Celebrity “It” Bags Through the Ages: From Mary-Kate’s Balenciaga to Lizzo’s Micro Valentino
Few things capture the collective mood better than fashion, especially the trends that define an era completely and then come back into style again and again.
Most recently, the Y2K revival has been an enduring trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, bringing back grungier styles and less-popular trends like low-rise jeans.
But when it comes to accessories and, in particular, handbags, there are some classic shapes and styles that will always be on-trend. We could question whether it’s nostalgia for a simpler time that draws us back to the timeless trends of years past, or we could just strap in for the ride and finally track down those iconic designer bags we lusted after as teenagers.
Ahead, we’re breaking down some of the most iconic handbags to dominate pop culture and encouraging you finally add them to your collection.
Beloved by the likes of Dakota Johnson and Harry Styles, the Gucci Jackie bag is a style that has stood the test of time. First released in the 1950s, this structured ‘hobo bag’ is thought to be the first of its kind. When it was renamed after Jackie Onassis in the 1970s, it was stamped in fashion history forever. The iconic bag was re-released in 2020, so it’s not difficult to get your hands on these days, whether you want to stick with a vintage bag or a candy-coloured micro version.
The Lady Dior made its debut on the arm of Princess Diana herself in 1995, which is enough to hint at how enduringly chic this bag truly is. Diana was extremely loyal to the bag and one quick Google will return countless hits of her wearing the bag around London and on overseas excursions. Though she preferred a simple, black iteration of the bag, the French fashion house releases limited edition versions and new colourways every year, so you will be spoiled for choice when hunting down a pre-loved bag.
Before you say it, yes, we know Carrie Bradshaw isn’t a real person. But her love of the Fendi Baguette bag transcends screens and fantastical storylines, now occupying a very real place in many luxury collector’s collections.
Easily the most iconic style of Fendi baguette worn by Bradshaw is the purple sequinned rendition, which was spotted in the 2021 reboot, And Just Like That . . ., and was also a feature during Fashion Month in September. Again, the popularity of this style has led to endless iterations of the bag, though the classic brown monogram and purple sequinned versions will always have our hearts.
Louis Vuitton Speedy
Is there a millennial in this world who hasn’t dreamt of wearing a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag in the crook of their arm while picking up Starbucks? The only correct answer is no.
In the mid-’00s, it was impossible to flick through a magazine without seeing a celebrity wearing one of these bags and, though everyone from Ashley Olsen to Meghan Markle wore one at one point or another, Paris Hilton is the only celebrity iconic enough to be synonymous with such a beloved bag. Hilton wore mini Speedys, jumbo Speedys, and lest we forget the monogrammed canvas dog carrier, which is just a glorified Speedy with a window.
Balenciaga City Bag
If the Louis Vuitton Speedy featured on the wishlists of mid-’00s teens around the world, then the Balenciaga City Bag had us all in an absolute chokehold. First released in 2001, the City was worn by everyone from Nicole Richie to Miley Cyrus, Amal Clooney, Kate Moss, and even Lauren Conrad.
But it’s the images (there are many) of Mary Kate Olsen rocking a big, green, slouchy City Bag during her NYU years that will always live rent-free in our minds and, with the current Y2K revival that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon, this bag continues to reach new heights of cult-status. Though Balenciaga has released updated versions of the classic City Bag, the buttery soft, beautifully worn-in leather from the 2000s will always be the one for us.
Micro Valentino Top Handle
Cast your minds back to mid-2019; to a world where Lizzo dominated websites like this one every single day. She could barely take a step without us all aggressively cheering her on. Though there was arguably no more iconic moment than her waltzing down the 2019 American Music Awards red carpet holding a micro white Valentino top handle bag and sparking weeks of meme material in the process. Though this was a shorter-lived trend than many of the others in this list, its icon status is well-earned, thanks to its wearer and the way it takes us right back to a simpler time.