As much as we would like to own the entire Harrod’s bag department each season (Camila Al Fayed probably does), in order to build a bag closet we have to focus our attentions in those pieces that are timeless, those purses that you can recognize just by looking at them as the eternal classics (eternal in fashion is not that long). The key in buying a luxury or quality designer handbag is choosing one won’t go out of style (at least for a long, long, while). It makes no sense to splurge $1095 on a bag like Burberry’s S/S Bridle patent clutch bag in Spearmint (even if I cry tears of desire, if that even exists, everytime I see it!). It’s better to invest it. Yes, buying a classic is a form of investment. So here I bring to you the bags that I (and you are probably going to agree with me) consider a must.
- Hermés Birkin: This is the Holy Grail of bags. A purse so coveted that Arthur’s quest for Excalibur may now seem like a pice of cake. Purchasing the legendary Birkin is almost a ritual, closed waiting lists and limited production (5 per week in Paris workshops). Many would say, all this for a handbag? And yes, the Birkin, named after singer and 60’s icon Jane Birkin, is handmade (one bag is made by a single craftsman, from start to finish) with the best quality materials (Hermés breeds their own crocodiles in Australia). The bag has been around since 1984. Classy and elegant, but handy and fuctional, it can be found (that is if you can actually find it) in different colors and materials ( less common the edition, higher the price). Wether you are an owner, a wait-listed or a dreamer, we all have a Birkin (at least in our minds).
- The Chanel 2.55: More than a classic, a myth. Created in 1955 by the genious and avant-garde mind of one Coco Chanel. Concieved as a functional solution and response to the handbag (she wanted a purse that would leave her hands free), she created the bag that is a trademark for the french maison and a must-have item in a women’s closet. The quilted leather, flap bag with the chain strap is a timeless piece, femenine, and romantic (it is said Coco used to stash love letters in one of its compartments). The bag is made by artisans, the creation and production process is not only complex but detailed. Mr. Lagerfeld also known as The Kaiser, who is the creative director since 1983, realeased a copy of the original version for the 50 year anniversary of the 2.55, named “The Reissue 2.55”. The bag has also been made in different colors, forms, textures and materials, always respecting the classic features.
- The Louis Vuitton Speedy: Yes, we see it everywhere, even on those ladies at the airport sporting velour sweatpants and acrylic nails so long I always end up wondering how on earth do they manage to wipe their asses. But wether you like it or not, the speedy is a classic. And what matters here is not that you are wearing it, but how you are wearing it. The bag comes in four different sizes, my personal choice would be in the middle, not too small, not too large. Aside from the LV monogram canvas, we can also find it in Daimer, Daimer Azur, Epi (available in different colors and a personal favorite) and my least personal favorite, the multicolor. With the savings of a couple of months you can get your speedy, great quality at a reasonable price (that came out like cheap advertising).
- Balenciaga’s “City”: First came the Lariat, then came the City. Balenciaga’s motorcyle bags have become the most embematic items for the brand. There’s something about this purses that make women, myself included, go nuts for them. The perfectly crafted lambskin, the stunning range of lively colors (seems like a pantone catalogue), the design. It makes you want it, it calls for you and when you see it an another woman’s arm, you feel the betrayal and you can’t help but say, “that bitch, I’m better than her!”
- The Chloè “Paddington”: With slouchy, worn and soft leather, the Paddington is the perfect everyday companion. A little heavy (the padlock alone weights about half a pound), this product has had a ginormous success since it was first released in 2005. It sells out immediately, even before it hits the market. This bestseller, designed by the amazing Phoebe Philo, is serious arm candy.
- The Alexander McQueen “Skull Box Clutch”: My jaw seems to literally drop everytime I have an encounter with this specimen. Wether its colored, patent, studded, embellished, python, flowered or even fringed, the McQueen skull box clutch is my top lust-worthy item. It is classic but with a twist, L’enfant terrible’s twist. What the late Alexander McQueen did was not fashion, it was art. And the skull box clutch was one of his many masterpieces.
- Christian Dior’s Lady Dior: Another quilted classic, this time from Maison Dior. The Cannage, a double-handle, square, glossy tote is said to be named after Princess Diana, also known as Lady Di. Like its name, the bag is femenine, classy and ladylike. It has a vintage air. It comes in many colors and different sizes. Perfect for a “ladies who brunch” or “day at the races” kind of look. The spokesperson for the campaign is Marion Cotillard, a very suitable choice, since the actress shares with the purse that same retro, glamour charm.
- Alexander Wang’s Coco Duffel: this “classic” has only been around for a coulpe of seasons. Worn out leather, short handles, gold studs at the bottom, this bag was chased by fashionistas even before hitting the stores (I don’t think even the witches of Salem were hunted that way). The problem is not the price, but finding it. Barney’s has an endless waiting list. This is the kind of bag that when found, hair-pulling catfights an scratches are common thing.
- Marc Jacob’s Stam: we couldn’t leave the man who does it all, and does it pretty darn well, out of this list. His trademark bag was named after the canadian blonde bombshell, model Jessica Stam. From his long list of achievements, we can see that Marc is not only talented but also innovative. And that is the trick with The Stam, he gives us modern meets vintage in a chic and wide variety of colors.
- The Fendi “Peek-a-boo”: I recently saw a picture of Bianca Brandolini D’Adda sporting this bag in pony hair leopard and red lining. I immediately fell in love with the bag, also I think this young italian aristocrat is an example of a real fashion trendsetter and classy as classy can be. The bag is one of Fendi’s sweethearts. Fabulous with an F as in Fendi naturally, the Peek-a-boo is sophisticated but also very urban fashion. Comes in different color and textures (the fur one and the patchwork one exceptional!) and also inside different hues and prints for the lining.
- Bottega Veneta’s “Knot”: Oh, Bottega, you and your refined and exquisite palate. That’s the italian brand’s catch. They don’t sell products, the sell a lifestyle. A lifestyle that is not for everyone, but people with the same particular taste and flavor for quality. They don’t sell a big logo to plaster yourself with. And that is why the fantastic Knot clutch never ceases to amaze. Texture, design, color and different materials make this purse an ultimate, eye-catching, timeless classic. That Boudoir Intrecciato one is to die for (or to kill for).
- Yves Saint Laurent’s “Muse”: Refined, like everything that comes from YSL, this bag is just that. You can say it’s the brand’s take on a bowling bag because of the shape only. From 4 sizes to choose from, Stefano Pilati’s design, launched in 2005, has been a bestseller and an A-lister must-have item.
Drooling much? I am! So start feeding your ceramic piggy or if you are into gold-digging…. (ick!) But the reality is that a bag like these is a lifetime investment. Not only does a purse has the power of upgrading any outfit, it is something you can pass on to your daughters one day. I am sporting a vintage Gucci handbag that belonged to my mother and I am absolutely in love with it. So think like a banker, and start investing!