Handbags have always been a status symbol and indicator of good taste. In the past ten years the It-bag has become a phenomenon.
Here’s a look at ten of the most popular and original handbags in fashion history
The Hermès Birkin is one of the most widely recognized and widely coveted handbags of recent times. Its structured exterior and astronomical price point has cemented the bag’s place in fashion history. Learn more about the history of the Birkin Bag here.
Perhaps the most overplayed of the It-bags, the Spy went from starlet-fave to Canal Street regular in mere months. Its unique design and multiple colors and patterns made it the perfect fit for any number of people, from the logo-emblazoned signature version to the classic and sophisticated black leather version.
Chanel revolutionized the handbag by introducing the 2.55 in February of 1955 (hence the name 2.55), because she was tired of losing handheld bags at society events in Paris. She feminized the concept of straps from the bags carried by soldiers, and revolutionized the way Parisian women accessorized at the time. Learn more about the history of the Chanel 2.55 here.
Balenciaga City Motorcycle
What makes this bag special is not just the multiple pockets or decorative tassels, but the naturally distressed leather that makes it slouch in a unique fashion. It’s multiple sizes and seemingly infinite color range made this bag a celebrity favorite, and it has maintained its popularity for almost ten years.
Marc Jacobs Stam
The Stam, named after Canadian supermodel Jessica Stam, was originally released in 2005, but only rose to gross popularity in the following years. It became the bag that young girls were saving up to buy, and it still is one of the most recognizable bags designed by Jacobs for his namesake line.
Louis Vuitton Speedy
Marketed by Louis Vuitton as ‘always in fashion,’ the key to the Speedy’s success is in its constant reinvention. When Marc Jacobs took the helm of the brand he began to work with a number of popular artists including Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami, Sofia Coppola, and Kanye West, who have all brought a younger, more pop-culture savvy customer to the classic luggage brand.
This tote is by far the most popular in the YSL collection, and has recently been re-issued. The lock, simple lines, and clever Y shape in the stitching made it a must have for those more interested in quality and elegance than ostentatious bright logos.
It seems like 2005 was a big year for the handbag, as it was the year most of the top brands launched their classic Paddington bags. When it was first released, the online powerhouse Net-A-Porter sold 376 of the handbag in just 36 hours, and had 700 names on the waiting list within a week. The bag was so successful that this year they released a Mr. Paddington collection that has the classic locks and zippers in styles designed for men.
The Kelly shape was designed in the early 1930’s, but it wasn’t until 1956 when Grace Kelly used her favorite Hermès bag to shield her pregnant stomach from photographers that the bag became iconic. Her huge celebrity and influence meant that the photo was published in every major publication, and because of that the classic house renamed the shape the ‘Kelly’ bag.
Another classic shape that flies under the radar is the Nightingale. Its mixed skins and removable shoulder strap paired with its versatile shape and size makes it the perfect everyday bag.