What Happened to Perlina Handbags?

Image via Poshmark

Hey there, fellow handbag aficionados! Remember Perlina handbags? Those sleek, buttery-soft leather bags that seemed to be on the arm of every stylish woman in the late ’90s and early 2000s? If you’re like many woman who appreciated the blend of quality, style, and practicality, you might be wondering: What happened to Perlina handbags?

A Stroll Down Memory Lane: The Perlina Handbags Story

A snapshot of the Perlina website from 2005. Image via web archive.

Perlina handbags was launched in 1989 by brothers Roger and Cesar Mizrahi, and eventually became known as the epitome of affordable luxury. Beloved for their quality leather, functional designs, and accessible price points, Perlina became a go-to purse brand for women who wanted a touch of sophistication without breaking the bank. The brand carved out a niche for itself in the competitive accessory market by offering durable, stylish handbags that catered to the needs of the everyday woman.

Perlina’s heyday was in an era when fashion was transitioning from the bold, experimental styles of the ’80s to the more minimalist, chic approach of the ’90s and early 2000s. Perlina handbags were simple and practical, and fit perfectly into this narrative, with designs that were timeless but with on-trend touches.

The bags were widely carried by retail stores like Nordstom and Marshalls, and later by large off-price sites like Overstock.com.

So What Happened to Perlina Handbags?

A Perlina tote. Image via Poshmark

So, what happened? Like many beloved handbag brands including Kooba and B. Makowsky (remember those?!), Perlina quietly faded from the spotlight in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

Perlina handbags was acquired by Lena Jones, a handbag executive who was once with Rosetti handbags, in 2010. Jones even admitted that the retail climate at the time was tough, telling the blog hairboutique.com in a statement: “Yes, this is a tough retail environment and consumers are looking for value and function. Perlina is a longtime brand in this area and consumers know it.”

While Jones had hopes of reviving the brand, which began to falter in the late 2000s, her ambitions never materialized.

The exact moment when Perlina handbags stopped being produced isn’t widely known, but it seems to have been a gradual phasing out rather than an abrupt halt. We do know that the Perlina website gradually got less active beginning around 2013, and ceased operations altogether in 2017.

Where Are They Now?

A note from the Perlina handbags website circa September 2011

If you’re on a quest to find a Perlina handbag today, you’re in luck! While new Perlina bags might not be rolling off the production lines, there’s a vibrant secondary market for these vintage gems. Here’s where you can start your treasure hunt:

  1. Online Marketplaces: Websites like eBay, Etsy, and Poshmark are goldmines for vintage fashion finds. A quick search might reveal a range of Perlina handbags, from well-loved pieces that tell a story to nearly new bags that have been tucked away in someone’s closet for years.
  2. Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops: Don’t underestimate the power of a good thrift store hunt. Many consignment shops and thrift stores have online presences now, so you can shop from the comfort of your home. Who knows? Your new favorite Perlina bag might just be a click away.
  3. Vintage and Antique Shops: Specialty vintage shops often curate a selection of high-quality items, including designer and brand-name handbags. These shops can be a bit pricier, but the curated selection means you might find a Perlina bag in excellent condition.

The Legacy Lives On

While Perlina handbags might not be the it-bag of the moment, their legacy of quality, style, and practicality lives on. For those of us who remember the brand fondly, hunting for a Perlina bag can feel like reconnecting with an old friend. And for the uninitiated? Discovering a Perlina handbag is a chance to own a piece of fashion history—a reminder of a time when handbags were made to last and designed to be as functional as they were beautiful.