But are any of them destined to be true classics?
A lot of brands try to brand a bag as a “new classic” at its debut, but few of them ever are, and it’s almost impossible to predict any design’s potential staying power at the outset. Even a really good bag can disappear after a handful of seasons if it debuts at a bad time or doesn’t get the sustained support from the brand’s marketing and design teams that is often required for a bag to fully catch on among shoppers; it rarely happens overnight, or even in a single season.
Sometimes, though, a relatively new bag is able to break free of those constraints and last far longer than most, which puts it in a middle ground between a seasonal offering and a true classic for which we have no name, like the Chloé Paddington or Fendi Spy Bag. While those pieces are undoubtedly iconic to a certain generation of bag lovers, it’s hard to imagine the Paddington having a revival in 15 years. (Although I suppose stranger things have happened.)
Since 2011 or so, the accessories market has seen the debut of a solid half dozen of these bags at least, and several more for which you could make strong arguments. It’s rare for a bag to make it to this point at all, and of the ones that do, almost all languish here before being discontinued instead of continuing on to eternal classic status. Let’s check out the candidates to make the jump and evaluate their odds.
1 / 7
1. The Givenchy Antigona Bag
$2,290 via Net-a-Porter
The Givenchy Antigona dates back to Fall 2011, which is around when many of these bags started emerging. Instead of meteoric and immediate success, the Antigona slowly built momentum over the course of several years, eventually being seen on the arms of basically every kind of celebrity you can think of, from Instagram models to Oscar-winners. Even though Riccardo Tisci, the designer who oversaw Givenchy’s renewal and the Antigona’s launch, has since moved on to Burberry, we still see the bag being carried all the time and its still getting released in plenty of new versions. Designer Clare Waight Keller may eventually move away from it, but if she plays the transition correctly, I think the Antigona has a reasonable shot at becoming a true classic.
2 / 7
2. The Valentino Rockstud Bags
$2,795 via Net-a-Porter
The Valentino Rockstud Bags debuted for Spring 2011 (2011 was a very big year), and initially, I didn’t like them at all. A big stud trend had just draw to a close in accessories, and at the time, I was puzzled by what I saw as beating a dead aesthetic horse. Valentino stuck with the look, though, and before long, Rockstud bags and shoes were everywhere. Now, they’re inextricably linked with the Valentino accessories heritage.
What makes the Rockstud distinct from all the others on this list is that there isn’t just one bag to consider; the Rockstud line includes many recognizable bags and shoes, which gives the brand more opportunity to expand and modernize the look as seasons progress and public tastes change. I don’t know of the Rockstud will make it to the realm of true classics, but this versatility gives it a fighting chance.
3 / 7
3. The Céline Luggage Tote
$2,700 via Céline
The Céline Luggage Tote is the only bag on this list that ever achieved It Bag status in the truest sense of the word, and that may ultimately be what works against it when it comes to whether or not it ever makes the leap to all-time classic status. At a certain point, if a bag becomes too closely tied with a specific era, shoppers tend to leave it there. New Céline designer Hedi Slimane’s ability (or willingness) to work with and continue the style going forward will likely have a big impact on the Luggage Tote’s legacy, and based on his arrival at YSL, I’m guessing he’ll instead focus on his own ideas for the brand’s future.
4 / 7
4. The Saint Laurent Sac de Jour Bag
$2,990 via Net-a-Porter
Speaking of Hedi Slimane’s time at YSL: the Sac de Jour Bag was inarguably one of his biggest successes during his relatively short tenure there, and successor Anthony Vaccarello seems totally content to continue on in the Saint Laurent image Slimane created, including the front-and-center positioning of the SDJ. It wouldn’t surprise me if the style continued successfully for years, but its structural similarity to the Hermès Birkin may prevent it from becoming a forever classic.
5 / 7
5. Chloé Drew Bag
$1,850 via Net-a-Porter
The Chloé Drew is the most recent of the designs we’ve featured here; it debuted in Fall 2014. Its relatively short history makes it harder to judge exactly what its longevity will be, but the bag has the sort of high-but-not-saturated popularity that makes it a good longterm contender. Plus, it’s already survived one designer transition: new Chloé creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi gave the Drew a prominent spot in her first-ever runway show for the brand.
6 / 7
6. The Chanel Boy Bag
$4,300 via Chanel
Of the bags listed here, the Chanel Boy may be the easiest call. It’s a Chanel Flap Bag, after all, and history has shown kindness to those and their ability to evolve and still maintain their beloved status. Chanel clearly thinks it’s a winner, too, with lots of interesting versions every season since its Spring 2012 debut. And shoppers don’t seem to be tiring of it at all; the design already seems like it has a safe spot in the Chanel pantheon.
7 / 7
7. Fendi Peekaboo Bag
$5,900 via Fendi
Of all the bags listed, the Fendi Peekaboo has already accomplished what’s an impossible feat for most bags, and especially for bags released relatively recently: it’s made a comeback. The bag debuted in 2009 and experienced the usual bell curve of popularity that most prominent designer bags have over the course of their lifespans. A few seasons after cycling out of its prominent spot in Fendi’s accessory lineup, the brand brought the bag back, and against all odds, it totally worked. The Peekaboo now enjoys permanent residency atop the brand’s handbag collection, and it shows no signs of moving from that spot. Most important for its longterm prospects, the bag no longer feels like it’s on the regular trajectory of even a super popular bag; it already feels like it’s made the jump into classic territory.