News that Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen's alligator skin backpack -- a spendy splurge that retailed for the price of a new teacher's annual salary -- sold out recently shined a spotlight on the high price some people pay to look chic. That one could buy, oh, 390 perfectly good $100 backpacks for the same sum isn't the point. Part of being a celebrity is to live larger than the average Louise.
A fashion expert for Barney's even defended the blingy bag. "If you were ever going to spend $39,000 on a bag, that's the bag you should buy," said Amanda 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."
The raccoon-eyed twins designed the glorified purse for their fashion line, The Row. "It was the first thing that sold off the shelf," Ashley boasted, explaining that uber expensive luxury items perform well when finances are tight for the common folk. She made sure to increase the bag's cachet by schlepping it around to assorted celebrity soirees, such as Kanye West's recent fashion show in Paris.
The twin fashion tycoons are not the only example of celebrity accessory excess during today's economic doldrums. Here are some other ultra-expensive celebrity fashion statements from the past year:
Angelina Jolie Very Attached to Her Bag
The golden purse Angelina Jolie wore to hubby Brad Pitt's "Moneyball" premiere at the Toronto Film Festival was literally handcuffed to her wrist. You can't blame the sultry celeb for not wanting to take any chances. The alligator version of the same Louis Vuitton bag goes for $15,000. Chances are the mom of six didn't have to feed the kids macaroni and cheese to afford the luxury item. She is the designer's hired "face," following in the footsteps of fashion plates Madonna and Jennifer Lopez.
RHOBH Dana Wilkey's Spendy Shades
On a recent episode of "The Real Housewife of Beverly Hills," desperate social climber Dana Wilkey bragged about her $25,000 sunglasses. On her Bravo show blog, the newest "housewife" defended the purchase as "a piece of art" that has function. And here we thought they were just a status symbol to impress her new friends. Turns out the sunglasses were almost a bargain buy. Wilkey claims the chi chi shop where she purchased them has pairs that sell for up to a $100,000.
Suri Cruise's Golden Beach Sandals
Though they might seem downright affordable at a mere $80, the 5-year-old daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise wore a pair of kitten-heeled golden sandals to stroll the beach with her mom last spring. That may not seem like a lot of money for a star, but compared to the usual flip flops most kids her age wear to walk along the water's edge, that's more than a piggy bank full of pennies. One blog considerately featured a knock-off option for ordinary kindergarteners who want to achieve Suri's look at a lower price.
Kim Kardashian's Rock-n' Engagement Ring
Kim Kardashian's real-life Ken doll Kris Humphries knew he'd better have something impressive to place on his celebutante's perfectly manicured hand when he popped the question. The engagement ring he had designed for the Kimster reportedly cost a cool $2 million, a big chunk of change even for an NBA star. The emerald-cut center stone is a 16.5-carat diamond surrounded by two trapezoid-shaped stones. At only 200 grand, the companion wedding band seemed almost dollar store in comparison.
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