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Bag Lady
W Magazine(Decemeber 1998)

Bag Ladies

The Miller sisters-Pia, Alexandra and new mom Marie-Chantal, photographed here exclusively for W-joining other famous ladies donating their handbags for an auction to benefit AIDS research. (Nicole Phelps).

No not all these bags belong to the Miller Sisters. But several of them did. Pia Getty's is the quilted handbag in Royal blue by Chanel. Marie-Chantal of Greece(who gave birth to her second child Konstantine Alexios, just three days after this photo) owned the Hermes Kelly bag in black calfskin, and Alexandra von Furstenberg's is limited-edition wine colored Cartier bag embossed with her initials. The rest were carried by such stars as Madonna, Helena Bonham Carter, Kristen Scott Thomas and other distinguished ladies like Anne Bass, Betsy Bloomingdale and Blaine Trump-all of whom donated their favorite vintage and couture handbags to benefit Community Research Initiative on AIDS(CRIA).

On December 9, those handbags, along with other vintage purses, small accessories and pieces of luggage, will go on the auction block at Sotheby's. "To Have and To Hold" is the auctioneer's first sale dedicated solely to such items. "Women are obsessed with handbags," says Tiffany Dubin, director of Sotheby's fashion department, who has put together a roster of labels including Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vitton, Christian Dior, Judith Leiber and Pucci.

The donated bags make up about a third of 162 lots, and proceeds from their sale will go to CRIA to finance construction of a new clinic and office. The hottest tickets? The green Versace bag Madonna carried at the London premiere of Evita and Nancy Reagan's politically correct elephant shape Judith Lieber bag trimmed in garnets, green onyx and rhinestones, not to mention a two-tone Hermes should bag belonging to Patty de Cisneros and a tote bag complete with a mysterious and inaccessible contents between its exterior and lining, courtesy of the artist Kiki Smith.

The biggest price tag however, is attached to a bag specially designed by Kleinberg Sherill to benefit another charity, the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations. The handmade "Portrait of Hope" alligator number comes with an 18k-gold chain, a rock crystal, diamond and cabochon ruby clasp and a breast cancer ribbon pin inlaid with pink diamonds. The bag and pin are estimated at $15, 000-$20,000.
And then there's a comic relief: a version of the Hermes Kelly bag by Tom Sachs-made of duct tape.