Welcome to our list of 10 Iconic Bags and the Women Behind Them!
There are famous handbags, and then there are those iconic bags that are a part of the history of fashion itself. More than any other industry, the fashion industry was built by women. Whether as the inspiration for an item or heading a brand herself, women made history in the fashion world. And when it comes to handbags some of the most amazing bags in the world can be credited to women.
Here I’ll show you iconic bags that were either designed, inspired or made famous by amazing women. Not only this are beautiful bags but they also have a great history behind them, and that makes them much more special. If you love bags and fashion history then you will love this video.
So, without further ado here are 10 Iconic Bags and the Women Behind Them:
1. Chanel 2.55
In 1955, Coco Chanel created the famous 2.55 handbag, the first shoulder bag ever designed. A quilted handbag with a gold chain that allowed woman’s hands to be free, by carrying the bag on your shoulder. The name 2.55 comes from the date of its creation, February of 1955. Its thoughtful design was truly for the modern woman on the go: the space in between the two internal pockets is designed to hold a single lipstick, and the back outside pocket is designed to securely hold money without opening the bag. History tells us that when she was designing this bag Coco Chanel was having an illicit affair with a married man, so she designed the zippered inner pocket so she could hide love leather in there.
This bag is to this date one of the most classic, iconic handbags ever. Is that kind of bag that will never go out of style.
2. Hermès Birkin
The story of the invention of the Birkin bag — the result of the chance meeting in 1983 between actress Jane Birkin and Jean-Louis Dumas, then creative director of Hermès — has become legendary among Hermès lovers. The two were seated next to each other on an international flight. When Dumas asked why she travelled with a simple straw tote, Birkin explained that most leather bags were too structured for her taste. Birkin ‘wanted something much more boho’, according to Caitlin Donovan, Handbags specialist at Christie’s in New York. ‘The two actually came up with the design for the bag on that flight, on the back of an airsickness bag.’ And so, the Birkin was created.
This is for sure one of the most iconic bags in the world, and it was co-designed and inspired by Jane Birkin!
3. Lady Dior
In 1995, Bernadette Chirac former first lady of France contacted Christian Dior, explaining that she wished to gift the Princess of Wales a unique handbag upon her visit to Paris. The Maison created a beautiful structured black bag, unofficially named the Chouchou. It was presented to Lady Diana at the Cézanne exhibition at the Grand Palais. Shortly after, the Princess was photographed several times with the bag on her arm. Described as “iconic” and “legendary”, Dior launched the bag in a larger series and changed the name to the “Lady Dior” in 1996 with Princess Diana’s blessing. Over the decades, the Lady Dior bag has been established as an enduring icon of the House. It’s most notably distinguished by its structured shape, geometric Cannage topstitching and ‘D.I.O.R.’ charm.
The Lady Dior is perfect for every occasion, it goes from day to evening seamlessly!
4. Prada Nylon Backpack
Designed by Miuccia Prada, the Prada Nylon Backpack is a part of the Prada history. In 1984, Prada forayed into a more modern aesthetic and released a bag made of pocono nylon – a material used for military tents. It was durable, water-proof and beautiful – and it was a massive hit. Prada became known for a cool, refined elegance – in direct contrast to the glitter-laden, sex-heavy 80’s. The backpack was the first of the Prada Nylon bags. In fact, this bag was such a hit that because of it Miuccia Prada was named one of the 30 most powerful women in Europe according to Wall Street Journal in the 1980s.
The Prada nylon backpack will never go out of style, it has been in the market for almost 40 years. If that isn’t a timeless style than I don’t know what is.
5. Gucci Jackie
Launched in 1961, the Jackie bag was originally called the Fifties Constance. But in the 1970s when former first lady Jackie Kennedy was photographed shielding herself from the paparazzi with one of these bags, it became synonymous with her chic sense of style and with her name. The Jackie bag has been relaunched several times since then. The reintroduction of the Jackie bag for Fall Winter 2020 presented a new take on a historical Gucci icon. Brought back to the forefront, the recognizable shape is presented in many materials like leather and the GG Supreme canvas. The bag now also comes with an additional, detachable shoulder strap.
This is a beautiful bag that would be a cherished item in every wardrobe.
6. Hermès Kelly
In 1935 Hermes launched one of their most recognizable original goods, the Sac a depeches bag, which would later go on to become known as the Kelly bag. In 1956 the American actress and princess of Monaco Grace Kelly used a Hermes Sac a Depeches to cover her pregnant belly. As soon as the photo of that is published on the cover of Life Magazine, woman from all over the world start running to Hermes asking for the Kelly Bag. After that, Hermes renames the Sac a Depaches as the Kelly and history was made.
So we can credit at least part of the success of this bag to Grace Kelly.
7. Fendi Baguette
Launched in a time where minimalism was all people wanted in fashion the Fendi Baguette was everything but minimalistic. It was a time without social media, and yet, it was 1997 when Fendi launched the first real it-bag in history: the Baguette. Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, she christened the bag the Baguette because this shoulder bag was made to sit comfortably under the arm in the very same way that the French are usually seen carrying their baguettes. Since its introduction, the Baguette instantly became one of the most sought-after bags in the fashion world, and more than 100,000 of these babies were sold in the first year alone.
The show Sex and The City is a big part of why this bag became so famous! On the episode when Carrie Bradshaw is mugged in an alley, her assailant demands for her to hand over her purple sequin baguette. When he asks for the bag she says: but it’s a baguette! It was this moment in TV history that the Baguette became “It”, because it really wasn’t until the Baguette’s appearance on this show, that those outside of fashion circles, became acquainted with the bag, thus solidifying its status as a cult bag. It proved that the Baguette was so much more than a bag.
Over time it has evolved into different sizes, materials and colors, each new season there is a new Fendi Baguette for us to fall in love with!
8. Gucci Diana
Princess Diana’s favorite bamboo handle tote was reimagined and relaunched by Alessandro Michele some 20 years after the original caught the royal’s eye. Synonymous with Lady Di’s style in the early ’90s, when the paparazzi fawned over her leaving the gym wearing collegiate sweaters and cycling shorts, the capacious holdall came to evoke her personal freedom. As she distanced herself from the royal family, Diana became bolder with her fashion choices. Reflective of its era, a bamboo handle tote was first presented by the House in 1991.
Speaking to the narrative of evolution and reinvention that runs through Gucci’s designs, the bag is reimagined by Alessandro Michele in three different sizes with removable, neon leather belts —a nod to the functional bands that once came with the original bag to maintain the shape of the handles. The Gucci Diana represents the cycle of reinvention and being free to be who you are – something the original poster girl for this bag would no doubt support.
With this bag Diana showed the world that she was her own person outside of the royal family, that’s quite a statement bag, right?
9. Louis Vuitton Mini Speedy
You might not know this but the mini Speedy was designed especially for Audrey Hepburn. The Speedy was originally launched in 1932 as a travel bag. It was a phone call from Audrey Hepburn that gave this bag the iconic form and size we know today. Audrey requested Louis Vuitton to custom-make a mini-Speedy for her, so it would be more befitting for everyday use.
Who knew that a simple phone call could give us this amazing bag that is to this date a classic.
10. Hermès Constance
Said to have left the factory on the same day that Hermès designer Catherine Chaillet’s fifth child was born, the Constance bag entered the market in 1959, and was named after the designer’s newborn daughter. Although designed more than 50 years ago, the Constance’s elegant shape and functional design make it a favorite among collectors. It is said that a Constance can be harder to find than the more well-known Birkin and Kelly. The most common Constance would be the ones in neutral colors, but the most valuable ones would be the more colorful and rare ones.
This bag was not only designed by a woman but it was also named after her daughter, how amazing is that?