The 10 Best Classic Designer Handbags to Own

Countless trends can come and go in the fashion industry, but some designer handbags will always maintain a desirable reputation over the decades. Their value is usually maintained by associations of influential celebrities, timeless designs, and cutting-edge reimaginings that match contemporary needs.

Many of the following classics are limited editions, refrain from advertising to maintain exclusivity and make a good investment. As coveted today as they once were, here are 10 handbags that will never go out of style. This is the first in a three-part series. Watch for the next two installments in the coming weeks.

The 10 Best Classic Designer Handbags You Should Own

(Hero and star images: Dior)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India

Chanel 2.55 is named after the month and year of its creation. The House of Chanel has always defined grandeur and allure at their finest with founder Coco Chanel, leaving her haute couture legacy as an endless benchmark for style. Named after the month and year of its creation (February 1955), Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag was launched by Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel herself, who started a handbag revolution that eventually empowered women to carry their glamorous storage units hands-free.

This timeless piece has been crafted in quilted leather, inspired by the quilted riding jackets of jockeys, featuring a distinctive padlock and its signature chain shoulder strap. The Classic Flap with the iconic CC logo, replacing the old rectangular lock, was first recreated by Karl Lagerfeld when he took over as creative director in 1983 and has since become another house staple .

In February 2005, Chanel reissued the classic 1995 version to commemorate the original’s 50th anniversary.

Image credit: Chanel

The bag was renamed in honor of American First Lady Jackie Kennedy in 1961. This designer handbag was first introduced in the 1950s as the Constance. In the 1960s, this distinctive curved half-moon hobo bag was very popular with first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and she also used it to protect herself from the paparazzi. As soon as images of her carrying this Gucci bag started circulating in the press, the popularity of the bag took on a whole new dimension.

It was officially renamed in his honor in 1961 and quickly became a staple of 1970s fashion, but disappeared from 1980s Gucci collections. The bag saw a revival under creative directors Tom Ford, in 1999 , and Frida Giannini, in 2009. For Fall/Winter 2020, Alessandro Michele revisited the design, making it available in different colors and sizes.

Recently, the world has seen celebrities, like Harry Styles and Kaia Gerber, wearing variations of the Jackie bag.

Image credit: Gucci

Many 90s models love the Prada nylon backpack.

This one was a staple in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Spotted on sporty fashionistas, the classic silhouette added an athleisure vibe, which wasn’t even a thing yet, to every ensemble.

Launched in 1984 by Miuccia Prada, this icon paved the way for Prada’s signature use of industrial-weight nylon, also used in army tents, in its accessories. While high-end handbags focused on elegance, this cult item was more of a casual, effortless look and was worn by many 90s models. Even today it is loved for its interior highly functional and work-friendly design. And, it’s Kourtney Kardashian approved. Need we say more?

Photo credit: Prada

The Fendi Baguette was launched in 1997. This corresponds to an aesthetic of brunch proximity. If there was one bag that Carrie Bradshaw was more loyal to, it was the cute Fendi Baguette. In an episode of the show sex and the cityas Bradshaw gets robbed, she indignantly informs the mugger that her purple Fendi sequin isn’t just a bag, “It’s a Baguette.”

A compact and sleek bag, easily recognizable by its signature design, curved straps and brand logo, launched in 1997. Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, this bag got its unconventional name by being the perfect size to fit perfectly under the arm, just like the long, thin baguette of French bread. This minimal bag cemented Fendi’s reputation from another lavish designer to a commercial genius, launching over 1,000 versions of the bag.

Image credit: Fendi

The Speedy’s signature model is now available in a variety of sizes and colors. Since its inception in the 1930s, Louis Vuitton’s monogram print bag has redefined everyday style with great elegance and comfort. Once touted by fashion icon Aubrey Hepburn, the Speedy 25 quickly gained iconic status. First launched with a similar shape but a larger Keepall in sizes 30cm, 35cm and 40cm, respectively, LV quickly introduced a compact version to suit Hepburn’s preferences and growing consumer demand.

Aptly named for its wearable and stylish nature, its popularity has never waned since the 1950s. Although the classic Speedy still seems irreplaceable today, the signature model is available in a wide variety of sizes. , materials and colors.

Photo credit: Louis Vuitton

It is said that Hermès Birkin is a better investment than stocks or gold. Birkin’s defining moment in pop culture came with an appearance in sex and the city (2001). Since then, the bags have dominated fashion magazines and adorned the arms of Victoria Beckham, Lindsey Lohan and Melania Trump.

This status symbol was inspired and created for British-French model, singer and actress Jane Birkin in the 1980s. It all started in 1981 when she was lucky enough to share a flight with the CEO of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas. Noticing his struggle and frustration at not being able to fit all his things in one bag, he set out to design the perfect tote bag. Three years later, Birkin, the bag, arrived.

Since its launch in 1984, prices have increased by an average of 14.2% per year. This bag is said to be a better investment than stocks or gold. Its production is also tightly controlled to add an unobtainable element to an already limited edition. With a collection available in different leathers, sizes and colours, the fashion elite is a must-have with its top flap on buckled loops. Each room also comes with its specific digital code locks and keys.

Buy here: Hermes

Before being renamed Lady Dior, the bag was originally known as “Chouchou”, which means favorite in French. An instant favorite of one of the most photographed women in the world, this one takes the top spot among the most recognized Dior bag designs. Gifted to Princess Diana in 1955 by the First Lady of France Bernadette Chirac, a signature ‘Cannage’ motif stitched into a diamond pattern forms the identity of this timeless product. It is said to have been inspired by the canework of Napoleon III’s chairs on which guests sat at Dior’s haute couture shows.

This classic in plush quilted leather with complementary metal alphabet charms in a rich gold tone became an instant hit. Originally presented as ‘Chouchou’, which means favorite in French, it was renamed Lady Dior in honor of the Princess of Wales and remains one of the brand’s most coveted pieces. Many reinterpretations have been introduced in an array of sizes, colors and materials, and one has even evolved into an art project.

Image credit: Dior

Many famous women like Kate Middleton, Alexa Chung and Miley Cyrus have been seen wearing Le Pliage. Le Pliage in French means “to fold”, which is in tune with the trapezoidal envelope-like shape of the bag. Inspired by the Japanese art of origami, this light and resistant tote was designed by the son of the founder of Longchamp, Philippe Cassegrain. It is available in a range of reimagined prints and colors in over 150 varieties.

The original 1993 foldable design featured Russian leather handles, a nylon canvas body and an embroidered signature logo of a jockey on a horse, which depicted the much revered Bois de Boulogne racecourse in Paris.

Offering customization options, the brand has sold over 32 million pieces in over 1,000 stores to date. Although many famous women like Kate Middleton, Miley Cyrus and Alexa Chung have been seen wearing Le Pliage, the tote is intended for unisex consumption.

Image credit: Longchamp

The motorcycle was the favorite of many it girls of the 2000s. Launched in 2001, this collectible quickly became a hit, as it attracted many it girls of the decade. The motorcycle jacket-inspired style with its zipped details and studs originated in the hands of then-creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, and initially executives didn’t think it would work. Their opinion changed when model Kate Moss asked Ghesquière for one after a fashion show.

A unique feature of this model, like no other Balenciaga number, is the absence of a brand logo and yet it is instantly recognizable. The brand’s other co-products have the logo in bold front and center.

Image credit: Balenciaga

Durable, versatile and impeccable, Celine bags are a wardrobe staple. The aftermath of the Phoebe Philo era saw the rise of the Medium Classic Bag. The calfskin of this box bag has a nice hold and effortlessly symbolizes luxury.

Thanks to its practical details, such as the zipped compartments and the removable shoulder strap, this bag quickly became the favorite accessory of the urban woman. Its brass jewel clasp is a mark of Céline’s artisanal prowess.

Image credit: Celine

Frequently Asked Questions

Are designer handbags worth investing in?

If you know how to select a designer bag according to your needs, it can last you almost a lifetime and who knows, it might even serve as a treasured heirloom for your future generations. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on designer bags, buying at the right time can help you get discounts and save extra expenses.

How to choose handbags according to outfits and occasions?

The choice of your handbag depends on the type of event or outing. For example, you can’t wear a tube clutch to the beach or a duffel bag to a cocktail party. While a shoulder bag will complement a sporty outfit, an embellished handbag can go well with a sheath dress or dress. You should also consider the color combination of your outfit and your bag. However, how you look ultimately depends on how well you are able to stand.

How to take advantage of the best offers on luxury/designer handbags?

Designer bags are generally not on sale. However, their prices vary from region to region. Europe is considered the cheapest place to buy designer handbags. Germany, France and the UK, in particular, are places where you can expect to bargain for designer accessories and get a reasonable purchase price.

Which brands make vintage style designer bags?

Major brands that produce handbags in such designs are Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci.


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