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IT Items

IT Items

7 Bags Every Serious Collector Should Own

Some bags are simply legendary – and they do not call it ‘lucky number 7’ for nothing.

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The centuries-old, princely practice of collecting has deep, emotional roots for the collector. Psychological interpretations may abound, but the real thrill of curating and maintaining a select assemblage of treasured possessions is unique to each of us. The level of taste, research, and expert knowledge behind every great collection ensures that, despite the ebb and flow of trends, a well-crafted collection will never go out of style. When it comes to collecting bags, especially, some pieces simply transcend time and personal sentiment alike. Much more than the sum of their parts, certain stellar items are pure gold. In no particular order, here is a list of seven bags every collector should own. While there is no rush to go out (read: online) and purchase all seven bags at once (if you can even find them!), keeping this list handy will guarantee that you curate a tightly-edited collection that will surely withstand the test of time. Now that is style savvy.

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1. Chanel 2.55 / Classic Flap / Single Flap

Handbag history and logomania lore would simply be incomplete without this bag. Originally named after its February 1955 date of creation (so, 2.55 – get it?), and only the second bag to have been fashioned by the great Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the Chanel 2.55 has long been blazing style trails – ever since its jewelry-like, chain strap first liberated women to go hands-free in the mid-twentieth century.

Whether you covet Coco’s so-called ‘Mademoiselle’ – the founding designer never married, bien sûr – lock (if so, go for the 2.55) or Lagerfeld’s ‘CC’ logo lock (then choose the Classic or Single Flap versions), every bag connoisseur needs at least one of these pieces in their rotation. With a special space for your lipstick – Coco was never without hers – and a secret compartment for love letters, what is not to j’adore?

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2. Dior Saddle

Conceived from the 1999 imagination of John Galliano, the now-iconic Saddle first captivated the early aughts FROW as part of runway Look 2 (and more) of his Lauryn Hill-inspired, Spring 2000 Ready-to-Wear collection in Paris. Of the equestrian-influenced shoulder staple, Galliano would triumphantly tell The New York Times in 2006, “[The Saddle] has become a classic.” Indeed.

With its kidney-shaped body and dangling, stirrup-like, logo hardware as its only constants, endless iterations of this fashion favorite were danced and pranced down the runways until circa 2007. Relaunched in a slightly larger guise in order to fit all of our modern accoutrements, under Maria Grazia Chiuri in July 2018, the Saddle was propelled to the heights of the year’s most popular bag  once more. Though, with the vintage version spotted on everyone from a Patricia Field-styled Carrie Bradshaw in 2000 (Season 3, Episode 5 of Sex and the City – you’re welcome!), to Paris Hilton in 2003, and Kim Kardashian in 2019, there is just no beating an original Galliano Saddle.

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3. Gucci Jackie

Bohemian chic. Since its initial 1950s issue as the Fifties Constance, the Jackie has represented the ultimate in style sophistication. Renamed after the extremely elegant, jet- and trend-setting then-First Lady of the United States, Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy – who was very partial to its free-spirited, hobo design – around 1961, the Jackie is the relaxed, classic companion every collector needs.

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4. Hermès Kelly 20

A luxury star was born when Hermès’s Kelly bag received the royal seal of approval from none other than Grace Kelly Princess of Monaco, its reimagined eponym, who used it to shield her burgeoning baby bump from photographers in 1956. After images of Princess Grace and her Kelly were beamed around the world, including a feature on the cover of Life  magazine, the Kelly’s future became very bright.

Fast-forward to the ‘70s, when the Kelly 20 – referring to the length, in centimeters, of the handbag’s base – was released into a soon-to-be-enchanted world. Extremely rare, especially since it has been discontinued and replaced by the Mini Kelly II, the Kelly 20 is also slightly more practical than the latest incarnation, due to its higher handle (more room for threading your wrist through) and longer (detachable) shoulder strap. As the original Kelly 20s were only offered to Hermès’s top clients, handbag devotees spend countless hours scouring the globe in order to get their hands on their own vintage piece. If you find one, especially if it is in the brand’s signature color (orange, of course!) or an exotic material (such as, silk or Crocodile Porosus), make sure to snap it up quickly! These styles will only increase in value over time.

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5. Fendi Baguette

Long crowned the ‘IT bag’ queen, the late ‘90s and early ‘00s were all about the style “treat”  that is the Fendi Baguette. This fashion delight – rumor has it that over 100,000 were sold in its first year of production alone – was boldly created by Silvia Venturini Fendi in 1997, as a dazzling foil to the prevailing bag designs on the international style menu at the time. With its short drop and slim, streamlined body, Fendi intended for the Baguette to be carried like its namesake, comme une (ever-so-chic) Française – tucked neatly, yet nonchalantly, under the arm. The well-known, baguette-diamond-addict Elizabeth Taylor had at least eighteen Baguettes herself, which pretty much says it all.

Of course, no Baguette account would be complete without a reference to that  episode of Sex and the City  (Season 3, Episode 17 – we’ve got you!), in which Carrie is mugged and left bereft of her prized possession. Not just any old bag, “It’s a Baguette[!]”. The visual feast that was SATC would have been well and truly half-baked without the Baguette; other designers only started lending their wares to the show following the success that Fendi saw after the Baguette appeared on Carrie’s arm.  

True aficionados will be in search of the sequined or beaded versions.

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6. Prada Bowling Bag

Sports luxe at its finest. This preppy, 1950s throwback from Miuccia Prada’s Spring 2000 Ready-to-Wear show, ‘Sincere Chic’, rolled back onto the style scene from runway Look 2 (carried by Gigi Hadid) onward in the house’s Resort 2020 show. Relatively understated amidst Y2K’s decadence, this exceedingly cool and collected piece is a real must-have for any true fashion collector’s archive. Look out for the ultra-rare, all-nylon vintage version.

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7. Louis Vuitton Mini HL Speedy

A dainty, older sister to the slightly larger Nano Speedy, which was released in 2015, the now-discontinued Louis Vuitton Mini HL Speedy offers its wearers timeless chic. An ultra-miniature version of Vuitton’s iconic Speedy bag, beloved by the enviable Audrey Hepburn (the Mini HL Speedy’s ancestor, the Express travel bag, was downsized to the 25cm Speedy we know and love today on Hepburn’s request in 1959), this bag will ensure you travel in style, wherever life leads you. True minimalist elegance.

Cover photography by: architecturaldigest.com via Pinterest

Edited by : Anna Villani

The people pictured are not associated with The Archive or The Vintage Bar, and do not endorse the products shown.

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