9:54 AM EDT, August 12, 2013
It's the $38,000 handbag at the center of the Oprah controversy, and it's putting the spotlight on the five-figure handbags carried by the world's wealthiest women.
INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent spoke with handbag designer Lana Marks at her swanky boutique on New York City's Madison Avenue. Her Princess Diana bag, named after her friend the late princess, costs $25,000.
Marks said, "Somebody like Oprah Winfrey is going to go for something with immense high-quality."
Describing on her own handbags, Marks said, "All stitched by hand in North Italy and tanned at the finest tannery in Paris, France."
Trent asked, "Let me get this straight. This small bag is $25,000?"
"Sir, it certainly is," said Marks.
Brand names also drive up the price. The most famous handbag in the world is the $37,000 Hermes Birkin bag. Some women are so excited to receive one after months, or years on the waitlist, that they post the moment on YouTube.
The black crocodile bag that caught Winfrey's eye is designed by Tom Ford and is called "The Jennifer," named for none other than Jennifer Aniston.
Winfrey was shopping at a posh boutique in Zurich, Switzerland, for a purse to match the outfit she was wearing to Tina Turner's wedding in July.
Winfrey says that when she asked to see the bag, the clerk, responded, "No, no, no. You don't want to see that one. You want to see this one because that one will cost too much. You will not be able to afford that."
"I could have had the big blow-up thing and thrown down the [American Express] black card but why do that?" Winfrey said.
Swiss officals are in full damage control mode, tweeting: "We are fuming. This person acted terribly wrong. We are so sorry this happed to @oprah!"
But the boutique owner denies the claims and says it was all a big misunderstanding caused by the Italian clerk's poor English.
Trent asked Marks, "What are your thoughts when you hear something about someone like Oprah Winfrey going into a store in Switzerland and someone saying 'This purse is too expensive.' "
Marks replied, "It deeply distressed me because, it's not just because it's Oprah Winfrey. I'm sure Ms. Winfrey would agree, not just for her but for any customer, anybody walking into a store should be afforded the utmost cordiality and the utmost civility."
Meanwhile, even Winfrey, who reportedly made $77 million last year, thinks $38,000 is a lot for a handbag. She just tweeted: "Turns out that store clerk did me a favor. Just found out that bag was $38K!!! She was right I was NOT going to buy it."