Louis Vuitton’s Handbag Hangover

The battle of the bags...Louis Vuitton loses its court case against Warner Bros for the use of counterfeit Vuitton luggage and Hermès burns imperfect bags.

The business of handbags is big bucks. A report by Global Industry Analysts says the US market alone is projected to reach $9 billion (R74 billion) by 2015. French group LVMH reported a 13% increase in sales to $14.4 billion (R118.7 billion) in the first half of 2011. So it's no wonder Louis Vuitton, one of 60 luxury brands owned by LVMH, filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros for the use of counterfeit Vuitton luggage in The Hangover Part II.

In an airport scene in the hit film, the eccentric character Alan, played by Zach Galifianakis, totes an imitation Louis Vuitton bag. "Careful, that is a Louis Vuitton," he exclaims, mispronouncing the French label. Fashion bible Women's Wear Daily (WWD) reports that although the joke lies in the fact that he is an unlikely candidate to possess an authentic Louis Vuitton bag, the luxury company argues it is a misrepresentation of its product which will lead to "consumer confusion". The luxury label filed a complaint in late 2011 after Warner Bros ignored requests not to feature counterfeit bags in the film. 

However, Louis Vuitton is now experiencing a handbag hangover after the case was dismissed by a New York federal judge. According to Vogue UK, the presiding judge said that the claims were "not plausible" or "particularly compelling".

Louis Vuitton was seeking profits from the film, which grossed approximately $580 million (R4.78 billion), and triple damages, as well as the destruction of all copies of The Hangover Part II.

"We are deeply disappointed in the court's decision," the company told WWD. "We remain committed to protecting our brand, and will remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent inappropriate and misleading use of our trademark for the benefit of our customers."

Louis Vuitton South Africa was not able to comment on the matter.

Hermès Burns Bags

Meanwhile, Hermès would prefer to burn their unwanted bags than let anyone get their hands on them. It might sound like a heinous fashion crime, but the French company takes its high standards so seriously, it incinerates any imperfect totes. 

Mulberry creative director Emma Hill told the Telegraph: "A friend who was working at Hermès said that if there was even the most minor imperfection on a bag they would take it out the back and burn it – no compromise. No one can touch them in terms of quality."

A source revealed to the Huffington Post that Alexander Wang may have done the same years ago when designing his trademark Rocco bag.

The thought of cremating an innocent designer bag is heart-wrenching but hopefully they are in a better place in handbag heaven.