While having the newest handbag straight off the runway can transform any female into an instant fashionista, the truth is that some things never go out of style. While handbags from designers like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Bottega Ventea and Balenciaga are always setting trends and pushing fashion forward, you can really find their best pieces, if you look back, even as far the 1800’s. All of the luxury bags that never go out of style are not only timeless, all of these bags are redesigned every season to compliment the latest collections.
Every bag has a story. Many of these handbags are named or designed for renowned fashions icons, such as Hermès’ Kelly Bag for Princess Grace Kelly and Birkin Bag for actress Jane Birkin. Christian Dior’s Lady bag was originally called the Constance Bag, but was re-named for Princess Diana, when she was photographed wearing one. Fictional fashionista Carrie Bradshaw made Fendi’s Baguette the It bag and over fifteen years later, women still lust after them.
All of these brands are not only known for high fashion, but they are also known for their high prices. The luxury classics range from over $200,000 to just under $1,000. The prices of these bags often increase, sometimes even bi-annually. Designers raise the prices as often as they do, because they can. It’s safe to say these bags are good fashion investments. Their luxury materials and fine craftsmanship mean they will be usable for years to come. Furthermore, they can go easily from day to night and workday to weekend. Louis Vuitton’s Speedy, Prada’s Saffiano Leather and the Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag have optional shoulder straps which can take them from casual to sophisticated in a snap. The durability and versatility of all of these bags justifies the prices and will continue to do so for years to come.
10. Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag
First available in the 1930’s, this classic Louis Vuitton bag might be called a Speedy, but it’s hardly fast fashion. It has cowhide leather handles that darken with age. While the most well known Speedy is probably the most classic model made of logo canvas, Louis Vuitton has created the bag in a variety of styles and colors, from graffiti to more traditional leathers and new ones come out every season. The Speedy is a classic bag because it can be casual with jeans and a t-shirt and formal for an evening at the opera. It also looks proportional with every body type. The size and shape of the Speedy make it the perfect bag for every woman who needs to carry a lot of things with them.
9. Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag
Although the brand was established in 1915, Balenciaga saw a resurgence in 2003, when Nicolas Ghesquière created the Motorcycle Bag exclusively for the fashion house’s runway show. Model Kate Moss fell in love with bag, Balenciaga then made it available for purchase and the rest is fashion history. A modern classic, the bags are made of a soft, very light, durable leather and come with leather framed mirrors and cell phone pockets. The zippers have a signature leather tassel pull. There are two hand straps fastened to the bags as well as a removable longer shoulder strap. Currently, the most expensive Motorcycle Bag is $2,045, but there are minis available for around $1,300.
8. Bottega Veneta Intrecciato
Bottega Veneta is the Italian leather brand you recognize for it’s style, not it’s logo. Known for their artisanal simplicity, Bottega Veneta simply means Venetian Shop and not surprisingly the company’s slogan is “When Your Own Initials Are Enough.” Established in 1966, the company’s founders Vittorio and Laura Moltedo, developed a leather weaving technique called intrecciato, which has defined their signature style ever since. Intreccaito is used to make a wide variety of Bottega Veneta’s handbags and accessories, from clutches to weekenders. Currently, the Nero Nappy Vulcana Bag is available for $6,650, but equally stylish and less expensive shoulder bags are available in the $2,500 range.
7. Prada Saffiano Bag
The House of Prada was founded in 1913, but did not become a household name until after 1978, when Miuccia Prada took over the company. Saffiano is treated leather that is embossed with a cross hatch pattern, which makes the bag more durable and increases scratch resistance as well as water resistance. Most importantly, saffiiano leather makes for gorgeous accessories. Saffiano bags have two handles and gold hardware, as well as the signature Prada gold upside down triangle logo. A celebrity favorite, actresses Hailee Steinfeld and Lindsay Lohan as well as singer Rihanna have all been spotted with the Prada Classic. Saffiano bags come in a variety of shapes from totes to minis, currently costing from $9,660 to around $1,700.
6. Christian Dior Lady Bag
A new classic, Christian Dior’s Lady bag was given as a gift to Princess Diana from the first lady of France, Bernadette Chirac. After the chic Princess was photographed with it, the bag was immediately named after her and has graced the forearms of the elegant and sophisticated ever since. Each bag is hand made and each cannage quilted square pattern is hand crafted and then fitted with either gold or silver hardware and a singature CD charm. While perhaps the most well-known Lady bag materials are patent leather and calfskin, but you can buy a python one for $11,800. However, non-leather mini Ladies start at around $1,200.
5. The Gucci Jackie Bag
The Gucci Jackie Bag is another stunner than never goes out of style. Created in the late 1950’s for the bag’s namesake Jackie Kennedy Onassis, it has remained an accessory staple. It was even slightly redesigned and re-launched in 1999, but both the old and new Jackies are still avalable. The shoulder bag, which is actually quite comfortable, has the signature Gucci piston clasp. Handmade in Italy, it comes in many styles and materials. The most expensive Jackie Bag was sold for $20,400, but there are classic GG initial logo styles available for only $1,450. Like it’s namesake, the Jackie is sophisticated, but stunning.
4. The Fendi Baguette
A modern classic, designed in 1997 by Silvia Venturini, the baguette was made to fit under the arm, like a French Baguette loaf. Ever since, there have been over a thousand different baguettes made of different materials from denim, to pony skin and crocodile. Perhaps the most famous Baguette belonged to fictional fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and The City, when she was mugged for her purple sequin one. After the episode aired, fashionistas declared the Baguette, an It bag. A book was even published to commemorate the bag’s fifteenth anniversary. The most expensive Baguette was sold for $6,220, but prices start around $1,400
3. Hermès Kelly Bag
The Hermès Kelly Bag is the ultimate stays symbol. No other accessory has subtly screamed expensive quite the way the Kelly does. First introduced in 1892 as a saddle bag, the iconic accessory evolved and was ultimately named for princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, when it was given to her in 1954. It has been making women feel like princesses ever since. Handmade, these bags take between 18-25 hours to create. It is Hermès’ best selling bag of all time.
The most expensive Kelly Bag ever sold was auctioned for $125,000 in December 2013. It was a one of a kind known as the Geranium Porosus. However, most “starter” Kellys start at around $11,00.
2. Hermès Birkin Bag
Named for actress Jane Birkin, it was first created for her in 1984 when she sat next to Hermès executive Jean-Louis Dumas on an airplane and told him she was having trouble finding a good leather weekend bag. Dumas had the bag created for her based on a design from 1892. These bags, which are lined with goat skin leather and then made with a variety of leathers including calf skin, ostrich, lizard and crocodile, take approximately 48 hours to make by hand.
The most expensive Birkin Bag cost $120,00 and was made of crocodile with 18 carat gold hardware encrusted with diamonds. However, most Birkins start around $11,000.
1. The Chanel Flap Bag
The Chanel flap bag is the epitome of a classic handbag. It is simply designed and crafted. First introduced in 1955 by Coco Chanel herself, who was tired of carrying her purse in her hands and wanted something chic for her shoulders. It was slightly re-designed in 1983 by Karl Lagerfeld, who added the iconic CC clasp.
If you are considering purchasing one of these bags, do it sooner rather than later because the prices of these bags have been known to increase bi-annually. At any price, it is a worthwhile investment. The most expensive flap bag was sold for $261,000, but less expensive ones start at a more relatively affordable $2,200.