year.

Now, give a quick think about the latest bag which you had been eyeing recently. How did you come to learn about it? Are you able to pinpoint what exactly about it that makes you covet it so much?

When you reflect on your motivations behind wanting to purchase a certain item, you will soon realise the effects that these 'endorsements', 'celebrity associations' and 'marketing strategies' have played in your decision-making.

The reasons behind a bag's popularity and 'success' that drove it to its 'It' status, are attributed to a variety of factors that those people in the marketing department are more than aware of.

Thoughts?

***

In the mean time, allow me to digress as I pull together some of the most coveted 'It' bags of the recent years, and style them in three distinctive looks.

1. Gucci Dionysus 
This outfit says "Don't talk to me unless you're the UBER driver who's here to pick me up." Fondly referred to as the no-nonsense look. Armed with silver accents and a Smythson notebook because you're that b**** in the office who everyone fears yet secretly aspire to be at the same time.



2. Chloe Faye 
This outfit says "I love emulating the latest trends from the runway but I'm not about that 'Christmas tree' life." Trends done right without coming across as overwhelming for the wearer. The Chloe Faye is an absolute beauty; never mind that it is available in a variety of colours, patterns and finishing. The 70's vibe oozing from this beauty is working for me. Trendy items such as the Stan Smiths are thrown into the mix to prevent the look from looking matronly.


3. Proenza Schouler PS11
This outfit says "I'm dressing for myself. Doesn't matter if my wardrobe choices appear questionable, especially to men." My observation is that 'flared-anythings' don't particularly appeal to the opposite gender as they often prefer 'tight, short and sexy.' The reason why I love this look is because it is the exact opposite of that. The top is more suited for evening wear, but I reckon it looks totally fresh when worn as a daytime look. Playing with proportions is fun, so try your hand at introducing another flared number via a pair of denim bottoms. To top it all off, the scrumptious PS11 provides the finishing touch with its hues of blue, turquoise, green and interesting texture.



Ever come across a celebrity-endorsed product which you actually loved or absolutely hate? Share your thoughts, I would love to know!

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