Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were on hand at Barneys last night to fete the launch of their new line of luxury handbags for The Row (I’m pretty sure I know which one is which now thanks to our handy guide–Ashley’s in the floor length embroidered number, MK’s in the blazer, both from the Row).
“I think the bags are triple super chic,” said Amanda Brooks, Barneys’ new-ish fashion director (who, as evidenced by our Textbook post today, is pretty chic herself). The line, she said, fills a void within Barneys highly competitive bags and accessories department–a younger more streamlined Celine-esque sub-in for the Birkins they don’t stock. “Obviously we don’t carry Hermes bags in the store so we were trying to find something that appeals to that customer who is willing to spend a lot of money on a bag that’s going to last a long time and has a classic design.”
When Brooks mentions a customer willing to spend “a lot of money on a bag” she means up to $39,000 on a bag. That’s how much the crocodile backpack in the Olsen’s new bag range for the Row will set you back. But according to Style.com, two of backpacks-worth-as-much-as-your-college-tuition have already been pre-ordered.
“I think if you were every going to spend $39,000 on a bag, that’s the bag you should buy because I think you’d wear it for a really long time,” said Brooks. “There’s enough design to make it interesting and beautiful but they truly are classic bags–and I think you also might be the only one who has it.” Well, one of the only it seems.
But if folks are willing to shell out $39K for a backpack, does this herald it’s return? Lady Gaga recently rocked a leather mini-backpack a la Clueless. And Simon Doonon, who noted that Prada was selling their classic nylon ones again, thinks the backpack is the perfect bag for today’s modern woman.
“It’s never been more complicated to be a girl than it is now,” said Doonan. “You have to look fabulous and be a lifestyle brand and have a drink and be Twittering at the same time so you need hands free.” Enter the backpack.
But would he ever wear one? “I never was a backpack person,” Doonan explained. “My gay sister was always working a backpack and it’s a little too hearty for me.”
Click through for more pics from the party (Lizzy Olsen was there too).
**All photos: Billy Farrell