You’ve Purchased Your Holy Grail, Now What?

The idea of a Holy Grail Bag is certainly nothing new within the luxury lexicon. It’s that bag you’re dreaming of every night in your sleep and daydreaming about every waking hour. It’s the one you’re constantly doom-scrolling for on your socials and across various retailers and resellers, sacrificing your sleep, time, overpriced lattes, and happy hours with your close-but-not-really work besties.

I should know, for my search for the elusive “just right” Sac de Jour remains unfulfilled.

And that’s alright. Your HG warrants a ritual that must be relished in and of itself. Aside from a genuine monetary investment, it takes an investment of effort and energy, sometimes over months—or even years! After all, that’s what makes it so special. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself after another search for the SDJ on eBay yields mostly undesirable contenders.

Is harboring the mere fantasy of a Holy Grail sometimes enough?

But throughout my pursuits, I stumbled upon a pristine white Fendi Spy Bag, one of my mom’s all-time Holy Grails. So, of course, I immediately snatched it up without devoting much thought to it. It was only upon arrival (with the involuntary delays of delivery) that it struck me: is harboring the mere fantasy of a Holy Grail sometimes enough (especially if the object of your desires is an immaculate white purse in a perpetually humid climate)? And what lies on the other side once you’ve actually acquired it?

The Thrill of the Hunt

The Holy Grail isn’t stagnant; it’s a fluid notion that thrives on taste and proliferates with passion. After all, desire is subjective, so why shouldn’t the object of said desire be too right?

However, one of the defining features of nearly all HGBs is their general rarity, a major reason why the Birkin remains coveted by so many. Of course, cost plays a part, too (although, at this point, the vast majority of luxury bags are rather price-restrictive). In fact, pretty much anything and everything that prevents you from waltzing out of the store with your dream bag makes it more desirable.

That is the notion most legacy fashion houses are keen to cultivate, thus implementing a veritable armada of price hikes, quotas, VIP-only stores, and waitlists, all in a bid to make securing the bag more arduous and, consequently, thrilling. After all, if the immediate purchase was a realistic prospect, price-wise or otherwise, where would its allure be?

The Himalayan Birkin – one of the ultimate Holy Grails

But is your collection complete once you’ve gamely overcome all the hurdles and turned that far-off illusion into a reality?

The Elusive Purse-Peace

Picture this: you’ve finally got your hands on that one handbag you’ve been lusting after for years, planning the moment down to the tiniest detail. You’ve to remind yourself to breathe, adrenaline coursing through your veins. So, to think that now you must expose your precious purse to the elements, to the dirt and grime of everyday wear, must be a crushing realization. After all, buying the bag is one, but physically using it is entirely another.

More so if the purse itself isn’t the most practical (contrary to your fantasies where it was the most perfect thing in existence), relegating itself to a permanent place inside your closet and awaiting when it can finally see daylight again. And in your desperation, you decide to purchase, or at the very least, begin lusting after, something else to fill the void. After all, you can now chart newer waters with your previous Holy Grail safely nestled in your nest!

Purse peace is the ideology where you feel content with your collection, often characterized by your willpower and restraint to refuse further temptation. And if the several PurseForum threads on the subject are any indication, many of us have successfully managed to be at peace with our posse of purses. For a larger group, however, purse peace is a far-off reality – if the “perfect” purse doesn’t exist, can you ever really be at peace? And just because you have accumulated everything you could want now, who’s to say that’ll hold true a couple of seasons down the line?

Chanel Cruise 2024 9.jpg

With new collections every season, where does the cycle stop?

The Paradox of Desire

Thus, we reach the juncture where we begin to question what meaning our Holy Grails hold for us, if any at all.

In theory, if we’ve been coveting something for so long, it makes sense that, once we come into its possession, we may feel a sense of spiritual fulfillment, or, in tPFers’ terms, purse peace. In reality, however, the desire we feel for a certain item is, ever so often, merely a fear of missing out. After all, with “treating yourself” sprees, massive Instagram hauls, and frequent but urgent “get it before it’s gone” sales, Holy Grails have devolved into a never-ending cycle of (often conspicuous) consumption.

Of course, the gratification is there; you have the magical moment when you, too, can show off your latest acquisition to the world. But in an era when desire is manufactured and commodified, gratification is short-lived, what with your favorite brands populating your feed and a closet full of ghosts of Holy Grails past.

In the end, maturing is realizing that your needs have evolved (maybe I don’t really need an SDJ?), and, naturally, what once felt like a must-have to you is now no longer does (or maybe I do?). And with the boom in resale, curating your closet is arguably easier than ever. But it’s equally as easy to get caught up in the competition, and ultimately, it feels very much like a competition. As Kaitlin says, “It’s not about the brand, the bag, or even the price, rather a Holy Grail is a state of mind. How bad do you want it?”

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