The Hula Hoop Reinvented


Do you remember gymnastics in primary school when you were forced to Hula Hoop for aerobic heath? Well, I do and I hated it! Back then the hoops were made of bamboo, an Australian invention I’m told. The problem for me was that I could never keep the damn thing twirling around my waist and the beloved Hula always ended up somewhere closer to my ankles. Hula Hoops have actually been around since 500BCE, which is probably why we can’t get them out of our psyche.

Fast forward to 2013. I love it when designers reinvent the wheel. Clever Karl Lagerfeld created one of the most talked about bags in fashion history. Eyebrows were raised when the Chanel Hula Hoop bag was launched on the Paris catwalk that year. It is one of the largest designer bags ever made with the hardcore fashionista in mind. When the Hula bag was released, Vogue published an article saying that the Hula Hoop bag would not be made for sale and was only a runway display. Smaller versions now exist, but nothing matches this fashion icon measuring a massive seventy-eight centimetres in diameter with quilted white lambskin leather and two Hula Hoop circles covered with fine black leather. Given the full treatment by the House of Chanel, the Hula Hoop bag comes with hologram, matching identity card and purpose made fitted zip dust cover. In a rare marketing moment, Karl Lagerfeld was photographed sporting his iconic creation on his shoulder proudly promoting it to the public and press. History was made.

Not only was the Hula Hoop bag coveted in every fashion magazine and establishment at the time, it was also sought after by galleries and museums around the world. Australians are not always associated with high fashion, however the NGV, Australia’s oldest gallery, has this extra-large runway Chanel Hula Bag as a permanent part of its collection… so there, who says we don’t have style!

I couldn’t believe it when I entered my office one morning and a runway Hula Hoop bag was sitting on my desk. I was out that morning and was told that a client would be dropping off an unusual Chanel item. They were reluctantly letting it go from their private collection. Well, it is probably the most exciting and interesting piece of luxury I have ever had the pleasure to sell.

What is it worth? Considering the Hula’s place in fashion history and its iconic gallery status, you’ll have to pay in excess of $30,000.00 to take this one home. Unlike the Hula Hoops of my childhood, this classic Karl Lagerfeld Chanel bag, presented as lot 15 of our upcoming Luxury Auction, is ‘display only’ and makes for one of the most talked about designer pieces that you could ever have for display in your home.

John D’Agata
Head of Luxury

March 2021