The ultra-rich are spending thousands on accessories to adorn their accessories

Because bags need their own bling.
Because bags need their own bling.
Image: Reuters/Alessandro Garofalo
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If there is one sure sign that the world’s rich are only getting richer, it’s that bag candy—the teen trend of decorating your tote with quirky charms and dolls—is now a thing in high-end adult fashion.

“The last five years has seen many luxury brands expand their portfolios and diversify into new territory,” Fflur Roberts, head of Euromonitor’s luxury goods group told Business of Fashion. “The latest in these innovations is the increase in brand tchotchkes by leading luxury labels.”

Bag candy is chief among these tchotchkes in the personal accessory industry, a $102 billion business in the US that includes fine jewelry, leather goods, and luxury pens, according to Euromonitor.

The product category, now one of the fashion industry’s hottest trends, plays to the whims of the super rich, the aspiring rich, and the masses. That’s because the little dolls and bobbles that dangle off of purses and backpacks are pricey enough to feel exclusive for high-end buyers. But they’re still affordable enough to serve as bling for those who can’t afford expensive luxury handbags, which have only been getting pricier, according to Elizabeth von def Goltz, a senior vice president of Bergdorf.

For example, Fendi, which Bloomberg credits with spawning the bag charm trend in 2013, makes fur bugs, witches, pom poms, and monsters that range from $600 to $1,500. The handbags they hang off of start at about $2,500. Burberry sells a plaid bear for $150, but for $295 your bear can don a shearling jacket.

For designers, bobbles serve as a statement. Kendall & Kylie Jenner are making deer for purses at about $100 a pop. A fox and rabbit fur blue monster for $150 from Jocelyn, a New Jersey furrier, gives Fendi a run for its money. A navy faux-fur pom-pom at $15 from J. Crew can “give your bag purse-onality.”

For consumers, they’re a little wink at the world, a way to say that this girl’s bling has a sense of humor.

The best bag candy straddles the high-low divide by being kitschy and irreverent. “Lately, these charms have gotten bigger, bolder,”  Karen Giberson, president of the Accessories Council trade group, told Bloomberg.

In a world where 60 is the new 40, it makes sense that fashion would equate being bold with an infantile sensibility.