In case you missed the news, the price of the Chanel flap bag went up not once, but three times last year. This increase is an average of 71% since before the pandemic, so the Chanel flap bag will set you back close to $10k! Yes, that’s equivalent to buying a car, several months of rent/mortgage, a luxury vacation – the list goes on! This is why I decided to pull together a list of the 10 iconic vintage bags you should invest in.
I’ve been preaching the importance of buying vintage or secondhand luxury for decades. Not only does it save you money, but you also invest in a unique style bag when you shop vintage. It really doesn’t make sense to buy retail when you can save upwards of 50% buying secondhand. People (and retailers) are finally catching on. According to a Luxe Digital case study, the luxury secondhand market is growing four times faster than the primary luxury market, at 12%per year versus 3%. Luxury resale already represents a $24 billion market today!
While the price of vintage and secondhand luxury is increasing, it’s not as expensive nor is inflation hitting it as hard as retail. While you may laugh at the thought of buying a handbag as an investment (if you’re laughing why are you reading my blog LOL), you will be able to sell the bag in a few years and make money on it. The demand for luxury and vintage is only going to increase so if you buy a bag today for $500, chances are you will be able to sell it for double in a few years – even after using it and enjoying it. I have a vintage Celine satchel bag I bought for $350 about 6 years ago. The same bag sells on eBay, The Real Real and other sites for $1800! My dilemma is do I sell or keep it since I have 2 girls who will hopefully love and appreciate my vintage handbag collection?
As we know, fashion is cyclical and trends always come back – we’re in the midst of the Y2k onslaught – so I always encourage the idea of investing in classic pieces that are sure to be “it-bags” for decades to come.
These are the 10 it-bags to invest in right now:
Fendi Zucca Baguette Bag
Karl Lagerfeld famously designed Fendi’s signature double-F “Zucca” logo in just three seconds and the brand has since become one of the most formidable and in-demand European luxury brands in the world. Fendi’s most famous bag, the Baguette, is nothing short of a cultural icon. Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi in 1997, the bag is named for the delightful carb counterpart and the way the French traditionally carry baguettes effortlessly under the arm. One of my favorite scenes from Sex and the City is when Carrie gets mugged and cries out: “It’s not a bag. It’s a Baguette!”
Chanel Flap Bag (in Mini or Jumbo)
Karl Lagerfeld was directly inspired by Coco Chanel’s iconic creations and helped revolutionize fashion for women at the helm of the brand. Lagerfeld’s bags from the 80s and 90s are the most popular of all vintage Chanel bags and continue to be collector pieces. Inspired by Coco’s 2.55 Flap Bag, designed in 1955, Karl’s designed the Classic Flap, debuted in 1983. With the iconic reinterpretation came two new features – a leather woven chain and Double C turn-lock closure. Since then, the brand introduced a variety of leather, quilt, and hardware options. If you want more detailed information on buying vintage Chanel, read this.
Gucci Jackie Bag
Reported to be the first-ever hobo bag, the Jackie bag silhouette features a large, slouchy tote with a top handle and piston lock. It was originally named the Fifties Constance, but it was Jackie O. that thrust it into the spotlight. In 1961, after Jackie O. was pictured using the bag to shield herself from the paparazzi’s flashes, demand for it soared. It was later renamed the Gucci Jackie in her honor and has continued to remain a classic.
Dior Lady Bag
In 1989, Gianfranco Ferré began his appointment as creative director for the house of Dior and one of his most lasting contributions to the brand is unquestionably the Lady Dior bag. In 1995, Bernadette Chirac, the wife of French president Jacques Chirac, contacted Dior with a request: She wanted the fashion house to craft a custom bag that would be gifted to Princess Diana on her visit to Paris. The design was inspired by the upholstery on the Napoleon III chairs Monsieur Dior used at his first shows that wrapped an elegantly rectangular box. Like the posture required of a Princess, the bag didn’t and couldn’t slouch.
Hermes Birkin Bag
Named after the English actress and singer Jane Birkin, Birkins are popular with handbag collectors and were once considered as the rarest handbag in the world. The idea of the Birkin bag was born in 1983 on an AirFrance flight from Paris to London. Birkin had been upgraded to first class, and as she stuffed her then-trademark wicker basket bag into the overhead compartment, the contents spilled out onto the seat and aisle below. As if by fate, Birkin was sitting next to the executive chairman of Hermès at the time, Jean-Louis Dumas. Birkin began to rant to Dumas about how nicer bags were never big enough to carry all of her belongings, and Dumas, realizing Birkin couldn’t be the only woman to encounter this problem, was inspired to create something unique, fashionable and practical. And this is how one of the most expensive handbags was born!
Louis Vuitton Speedy
The Louis Vuitton Speedy bag is one of the house’s most iconic styles. Designed in 1930, in response to the decade’s boost in travel, the compact Speedy was designed to be lightweight, easy to travel with, and big enough to hold your essentials. A designated “house icon,” the Speedy (in any of the sizes) is an unquestionable asset to any wardrobe and is generally the first bag from the brand many people will purchase.
Prada Nylon Bag
The Prada Nylon Bag was first made popular by celebrities in the early noughties – everyone from Paris Hilton to fashion forward women carried this bag on their way to clubs (and the office). The iconic Nylon Bag made a comeback in 2019 and has continued to be popular among celebs and influencers alike. A more casual bag, it’s a perfect everyday handbag to store just the essentials and all your other secrets.
Dior Saddle Bag
John Galliano can be credited with giving the world the Saddle Bag in 1999, as part of Dior’s spring 2000 ready-to-wear collection. Our favorite style icon, Carrie Bradshaw carried the bag (it’s where she stashed her emergency cigarette during an unsuccessful non-smoking stint) and “broke the internet” at least for the era. Since its introduction, the purse earned it-bag status with recurring resurrections with modern reworks each time.
Gucci Bamboo Bag
Originally called the 0633 (after its item number), the Gucci Bamboo Bag was born out of necessity rather than fashion in 1947. Following WWII, there was a shortage of leather. As countries around the world rationed their resources, Gucci was confronted with a difficult decision: shut down or innovate. It remained popular since its launch and was carried through the ‘80s by style setters like Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana. The bamboo bag comes in several styles including satchel, tote and backpack.
Louis Vuitton Pochette Accessoires
The Pochette Accessoires has always been a staple in the Louis Vuitton collection but is experiencing a surge in popularity since the return of ’90s trends. The petite size and price tag make it a perfect starter bag that doubles as an everyday bag and one that is perfect for date night.
Great article. Loved your brands and suggestions on the best handbags to amplify your personality. Further, you need to focus on sustainable fashion while choosing a luxury handbag for your outfit.