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Most Iconic Designer Handbags of All Time

by Richard Zakroff on March 03, 2017

Some of the most iconic bags of all time have a backstory that would make your jaw drop! From the ones that almost didn’t make it into production, to ones that have since been discontinued, sometimes accidental successes are the best ones of all. Here’s what you should know about the most iconic bags of all time.


  1. LV Speedy Bag- The Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag was actually the first bag ever made by the brand! Designer Georges Vuitton set out to create a bag that could function for day-to-day use for the woman on the go. Introduced in 1930, the bag was an instant hit, showing up all over pop culture and on style icons such as Audrey Hepburn, for which a smaller size was created. Thus, one of the most recognizable bags in history was born. Since then, a variety of different colors, sizes, and leathers have shaped what the bag looks like today.


  1. Chanel 2.55- This instant classic was created in February of 1955, hence the name “2.55.” The bag seems to be largely inspired by Coco Chanel’s love for horseback riding. Its now signature quilted pattern and addition of chain straps are reminiscent of the equestrian apparel of her childhood—the quilted fabric seen on the stable boys and the chains mimicking the horses’ gear. Most famously is the zippered compartment on the inside front of the bag’s flap, said to have been dedicated to Chanel’s love letters. The bag remains today an icon of class and beauty.


  1. Dior Saddle Bag- Like the 2.55, the Dior Saddle Bag also lends a nod to the equestrian community. From the name of the bag itself, to its distinct shape, and even its history, the bag is an homage to the equestrian classicism that marked its time. Although the bag has been discontinued due to being at odds with the latest artistic direction of the brand, we all still have a soft spot for this unique and funky classic.


  1. Hermes Birkin Bag- This seemingly elusive and unobtainable designer handbag is a testament to the phrase “you always want what you can’t have.” But it wasn’t always this way! In fact, it wasn’t until the airing of an episode of Sex and the City where Samantha pulled some strings to bypass the 5-year waiting list for the bag, that the hype caught on. The bag’s reputation was further in the spotlight surrounding tension between the bag and its namesake, Jane Birkin, who wanted her name to be disassociated from the bag due to concerns of the ethics behind production of the bag. Today, the Birkin is a symbol of status, elitism, and success.


  1. Gucci Bamboo Purse- This bag’s signature bamboo accent actually happened by accident! Now a signature design, the bamboo was used as an alternative resource to limited textile due to war-time shortages. Imported from Japan, the bamboo was heated and molded into a semi-circular shape, then attached to the leather bag in an accidental fashion statement that soon became one of Gucci’s trademark designs.


  1. Gucci Jackie- Another bag with an iconic muse, the Jackie bag was named for the beautiful and fashion-forward Jackie Kennedy. Jackie had been photographed many times wearing the Gucci shoulder bag (originally the Constance bag), and the sighting sparked an instant and wide-spread obsession for a bag tied to a timeless beauty icon. The bag was soon given a new nickname—“The Jackie,” a name that has stuck with it even today.


  1. Fendi Baguette- Interestingly enough, the Fendi Baguette, named for its long, slender appearance reminiscent of the French bread, was said to have actually established Sex And The City as a fashion-oriented show! The compact bag was seen on Carrie Bradshaw on the show, which not only helped to gain the bag exposure in the public spotlight, but also helped to solidify Fendi’s place in pop culture. The bag itself has been called “foolish” and “anti-functional” by its creator, yet due to its social buzz, has earned its place as an “It Bag” of its time.


  1. Prada Backpack- This initial anomaly of Prada creation was a huge hit with the fashion-forward youth of its time. Its functional design and waterproof fabric make it a practical yet stylish addition to any girl-on-the-go’s wardrobe. Originally created by Miuccia Prada after she taking over her grandfather’s business in the 70s, this 1985 creation established the designer’s career in the industry, as she made a fashion breakthrough by using nylon to appeal to the growing urban landscape of its time.