Show me the money? In modern China it's more like “show YOU the money”, and what better way to tell the world you're rich and successful than with the Louis Vuitton Belt Buckle Cell Phone?
Of course, the REAL rich – the old money “one percenters” the rest of us love to hate – don't really care to advertise their wealth so garishly... why should they bother trying to impress the likes of you?
It's the nouveau riche, rappers, and wannabe nouveau riche rappers that get taken in by these gaudy, ostentatious displays of wealth and that's the market the designers of the Louis Vuitton Belt Buckle Cell Phone are targeting here.
On the face of it, the phone and its accessories are above the dollar-store level at least. Packaged inside an oversized box are a brown leather (or leather-like) belt embossed with the classic Louis Vuitton “LV” logo and a gold (gold-toned, that is) belt buckle designed to hold the cell phone in place. You wouldn't want to have your pants fall down every time you took a call, would you? Or maybe you would, depending on who's calling.
Also included are the phone's battery, a Bluetooth earpiece (thankfully NOT decorated in LV livery), a gleaming metal LV logo for the belt and of course, the phone itself. You can watch an unboxing video (in Chinese) here.
It's obvious most of the design and engineering efforts went into the phone's appearance and not its technical attributes: there's no touch screen, for example, and the number buttons seem to be oversized rhinestones... how d'ya like that, cowboy? The screen itself features an annoying LV-patterned background that hopefully can be deleted, as it makes it difficult to discern the icons.
One thoughtful touch (perhaps the ONLY one) is that a small LCD screen on the phone's side displays the time and date to the owner when the phone is installed on his belt. The original seller on Taobao.com had priced the Louis Vuitton Belt Buckle Cell Phone at just under 700 yuan or around $100... not a high price to pay for looking like someone who can afford a MUCH classier mobile phone. (via M.I.C Gadget, all images via M.I.C Gadget's photostream at Flickr)