The presence of exotic leathers in fashion is as prevalent as ever. Last week the house of Hermes sold an albino crocodile handbag for $189,000!?! And considering that a typical crocodile or alligator hide can be bought for $200-$600 (before tanning), well that seems like one heck of a profit. In today’s world of ‘de-luxe’ products where even high-end designers are producing to appeal to the masses – exotic leathers still exude exclusivity. They are rare, limited in quantities, and, for some designers like Gucci, Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Ralph Lauren and of course Hermes, extremely expensive. In 2012 Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey bought a crocodile farm of their own while Kering purchased its own tannery. The luxury accessories market was worth $77 billion last year according to Bain & Co.
After a recent alligator hunt, I became educated on the processing, tanning, dying, and then creating a product of the exotic leather. I began researching what I might want made from my hide and found these bags for inspiration that are stylish, functional, and just plain cool.
1. Nancy Gonzales Juliette Jake Blue Crocodile Wrap Clutch – Just gorgeous in cobalt blue and the look of the wrap is unique, $645 Intermix.
2. Ralph Lauren The Ricky Bag in Alligator – Inspired by his wife, Ricky, Ralph Lauren created this bag paying attention to every little detail, available in a variety of colors and leathers including purple alligator for a heavy price tag, $18,500 Ralph Lauren.
3. Nancy Gonzales Large Crocodile Clutch Bar Bag – This bag makes a statement in bright magenta, $2,200 Bergdorf Goodman.
4. Vintage Double Hornback Crocodile Clutch – With hundreds of vintage exotic skin bags, Vintageskins.com is a fun website to browse to find gorgeous well-made bags in all price ranges like this double hornback crocodile clutch, $525 VintageSkins.com.
5. Stavley Alligator Envelope Clutch – This clutch is simplistic and chic and in one of fall’s must have colors – gray, Barney’s.
6. 1940’s Green Pleated Alligator Clutch – Another find from VintageSkins.com that I just love this green clutch, $695 VintageSkins.com.
7. Tom Ford Natalia Alligator Doctor Bag – This alligator doctor bag by Tom Ford is sleek, shiny, and if you ever pay this much for a handbag chances are you already see a psychiatrist, $24,930 TomFord.