Handbags

The It Bag Brigade

A look back at the fashion’s most covetable purses from the past thirty years

The It Bag Brigade
A look back at the fashion’s most covetable purses from the past thirty years

Katie Holmes


 
Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes with her super-sized Birkin bag

Though the pantheon of iconic, must-have handbags is now totally passé, we can’t help but feel some nostalgia for its phenomenon. After all, somewhere in Canada, at this very moment, there’s a woman obsessing about a Birkin. And that, perhaps, is part of the allure. The true mark of a great handbag is not the hysteria it creates, but rather, the timelessness of its design. The very best bags defy trends and join the canon of style – looking as relevant today as they did when they first debuted. So, to mark FLARE’s 30th Anniversary, we celebrate our favourite It bags from the last 30 years while paying our final farewells to the signature accessory.

MORE

Chanel's 2.55


 
Chanel’s 2.55

CHANEL 2.55
Often the first bag a style-maven will splurge on, Chanel’s 2.55 has been an haute hit since its birth more than 50 years ago. Introduced in February 1955, it represents Coco’s quest to balance functionality (double flap, ample pockets and chain strap that can be worn short or long) with frills (luxe quilted leather and a gilded clasp). Karl Lagerfeld reissued an anniversary bag in February 2005 and continues to introduce new fabrics, shapes and embellishments each season.

Bottega Veneta's Knot


 
Bottega Veneta’s Knot

BOTTEGA VENETA KNOT
FLARE is sharing its 30th birthday with Bottega Veneta’s Knot. Named for its knot-shaped closure, the ultra-exclusive clutch is released in limited edition runs of 25 to 100 with various versions crafted with everything from antique crystal embroidery to origami-inspired silks

Hermès Birkin


 
Hermès Birkin

HERMES BIRKIN
“It’s not a bag; it’s a &%*@^# Birkin!” Or so claimed Samantha when she tried to drop Lucy Liu’s name and move up the wait-list in the infamous Sex and the City episode. Crafted in 1984 for Jane Birkin when she discussed her need for a larger weekend bag with Hermès head Jean-Louis Dumas on an airplane, the Birkin remains one of the most sought after and exclusive bags in the world. Each one takes a dedicated craftsman 48 hours to create and costs upwards of $150,000.

Prada backpack


 
Prada backpack

PRADA BACKPACK
Miuccia Prada turned her grandfather’s staid Milanese leather goods house upside-down when she created the first technical nylon bag in 1978. When the backpack debuted in 1984 its utilitarian design was in sharp contrast to the glam and gaudy bags of the ‘80s and it quickly became the uniform of the urban, fashion-forward woman.

Fendi's Baguette


 
Fendi’s Baguette

FENDI BAGUETTE
The bag that launched a thousand knock-offs and dominated fashion for more than a decade, this petite purse was introduced in 1997 and was designed to tuck daintily under your arm like a stick of bread, hence the name. With more than 600 different versions released in different colours, fabrics and patterns, Fendi’s Baguette became a cult item and caused a frenzy as consumers clamoured to scoop up the latest style seen on every celebrity and social.

Balenciaga


 
Balenciaga

BALENCIAGA LARIAT
This bag represents the success of the new guard of young designers to revamp old design houses like Nicolas Ghesquière did for Balenciaga – a marriage of couture heritage and fierce modernity. The motorcycle-inspired Lariat bag first appeared in 1998 and still sells out today thanks to die-hard devotees like Kate Moss who has regularly sported the style for over 10 years.

Louis Vuitton


 
Louis Vuitton

LOUIS VUITTON MONOGRAM MULTICOLORE
Bringing in avant-garde artists to update the French house’s canvas bags was one of the many ways Marc Jacobs has breathed new life into the luxury brand. After a successful collaboration with graffiti artist Stephen Sprouse, he partnered with Japanese pop-artist Takashi Murakami in 2003 on this colourful, whimsical animated print that flew out of stores. The two directional designers have continued to work together on limited edition ranges.

Chloé Paddington


 
Chloé Paddington

CHLOÉ PADDINGTON
In the 1950’s Chloé was the first Parisian label to offer quality ready-to-wear clothing and in the 2000’s they launched quality ready-to-sport bags…to those who could get their hands on one. Wait-listed around the world after its 2005 debut, the Chloé Paddington bag and its trademark oversized lock became the latest lusted after It bag. Luxury shopping site Net-A-Porter.com is reported to have sold 376 bags in 36 hours and had 700 names on their wait list at the launch.

Yves Saint Laurent


 
Yves Saint Laurent

YVES SAINT LAURENT MUSE
Upon joining the much-celebrated house of Yves Saint Laurent, Stefano Pilati’s first mandate was to create a modern, timeless handbag. He named his first design, the Muse, in honour of all the muses of YSL. The bag was released in the fall of 2005, followed by a limited edition numbered release in 2006, which was a hit among collectors. Many YSL fans including Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba have since snapped up their second, third and even forth Muse.

Anya Hindmarch I'm Not a Plastic Bag


 
Anya Hindmarch I’m Not a Plastic Bag

ANYA HINDMARCH I’M NOT A PLASTIC BAG
Signaling a major new trend in eco-chic, in 2007 UK Designer Anya Hindmarch introduced her “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” canvas tote. Priced at just £5 (a steal compared to her regular $1,500+ price tag), the bag was scooped up by celebs like Keira Knightley and Jessica Biel and led to a global feeding frenzy. Selling out everywhere in mere minutes (including at Holt Renfrew where it was gone in less than an hour), the eco-friendly tote unfortunately cause riots in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. Such is the power of the bag called it.

MAIN