By and  on November 8, 2007

The top 12 handbag brands ranked by familiarity among luxury consumers.

Handbags are among the accessories driving the fashion world today, and newcomers are diving into the market almost daily. That makes it ever harder for brands to capture the attention of the all-important luxury consumer. "There are so many names in the luxury handbag market today, which tells me that they have to work to stand out — the wealthier the consumers are, the more unique they want the bag to be," said Milton Pedraza, chief executive officer of the Luxury Institute in New York. The firm has released its "Handbag Brands 2008" report analyzing which of 26 brands consumers are most familiar with. From Coach to Hermès, the top 12 run the gamut in terms of price. "As far as status goes, this is probably one of the most important fashion categories — it's the one that really shows off who you are, no matter how you are dressed," said Pedraza.

1. COACH
Number of respondents who selected this as a handbag brand with which they were familiar: 76 percent
The $2.6 billion Coach hopes to double its volume to $5 billion over the next four to five years. In October, Lew Frankfort, chairman and chief executive officer, identified handbags selling for more than $400 as the company's "fastest-growing price segment." The company opened its first Coach Legacy store in October — one-quarter of the merchandise is exclusive to the new format, and the average price point is $425. President and executive creative director Reed Krakoff told WWD the prototype is a way for younger fashion-savvy types to experience the world of Coach.

2. LOUIS VUITTON
63 percent
American artist Richard Prince's buzzed-about spring collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton handbags was unveiled during Paris Fashion Week. Prince worked plenty of variations on the famed logo. "I started silk-screening the monogram," he told WWD in October. "I started stamping it. I took it apart. I cut it up. I splashed it around. I tried to abstract it in a way that you would still be able to recognize it." The French fashion house has taken a bold approach to its latest ad campaign by featuring former Russian President Mikhail S. Gorbachev as one of its new models.

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