The purse that Paris Hilton denied was hers, along with the 0.8 grams of cocaine in it, is strikingly similar to one she announced having bought a month ago.
On July 15, Hilton posted a photo of the purse on her Twitter account, stating, "Love my new Chanel purse I got today :)."
A blurry photo of Hilton late Aug. 27 after Las Vegas police stopped her boyfriend's vehicle on the Strip shows the socialite clutching what appears to be the same Chanel. The photo was posted on the TMZ.com gossip website.
Hilton, 29 and famous for being famous, was arrested on one felony count of cocaine possession after she opened the reputed Strass-embroidered classic Chanel flap bag to get some lip balm. A small plastic baggie of cocaine fell out, landing in the palm of police Lt. Dennis Flynn.
Hilton's defense: It was someone else's purse, though other things in it --$1,300 cash, credit cards, cigarette rolling papers and a prescription pill -- belonged to her. Hilton told Flynn she thought the cocaine was gum, according to her arrest report.
As either a fashion accessory or evidence in a criminal case, the purse would be easy to ID in a police lineup. It is made of black tweed and glass beading, with Swarovski crystals interwoven in the tweed. It has a Bijoux chain, designed by Coco Chanel herself in 1955, and a distinctive Chanel logo turnstyle locket, according to a Las Vegas Chanel salesman.
Available in two sizes, it's priced for those with hotel heiress-size trust funds. The mid-size model, at 10 inches long by 6.5 inches tall, sells for $3,650. For those on a budget, there's a mini version at just under 7 inches long and 5 inches tall, for $3,000.
While expensive, the bag isn't rare. It's considered a collector's piece, but only because it won't be available in upcoming seasons.
Authorities kept the coke, but returned the bag to Hilton after she was released from jail early Saturday morning.
Apparently no fashionista, Flynn had little to say about the now-famous Chanel bag in his arrest report.
To him, it was just "a purse."
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.