FASHION/TECHNOLOGY - Jon Marquis's new purse design for 2009 gives fresh meaning to the term "as seen on TV."
In a town obsessed with who carries what, be it the current love affair with Mulberry's "Bayswater," Anya Hindmarsh's green shopper sensation of the "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" canvas tote, or the holy grail of coveted accessories, the Hermès Birkin, Marquis has found what might be the ultimate "It bag" niche.
It has a built-in DVD player, complete with a 7-inch flat screen on the side.
And it's not nearly as tacky as it sounds. In fact, the high-end leather totes are downright chi-chi.
Marquis says his plan was to take advantage of the increasing supply of gadgetry that women carry in their purses, including iPods and cellphones that can record or carry video, but only offer mini screens for any actual viewing.
"It is our belief that people don't really use these to watch films as the screens are too small," he says of the devices, calling his BagTV the "must-have accessory for true trend followers."
The product, he says, is ideal for frequent travellers who have spent too much time waiting around airports for their flights or stuck in hotel rooms with little choice on TV.
He says his market research shows that mothers with small children are buying the bags – first available in Britain in December – as a portable entertainment option for their kids.
"We have found in research that the bags appeal to both fashion-conscious women and also women with children, who might want to just keep the kids quiet. They can now just say to them, `Watch my bag!'"
The BagTV is a classic shape that gives a respectful nod to the Birkin, and comes in black and red patent leather, as well as white, tan, pink and a fetchingly nautical navy and white combo for spring.
Two brass clasps secure a cover over the screen, which looks like a pocket when it is not in use.
The purse also houses a lightweight DVD and mpeg player, a USB port and an SD card slot for viewing photographs.
Also tucked inside is a separate stand so that the screen can be used on its own.
The battery lasts for 2 1/2 hours and can be recharged on the go using the dashboard cigarette lighter in a car.
All this technology in such a pretty package doesn't come cheap.
It sells on the company's website (bagtv.com) for £295 (about $550 Canadian or $440 US).