Sometimes it’s all in the shoes. And other times is all about the purse. Either way these are two areas where women should spend a bit extra and splurge. Just like men and their watches, handbags are everything from the topping on an ensemble to a status symbol, and it’s important to have at least one good bag in your closet ready to go and ready to impress at a moment’s notice – similar to the little black dress. Whether it’s made of the best leather, smoothest suede, has a touch of silk or it’s completely handcrafted, there are so many different ways and styles to go to when deciding on the “it” bag for you.
Today, we’ve compiled 15 of the most iconic handbags in the history of fashion. Maybe you’re more of a Louis Vuitton gal or maybe you’re a bit more practical and love a great tote for a better price point, whatever the case there should be a respect and love for iconic fashion. Scroll through these designer favorites and see if your favorite falls on the list!
15 Prada Bowling Bag
Prada has plenty of iconic pieces in both clothing and accessories under their belt, but this bowling bag has become one of their most popular! Released in the spring/summer 2000, it sold out instantly worldwide and had Prada stores everywhere having to create ultra-long waiting lists for customers that really wanted a bag. Some call it an “it” bag and others call it a “cult classic,” either way it’s become a super success for the company.
14 Gucci Jackie Purse
At first it was just Gucci’s classic shoulder bag called “Fifties Constance”, but when it was seen on First Lady Jackie Kennedy numerous times throughout the 1970’s, it was renamed the “Jackie O” since women everywhere were rushing to have a bag of their own. A newly deconstructed style was launched in 2009 which still takes a minimum of 7-13 hours to make.
13 Lulu Guinness Lips Clutch
These lips sure made a splash upon their debut. According to Stylist, designer Lulu Guinness was inspired by painted red lips, pop art and Dali’s surrealism in the creation of the piece. Originally made in a snakeskin, its success has birthed several other versions. You can even get a completely Swarovski crystal-covered one now too, that is if you want to spend over $1,000 whereas the classic, red snakeskin is selling for $515!
12 Louis Vuitton Speedy Bag
The LV monogrammed speedy bag may be the most iconic bag on our list. And one of those reasons is that fashion role model and icon herself, Audrey Hepburn, carried one of her very own. The design comes in four various sizes – from small to extra-large – it’s completely waterproof, it’s a true investment, it’s versatile and, if you were wondering, it’s made of canvas and calfskin.
11 Anya Hindmarch “I’m Not A Plastic Bag” Tote
For those with more of a “tote” style, then look no further than this inexpensive bag that made a big splash. Use it for your essentials, school or grocery shopping, Hindmarch’s design is just cloth and sports a fun, eco-friendly message. Although selling for around £5, they sold out so quickly that the bags started to sell on eBay for around £200. Whole Foods Market sold out of the totes in just hours and got behind the message by deciding not to carry plastic bags in any of its stores anymore.
10 Hermes Kelly Purse
According to Huffington Post, this leather pocketbook accompanied Grace Kelly the day she announced her engagement to the prince and she used it throughout her pregnancy with her daughter, Caroline. And this frequent usage caused the renaming of the bag to the “Kelly.” The Paris-based manufacturer, Hermes International S.A., actually designed the bag several times over before it was popularized by the princess.
9 Dior Saddle Bag
Shaped like a jockey’s seat, in 1999 Christian Dior launched one of its most recognizable designs: the saddle bag. This too became a “cult classic” and gained even more popularity when the design was seen being used by the beloved, Carrie Bradshaw, on Sex and the City. And one of its most signature accents is its “D” charm that hangs from the patterned bag.
8 Chanel 2.55 Purse
Similar to the LV speedy bag, there’s no way you went through life without seeing one of these Chanel beauties. Also known as the “flap bag,” this too comes in different variations but that doesn’t depreciate the classic timelessness of the original design. And it’s made of caviar leather, which is just as tough as the speedy bag’s canvas..
7 Dior Lady Bag
A true “it” bag from the House of Dior, it features the woven “cannage” design found on Napoleon III chairs that Christian Dior loved so dearly – according to their website. The bag also comes in leather versions as well as painted, costing well over $3,000 each. Created in 1995, it comes in a variety of sizes and colors. Our advice? If you’re thinking about getting one, do it now as they are and will becoming increasingly more expensive.
6 Alexander McQueen Skull Clutch
Launched in 2007 the dark and mysterious design has become more and more popular by red carpet stars – according to Stylist. And since, the fashion line has debuted newer and even more creative versions of the evening bag with every season. The 2009 version made even more waves when the skull clasps were switched out with a gorgeous and edgy knuckle buster.
5 Hermes Birkin Bag
Named after actress and singer, Jane Birkin, the leather beauty has become a status symbol among the masses. Located in Paris, Hermes only issues five of these bags a week, making it almost impossible to snag especially with its ultra-expensive price tag of around $12,000 and up! The waiting lists are endless too for this bag whose concept came to fruition in 1984.
4 Fendi Baguette Purse
Silvia Venturini Fendi, the creator of the Baguette, designed this purse with the vision of it being carried under the arm like a French loaf. It debuted in 1997 and, like several other “it” bags, became even more popular when it was seen among the women of Sex and the City. And there’s been over 700 different variations of the baguette launched since it was first seen!
3 Balenciaga Lariat Bag
With a cool, motorcycle vibe and made with smooth leather, this bag has a lot of room and a lot of trendy, easy style. It has tassels and fringe helping create its edgy and casual overall essence. And when debuted it became an instant hit with models like Kate Moss. And did you know this bag almost didn’t come to fruition? At first Balenciaga bosses didn’t think the design was “rigid enough” to really make a splash.
2 Gucci Bamboo Purse
This purse was developed in Florence, Italy in 1947 – according to Stylist. And the addition of the bamboo was only due to war-time shortages, not an original idea meant to start a trend. But thanks to that innovation, bamboo has become intertwined with the Gucci name – have you ever seen the bamboo print dawning scarves and the like? Fashion icon Elizabeth Taylor was even a fan of the bag throughout the 1960’s.
1 Prada Backpack
This backpack is what started the Prada brand. Hitting the scene in 1985, Miuccia Prada designed a gorgeous series of nylon handbags and backpacks. And she turned that into a billion dollar company. And this particular design made of waterproof fabric, Pocone, it became an instant hit among the fashion-forward youth.