If you’re looking for the classics and the grails in luxury handbags, these 10 iconic designs should be at the top of your list of bags to check out.
Fashion has been around for centuries. Likewise, many clothing pieces, bags, and accessories have become timeless classics through time. From sneakers to little black dresses and even fragrances, everything in fashion has something that can be considered iconic—or in today’s lingo—the OGs.
Handbags are no different. Throughout the years, luxury brands have produced one or even more iconic handbags each. They’ve even become coveted pieces that every fashionista wants to have in their closet, while standing the test of time, too.
There are many iconic handbags that have been created, but we list down the 10 must-haves for those who want to start their collection of classic designer bags.
10. 2.55 Bag (Chanel)
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel remains as one of the most iconic people in the world of fashion and it’s no surprise that her creations have reached the same status—one of which includes the 2.55 handbag.
The name of the handbag came from the date it was created, which was in February 1955. It’s even said that the bag’s concept actually came to be in the 1920s when Coco Chanel got tired of carrying bags in her arms. The 2.55 bag features a rectangular shape, a quilted design, which is a nod to Chanel’s love for equestrian, a metal chain, and the signature “Mademoiselle” turnlock.
Honorary mentions for Chanel: The Classic Flap Bag and The Shopping Tote
9. Baguette Bag (Fendi)
Next on our list, we have Italian luxury brand Fendi and one of its timeless handbags: the Baguette Bag. Often regarded as the first-ever “it” bag, the Baguette was created by Venturini Fendi and features a single strap along with a flap closure.
The Baguette—which actually comes in three different sizes—attained iconic superstar status, thanks to a Sex and the City episode where a thief went after Carrie Bradsaw’s shimmering purple Baguette. What’s more, this iconic designer handbag has been loved by many for years due to its different variations.
Honorary mentions for Fendi: Peakaboo Bag and Croissant Bag
8. Birkin (Hermès)
When you hear the name Hermès, we won’t be surprised if the first thing that pops into your mind is its popular Birkin bag.
Introduced in 1984, this iconic handbag is named after English actress and singer Jane Birkin. As the story goes, the actress was seated next to Jean-Louis Dumas, the Executive Chairman of Hermès, on a flight from Paris to London, where she was complaining about the lack of bag options for young mothers like her. Inspired, Jean-Louis Dumas sketched a bag that ultimately became the Birkin.
The Hermès Birkin has a rectangular shape and features a burnished flap and saddle stitching.
Honorary mentions for Hermès: The Kelly and The Constance
7. Cassette Bag (Bottega Veneta)
Italian luxury fashion house Bottega Veneta has a couple of bags that can be considered iconic. But many will argue that the Cassette Bag is the most iconic one of them all, despite the fact that it isn’t as old as the other bags on this list.
The Cassette was actually introduced in the fashion house’s 2019 Fall and Winter collection. Likewise, this handbag features Bottega Veneta’s signature Intrecciato weave design.
Honorary mentions for Bottega Veneta: The Pouch and The Jodie
6. City Bag (Balenciaga)
Founded in Spain but currently based in France, Balenciaga is known for many things, including its City Bag. Otherwise known as the Motorcycle City Big, it was first introduced in 2001 and rocks a rather edgy style compared to many luxury handbags.
If you’re a fan of having studs, zippers, and even tassels as part of your bag’s design, the City Bag is something you should consider buying. The bag doesn’t really have a structure so if that might not be your thing, Balenciaga has also produced a structured version of it called the Neo Classic.
Honorary mentions for Balenciaga: The Biker, Hourglass Bag
5. Cleo Bag (Prada)
If you’re looking for an iconic designer handbag that has a more curved design instead of a rectangular one, Prada’s Cleo Bag definitely fits the bill. While the Cleo may be the luxury brand’s iconic hobo design from the 90s, its more modern version was actually just released this year.
Sleek in style and design, the Cleo Bag features brushed leather, curved lines, and a rounded bottom and sides.
Honorary mentions for Prada: The Galleria and Re-edition Nylon Mini Bag
4. Dionysus Bag (Gucci)
If you still recall your Greek mythology lessons in school, then you’ll know that this iconic designer handbag from Gucci is named after the god of harvest and wine. What’s more, it was created by Alessandro Michele, the Italian luxury fashion house’s creative director
The Dionysus features a structured style and a signature metal clasp that has two tiger heads. The tiger heads are another ode to Dionysus, the Greek god, who is said to be flanked by two big cats when riding his chariot.
Honorary mentions for Gucci: Bamboo Bag and The Jackie
3. Lady Dior Bag (Dior)
The Lady Dior Bag is often associated with Diana, Princess of Wales, who was given the first-ever Lady Dior handbag by the then-French First Lady Bernadette Chirac. In fact, this iconic designer handbag wasn’t even known as the Lady Dior back the! Gianfranco Ferré, Dior’s creative director at that time, actually called it the Chouchou bag, where “chouchou” stands for favorite.
These days, the Lady Dior comes in different sizes, accessories, materials, and colors. But if you want to channel your inner Diana, Princess of Wales, go for the timeless black Lady Dior.
Honorary mentions for Dior: Diorever Bag and Dioraddict Bag
2. Puzzle Bag (Loewe)
Many handbags these days have become even more versatile, as they can be used in different ways. An example of this is Loewe’s Puzzle Bag, which doubles as a shoulder bag, a tote, a clutch, or even a backpack.
Designed by Jonathan Anderson, the Puzzle Bag made its debut in 2015 and is available in different sizes, including a nano size. It also comes in a variety of colors, making it easy to match with any outfit.
Honorary mentions for Loewe: Gate Bag and Basket Bag
1. Speedy Bag (Louis Vuitton)
No list of iconic designer handbags will ever be complete without the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton. Rounding up our list is the fashion house’s Speedy, which is actually Louis Vuitton’s very first handbag. And this already makes it worthy of its iconic status on its own.
It was designed as the smaller version of the brand’s Keepall Bag. This classic luxury handbag has been often associated with actress Audrey Hepburn, who requested to have a smaller version created for everyday use. It was because of that request that the Speedy 25, a version that is 25 cm wide, was created.
Honorary mentions for Louis Vuitton: The Alma and The Neverfull
And there you have it! These 10 iconic designer handbags are wonderful options for anyone who is looking to own the best of the best luxury bags. Why not treat yourself or a loved one to one of them now that Christmas is approaching?