Iconic designer handbags have captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts for decades, becoming symbols of status, elegance, luxury, and timeless style. In this captivating article, we explore the history and stories behind four iconic handbags.
From the legendary Hermès Birkin to the revolutionary Chanel 2.55, we delve into the stories that have shaped these handbags into cultural icons, showcasing their enduring allure.
Number one needs no introduction
A serendipitous encounter between leading actress Jane Birkin and Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas led to the iconic bag that bears the late legends name.
On a plane journey the story goes, that Jane Birkin accidentally dropped the contents of the bag she was using on Dumas, who worked for Hermès at the time, he then remarked that she could benefit from a handbag with pockets and thus the iconic Birkin bag was designed mid-flight!
As a saddlery brand, Hermès use the finest materials and craftsmanship for longevity. It is reported that a Hermès Birkin, takes 48 hours of work from one single artisan to create.
The Hermès Birkin has become one of the most sought-after and coveted bags in the entire world with waiting lists and specific processes in place to even be considered for one, certainly something to aspire to.
Number 2 – Has be a Chanel
Who hasn’t heard of Coco Chanel? From very humble beginnings being abandoned by her father after her mother died of TB. Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel - Coco spent her youth in an orphanage. Having overcome many obstacles in her early life, Coco went on to design the double C logo, countless iconic styles, such as the little black dress, the tweed blazer and of course the Chanel quilting design used on her world famous bags.
The idea with the iconic Chanel 2.55 handbag was to fulfil the desire for a bag that would free women's hands.
There are so many distinctive design elements of the Chanel 2.55, from the quilted pattern to the iconic double-C logo and the signature chain strap. These features have made it an everlasting symbol of timeless elegance and sophistication.
When Karl Lagerfeld joined the house of Chanel in 1983, he became their creative director, staying in this position until his death in 2019.
It is Karl who is responsible for the Chanel double flap design. In fact, Lagerfeld made several updates and modifications to the classic Chanel designs, including the introduction of the double flap feature.
The double flap design, with its two layers of leather flaps is iconic. These extra flaps provide extra security and organisation. This design became a notable hallmark of many Chanel flap bags during Lagerfeld's tenure. This design enhancement not only added functionality to the bags but also became a distinctive feature that set them apart from earlier versions.
So while the original 2.55 Chanel bag design created by Coco Chanel in February 1955 had a single flap, the double flap is widely associated with the brand's legacy.
Whatever the version, there isn’t a woman on earth that wouldn’t say yes to a Black Chanel bag.
Number 3 - The Classic Louis Vuitton Speedy
Today Louis Vuitton is known the world over for its monogram logo, however, this brand was born back in France in 1854. Originally, Vuitton was a trunk maker for Napoleon III’s wife Empress Eugénie de Montijo, he then went on to open his first stand-alone store aged 33 years.
The travel heritage has endured and the Speedy is synonymous with the jet-setting lifestyle it embodies the spirit of adventure.
The durability of the iconic monogram canvas, structured shape, and signature leather trim ensure this timeless classic continues to stand the test of time.
Number 4 – Her name is Jackie: An Icon of Retro Glamour
The Gucci house has Jackie Kennedy's influence and inspiration to thank for the coveted Gucci Jackie, this timeless style was named after the elegant former First Lady Jackie Kennedy.
A ‘Gucci Jackie’, is very recognisable from the signature curved shape, the piston closure, and the horse-bit details, it is a retro classic that the most discerning handbag lover will always seek after.
The Gucci Jackie has remained relevant throughout the years, evolving with contemporary styles while staying true to its vintage charm, a real beauty to have in your collection.
The stories and legacy behind these iconic designer handbags are as enchanting as the bags themselves. By unravelling the history and stories surrounding these fashion legends, we gain a deeper appreciation for their enduring allure. Whether it's the Hermès Birkin, Chanel 2.55, Louis Vuitton Speedy, or Gucci Jackie, these handbags have left an indelible mark on the fashion world, becoming symbols of elegance, status, craftsmanship, and timeless style.
[Disclaimer: The stories and history mentioned in this article are based on common knowledge and popular narratives surrounding iconic designer handbags. Actual historical accounts may vary.]
Image credits @the_fashion_stessie, @bagpillow2023, @ciarajorgensenoffiicial