Move Along, Diamonds and Pearls—Vintage Handbags Are This Editor’s BFF
Canadian pre-loved luxury retailer LXR has it all and then some.
by : Estelle Gervais- Jun 2nd, 2021
Doesn’t everyone have a fantasy handbag that makes them go weak at the knees? The thought of filling it with your lip gloss and wallet is enough to get you running to the nearest Dior store—only to stop yourself when you remember the price tag, your supple-leather daydream instantly crushed. Owning that one coveted piece used to be a lifetime achievement—making the list for an Hermès Birkin is nearly impossible unless you’ve already purchased the equivalent of 40 silk carrés from the brand. Well, no more, ladies (and gents!): You too can rock a Saddle like a real-life Bradshaw.
Hermès Ex Libris scarf
Enter LXR, Canada’s leading retailer of pre-owned handbags and accessories. While many vintage retailers take a “head-to-toe” approach, LXR has chosen to focus on a highly curated assortment of shoulder bags, tote bags, travel bags and other complementary accessories, including small leather goods, jewellery and silk scarves. Whether your heart desires a Jackie from Gucci, a Tessuto from Prada or something way more rare (think a crocodile Birkin with diamonds or Louis Vuitton’s Malle Cabine steamer trunk), LXR is the place to find it. Chosen for unique craftsmanship and recognizable branding, every product undergoes a strict internal quality-control check before it can end up in your walk-in. All goods are certified as authentic, and the company stands behind its products with a 100 percent guarantee. A major perk of shopping here is that it’s Canadian, which means you can avoid a lot of fees. Sometimes extra costs—including foreign-currency exchanges, cross-border-shipping costs and customs duties—can add up to 30 percent to the original price tag, making that too-good-to-be-true purchase turn sour real quick.
Fendi Zucca shoulder bag
“Our mission is to democratize the luxury space for aspirational consumers and to do so in a socially responsible way—[we want to see] a pre-loved luxury bag on every arm,” says Cam di Prata, LXR’s interim CEO. Launched over a decade ago, the Canadian company has grown exponentially, and it now offers in-store shopping options via collaborations with various brands across the country should you want to have some one-on-one time with your coveted item before you bring it home. Its partnership with Hudson’s Bay is one such example. While the giant retailer can’t sell goods from some premium brands, such as Chanel and Gucci, second-hand retail provides a convenient loophole, meaning you can shop premium luxury items across Canada in its 10 strategically located stores or through the recently launched HBC Marketplace. And it doesn’t stop there: As of June, you’ll be able to rent certain bags, starting at around the price of a latte. Imagine the flexibility of having a bag for every season. Luxury democratization at Starbucks prices? Sign us up! Plus, a percentage of the company’s revenue goes toward supporting mothers with cancer, LGBTQIA2+ helplines and the fight against climate change—all causes that are dear to LXR employees.
“We appreciate beautifully designed luxury-branded goods, and our mission is to democratize luxury—that is, to ensure that everyday aspirational consumers can have access to quality pre-owned luxury items that we curate and authenticate and that are available through any of our channels at any time at more affordable prices than brand new. ”
-Valerie Sorbie and Cam di Prata, office of the president at LXR
Louis Vuitton Palm Springs backpack
But I’m getting sidetracked: You’re here to learn more about these fabulous bags and why getting your hands on one is a safe bet. LXR’s authentication process is quite complex—as it should be. Let me walk you through it.
Third-party suppliers are at the centre of the company’s business model, which means the first authenticity step takes place before the goods are received by LXR. As well, ongoing year-round training for all staff means that not only the company’s buyers are a cut above in terms of authentication knowledge but the rest of the employees are too. Even the photographers are in on the training so they can spot those details that only show up once the bags are under bright lights. I was surprised to learn that the photo process is what eliminates 95 to 98 percent of counterfeit items. And before each item goes up for sale, the buying team gives it and the pictures another run-through, just to be on the safe side. If there’s even the slightest doubt when it comes to those rare, high-priced items, the company relies on Entrupy, a technology that evaluates the textile of a piece on a microscopic level.
Looking at vintage pieces and being able to recognize their authenticity is one (very important!) thing, but classifying them is a whole different story. You can read about the company’s unique rating system here. Never hesitate to shoot the team a message if you have queries; trained customer service reps have all the buyers on speed-dial, so any questions you may have can be easily answered. Plus, the 10-day, no-questions-asked return policy is pretty sweet.
As for which handbags you should keep an eye on, I asked Valerie Sorbie and Cam di Prata, who together make up the office of the president at LXR, which collectibles they are currently hunting. The colourful pieces from Chanel’s Cruise 2021/2022 and the newly released Coussin by Louis Vuitton are “absolute must-haves,” while Louis Vuitton x Stephen Sprouse Graffiti bags are also top of mind for the pair. I couldn’t agree more.
Hermès Birkin 30 in Potiron
Like LXR, I take my handbags very seriously, and so should you. Some pieces are literal investments—while Bitcoin stock goes up, down and sideways, the resale price of a Chanel 2.55 increases every year without fail. So, evidently, selling your luxury goods can be quite a lucrative side hustle. Completing the full-circle aspect of its business model, LXR will also buy your goods. Authenticity and a good condition of the item are top priorities for buyers, while rarity and “bestselling” potential are close seconds. To start the process, they’ll ask you to send over images of the item (front, back, sides, interior, lining, all logos, all hardware, date code/serial number and any other necessary details) and then give you an appraisal within 48 hours. You can earn back up to 65 percent of the resale value in cash or up to 75 percent in gift cards. If you’re not in a hurry, consignment is also a good option because you get up to 85 percent of the sale price. There’s no doubt: Purchasing or reselling second-hand truly has its perks.
Chanel Medium Classic Double Flap bag
Full disclosure: While LXR didn’t pay for this article, I was the lucky recipient of a bag of my choice in exchange for this coverage. Being a fashion editor sometimes has its perks. (Sue me!) That being said, I wouldn’t write about a brand if I didn’t believe in it.
After diligent research on 70-plus pages of available goods, my heart settled on Hermès’ Evelyne I Togo in navy with gold hardware, rated “Excellent” after going through the company’s quality-assurance process, with only minor scuff marks on the outer surface. After all, every pre-loved bag should have some personality. This bag has some significance for me, as my mom received one from my dad for Christmas one year when I was an already-fashion-obsessed young girl. It also happened to be the first bag I borrowed from her (read: took without asking) as a teenager, giving me a better understanding of what luxury truly is and what such a status symbol means. Needless to say, I was hooked—and still am.
As for that one-of-a-kind showstopper, here are some fashion-editor approved options that are sure to inspire some envy.
This is the iconic early-2000s BFF bag. Be the Paris to your Kim with Louis Vuitton’s Alma Mirror handbag.
It’s raining cerises, hunny! Ditch your raincoat and show off that outfit with your very own Louis Vuitton Cherry umbrella.
Clutch your pearls for dear life—because these ones are Chanel!
I actually own a Saddle and I would highly recommend it.
Don’t be caught buying counterfeit Baguettes out of a car trunk like Samantha Jones—rent the real deal.
Travel in style or not at all. It’s not only the devil who wears Prada!
All that glitter (and some double Cs!) makes the perfect summer-night-out companion.
I’m not an LV-obsessed kinda girl, but LXR has such good options that I can’t help but include this iconic denim bag.
Looking for that perfect birthday gift for the apple of your eye? Let’s just hope he appreciates this fine backpack by Riccardo Tisci for Burberry.
The OG of luxury handbags, Chanel’s classic double-flap is a no-brainer.
Consider adding Louis Vuitton’s Karakoram blanket to your basket—because why shouldn’t your couch be as fashionable as you are?
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