bookends, February 7, 2009 (view all comments by bookends)
An American living in Barcelona goes on a worldwide undercover hunt to buy and re-sell the coveted Birkin handbag, made by Hermes. A witty romp through the high end handbag trade, with snooty salespeople, a high end bag held "hostage", sales to famous and the not so famous on Ebay, and a shopaholic's dream come true.
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Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag
0 stars -
William Morrow & Company -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In a funny, whip-smart memoir sure to be a sensation among Vogue and W devotees, erstwhile hair and makeup artist Tonello (now a columnist for HuffingtonPost.com) chronicles a surprising (even to him!) trans-Atlantic move from Provincetown, R.I. to a city he'd fallen in love with on a short trip: Barcelona, where he knows no one and doesn't speak the language. Tonello's initial euphoria dissolves when his new job fails to materialize. To stay afloat, Tonello starts selling items on Ebay with startling results: his first, heart-racing success, a year-old $99 Polo scarf he sold for $430 to a Midwesterner ('I guess he really liked plaid') makes Tonello an instant believer in the resale capabilities of high-end luxury items. Thus his new trade, and his quest for the Birkin, the 'it bag' of all time, famous for its impenetrable waiting list ('What do you mean the waiting list is closed? It's a waiting list. So I can't wait?'). After many failed attempts, Tonello plans a weekend drive to Madrid in search of the haute couture holy grail; the result is a both a hilarious raid on fashion's strongholds and a memoir that satisfies like a novel. Fashion die-hards, and many others, will be delighted from beginning to end." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Wall Street Journal,
"[T]he memoir reads as much like a breezy travelogue as a business story....Mr. Tonello comes off as the fantasy gay best friend immortalized in contemporary women's fiction: sassy, plucky, optimistic — oh, and he can get you a Birkin."
by Boston Herald,
"[Tonello] reveals the key to scoring that Holy Grail of handbags in a clever memoir."
by Minneapolis Star Tribune,
"Fascinating....The sassy and resourceful Tonello built a very lucrative eBay resale business from his apartment, specializing in Hermès scarves and the French luxury purveyor's highly desired Birkin bag. It's hard not to be swept up in his delightful one-man Birkin Brigades."
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