Practically perfect in every way, these iconic handbags and modern classics continue a long tradition of essential style.
Throughout history, handbags have been both deeply personal items holding our most intimate possessions as well as one of the most on-show accessories we own. More than just iconic, the cult classic handbags we have come to know and love aren’t just a bit of arm candy, but an insight into the way some of our favourite style stars live.
Grace Kelly’s famed Hermès bag, for example, was given her name after the newly wedded actor and royal used the large sac à dépêches to hide her baby bump from the press. The iconic moment took place in the 1950s, when bag trends favoured the more boxy styles, to balance out Dior’s extravagant New Look dresses of nipped-in waists and a full swathe of a skirt.
In the 1960s, when handbags were seen as stuffy for those swept up in the youthquake, Louis Vuitton created a smaller, more practical version of the Speedy at the request of loyal fan Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy gave her name to the iconic Gucci Jackie bag – the first hobo bag, a soft style hanging from the shoulder in a curved shape.
The term It-bag was introduced into our lexicon in the 1990s, spurred on by both fashion royalty and real royalty. Princess Diana didn’t leave the castle without her boxy, cross-stitched Lady Dior bag, a gift from the French First Lady, and Fendi’s long and skinny Baguette bag, cheekily modelled on the French bread stick, was under every celebrity’s arm after it was added to the Sex and the City wardrobe, followed later by the Dior Saddle bag, which is now having a revival thanks to online It-girls.
Today, a number of social-media It-bags are coming into the fold thanks to their growing following on Instagram – the Mansur Gavriel and Danse Lente leather bucket bags, Cult Gaia’s structured straw bags and Gucci’s logo classics are currently trending.
View Fashion Quarterly’s gallery of iconic handbag styles below, all available to invest in now: