Leather Handbag Or Iconic Fashion Accessory?

The term 'It Bag' was first coined in the 1990s and became synonymous with expensive designer bags, which were made even more famous by their celebrity owners. Iconic handbags have been around sincethe 1920s, however, thanks to Coco Chanel who designed arguably the very first 'It Bag.'


Chanel 2.55

A quilted diamond pattern and distinctive chain shoulder strap made this famous bag instantly recognisable, although its name was quite unusual. It was created in February 1955 following CocoChanel's return to the fashion industry and the original idea was to design a bag that would free-up herhands.


The Chanel 2.55 is distinctive not only for the exterior diamond pattern, but also for the colour of theinterior lining, which represents the uniforms used in the convent that Coco Chanel grew up in. The front flap of her original bag contained a zipped compartment where she supposedly kept her love letters and this design feature was replicated in her range.


Chanel designs the 2.55 in many colours with black being the most iconic, closely followed by beige.Hardware is gold-plated or silver, the most popular being 22k gold-plated, although some say the choice of hardware should depend on the type of jewellery worn when using the bag.


Birkin Bag

Named after actress Jane Birkin, the Birkin bag is an exclusive and elusive fashion icon, designed by French fashion house, Hermes. Its reputation is unquestionable in that it has no logo, but is instantly recognisable purely by its shape. Prices for a Birkin bag range from £6000 to £100,000 depending on the materials and colour, making it a worldwide symbol of wealth.


Waiting lists of up to three years for the Birkin bag are not unheard of, but in April 2010 Hermes announced that their exclusive leather handbag would be more readily available to the public. This follows an extensive training programme for new craftsmen and women recruited by Hermes. Victoria Beckham is famous not only as a pop star, but as the proud owner of a collection of Birkin bags worth nearly £1.5 million.


Fendi Baguette

Created by Silvia Venturini Fendi, the baguette bag takes its name from the French bread stick and was designed to be carried under the arm. It was launched in 1997 and became one of the first 'It' bags. A detachable strap and minimalist design made this rectangular-shaped bag instantly recognisable, even after 700 different styles and colours were released. The 'double F' Fendi logo also acts as the clasp.


The baguette bag was much loved by the character of Carrie Bradshaw in 'Sex and the City' which also increased the bag's popularity with celebrities and the general public.


To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the launch of the baguette bag, six of Silvia Fendi's favourite designs have been reissued for a limited period. A book tracing the history of the baguette has also been produced, displaying glossy photos of simple early designs to later limited edition creations.


These three iconic designs are immediately recognisable and are sometimes seen as an investment purchase. Celebrity endorsement serves to increase their appeal, but unfortunately it is often only celebrities who can afford the hefty price tag.


Genelia Lopez writes regularly on designer accessories for a range of fashion websites and blogs. For those dreaming of owning a covetable leather handbag without the celebrity price tag, there are many beautiful designs waiting for you.

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