One of the stories from Alligators, Old Mink & New Money that readers often mention has to do with a woman who has a meltdown in Hooti over an off-white gator bag that she didn't buy when she first spotted it. Of course, as often happens with vintage shopping adventures, those of us who procrastinate frequently live to regret it.
Well, thankfully, there's more than one great vintage gator bag to be had, and if you haven't bought one yet, now is a great time, well ahead of the fall-shopping craziness. Lots of gators are moving on eBay at reasonable prices (but PLEASE look closely at the photos and if you aren't knowledgeable about what to look for, buy from a seller whose specialty is alligator handbags; many bags billed as alligator are actually some kind of lizard or other reptile). Of course, another option, so you can scrutinize the merchandise, and check the skins to make sure they haven't dried out, is your favorite vintage store. (And, by the way, we found the gator shown here at an Internet store called enokiworld; we have no relationship with them, and make no guarantees about their merchandise, we just liked this bag.)
Of course, some folks will never buy into vintage—and Alison, who was in Paris for a few days earlier this spring, spotted a new gator for those kinds of shoppers (and for whom money is no object): On display at Hermes, in its own glass case, was a beautiful specimen—all you needed was $163,000 (give or take a few Euros). Alison was so stunned she didn't notice the diamond-encrusted clasp at first glance. (We wonder, does Oprah have one of these?)
If that's your preference, happy shopping. The rest of us will carry gators with a past (from Hermes, Lucille de Paris or no label at all) whose age only adds to their beauty, and with the confidence that our bags are just as likely to stand out on Fifth Avenue, Faubourg Saint-Honore or any other place we chose to take them.