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Thanks to Instagram, Chanel Will Produce That Infamous Hula Hoop Bag

On October 2, fashion folks' Instagram and Twitter feeds were flooded with prettily-filtered snapshots of Karl Lagerfeld's oversized hula hoop handbag. At once gimmicky yet undeniably on-brand (down to that interlocking double-C logo), the bag was one of Spring 2013's major talking points—though many automatically assumed it was just a runway prop that'd be shelved post-show, save perhaps for an editorial shoot or two.

But according to WWD, all the social media buzz that surrounded that larger-than-life accessory meant that buyers actually placed orders for the piece. French department store Printemps bought it both in the original runway size and a smaller 28-centimeter version. Plus, the retailer's chief merchandiser of accessories Elisabeth Miquel also scooped up another of the Paris shows' most Instagrammed items—Céline's fur-trimmed flat sandals. Holt Renfrew, Barneys New York and Kirna Zabête also ordered the "furkenstocks" in various colors, thanks in large part to customers' immediate online reactions.

"Runway is so much about the ‘right now,’ wanting [that item] immediately and the fact that everyone sees things online at the same time, we have to listen to that voice," said Holt Renfrew's vice president of fashion direction, Barbara Atkin. "It actually positions a store in a really important way because if we can see critical mass through Instagram, then we know the direction our customer wants to go in."

Meanwhile, Fivestory's Claire Distenfeld decided to order Giambattista Valli's subtler Birkenstock-like footwear after her Instagram followers went crazy over photos of the shoes—in fact, she presold six pairs of them via the social platform, at $850 a pop. "I put them up and it was nuts," she told WWD. "My sales staff called me in Paris and said, ‘What are these Birkenstocks customers are calling about?’ It’s obvious to me that people are going to wear them. I always sell a ridiculous amount of product on Instagram and it doesn’t stop at jewelry or $850 shoes. It can be Balmain or big things that you don’t put your credit card on the computer to buy but you call the store and order over the phone.”

So tell us: do you "Like" with the intention of buying? Or does it take more than just a well-placed Valencia filter to sell you on a thousand-dollar pair of shoes or over-the-top bag?

Photos via WWD.

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