International Women’s Day
By The Rebag Team, Mar. 8, 2023
Bags We Love — And The Women That Inspired Them
The past century saw the demand for luxury handbags skyrocket as traditional media began following film stars, socialites, and fashion icons strolling down the streets of Monaco, Los Angeles, or Paris toting the latest designer offerings. In celebration of International Women’s Day, take a look at some of our favorite luxury bags, including Hermès’ sought-after Birkin, and uncover the stories behind the women that inspired them, from Princess Diana to Jackie Kennedy.
The Hermès Birkin Bag – Named After Jane Birkin
(Courtesy: Marie Claire/REX)
As the world’s most coveted luxury handbag, the Hermès Birkin bag has a fascinating story behind its creation. First crafted in 1984, this iconic style came to be after Jean-Louis Dumas, then head of Hermès, had a chance encounter on a flight from London to Paris with the beguiling Jane Birkin, British fashion icon, model, and singer. According to the tale, Birkin was carrying a straw purse, and lamented that she couldn’t find a leather handbag that fit her style and needs. This launched a collaborative effort between Dumas and Birkin to imagine a design that would fit the bill — and the Birkin bag was born. More relaxed than the brand’s Kelly bag, the Birkin is one of the best investments any luxury fashion buyer could make.
The Hermès Kelly Bag – Named After Grace Kelly
Renowned actress and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, once famously used one of her Hermès Sac-à-Depêches bags to shield her pregnancy from the paparazzi. That was in 1956, only months after filming for “To Catch A Thief” wrapped. It was on set that Kelly fell in love with the model. Having ordered several of them from the French label, the bag quickly became associated with the actress — and thus became known as the “Kelly” bag. Made from premium leather, this well-structured, flap-closure model features a recognizable lock and key. It has become one of the most sought-after luxury bag styles in the world, perhaps only second to its younger sibling, the Birkin bag.
The Hermès Constance Bag – Named After Constance, Hermès Designer Catherine Chaillet’s Daughter
Known for its sleek and minimalistic design, the Hermès Constance bag’s story is perhaps one of the house’s least-known tales. Created in 1959 by in-house designer Catherine Chaillet, this iconic model was named after her daughter, who was born that same year. Chaillet drew inspiration from the straight lines featured in the classic Hermès belt to come up with the Constance, which celebrities and socialites like Jackie Kennedy, Emily Ratajkowski, and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have sported. Crafted in high-quality leather, with an iconic Hermès “H” clasp, the Constance remains a symbol of exclusivity and sophistication.
The Christian Dior Lady Dior Bag – Named After Lady Diana Spencer
Easily recognizable due to its quilted Cannage motif, strong rectangular shape, and dangling Dior charms, the Lady Dior debuted in 1995. It quickly became associated with the late Princess Diana after she received it as a gift from then-First Lady of France, Bernadette Chirac. The princess was frequently pictured carrying her handbag, which soon became known as the “Lady Dior”, in her honor. After her devastating death in 1997, the popularity of the bag skyrocketed, and it became one of the French house’s most iconic products, available in different styles, sizes, colors, and materials. The famed handbag has been carried by celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Rihanna, and even Princess Diana’s daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle.
The Gucci Jackie Bag – Named After Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy Onassis enamored the world with her style and elegance in the mid-20th century, first in her role as First Lady, then as an international fashion icon. Her level of influence is hard to put into words. With poise and style, Jackie set the tone for an entire era of fashion — and “The Jackie” bag played a large part. Originally dubbed the “Fifties Constance”, it was one of the first hobo-silhouette bags to be designed. Its shape truly captured the free spirit of the era. After Jackie fell in love with the handbag and was spotted wearing it on several occasions, Gucci renamed its design in her honor. The style became an instant hit with both the vintage versions as well as the revivals by both Tom Ford and Alessandro Michele considered wardrobe staples.
The Gucci Diana Bag – Named After Lady Diana Spencer
(Courtesy: Daily Mail)
Released in the early 1990s, the Gucci Diana bag is the second most important handbag (after the Lady Dior) to be named after Lady Diana Spencer. The versatile oversized tote is characterized by its sleek bamboo handle, and was one of the late princess’s go-to handbag styles in that decade. The style was revived in more recent years by former Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele as part of the Italian brand’s Diana capsule collection. It is now available in three different sizes and features a neon leather belt as an homage to the functional bands featured in the original design (which maintained the shape of the handle).
The Louis Vuitton SC Bag – Named After Sofia Coppola
(Courtesy: Vogue France)
Luxurious and comfortable, the Louis Vuitton SC bag was first released in 2009. Created in collaboration with actress and acclaimed filmmaker Sofia Coppola, this particular style was crafted with Coppola’s personal style in mind. The bag is made from soft, high-quality leather, with very minimalistic hardware elements. Available in a range of colors and sizes, it has been spotted on numerous occasions on the arm of Coppola and celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Miranda Kerr, and Jennifer Aniston, among others.
The YSL Kaia Bag – Named After Kaia Gerber
(Courtesy: Vogue UK)
YSL’s Kaia bag was introduced during the French label’s SS20 fashion show. Small and cool, this crossbody bag features the brand’s logo front and center, and is available in two different sizes and various colors, including its original light brown — first worn on the runway by the person who inspired the design, top model Kaia Gerber.
The Ferragamo Sophia Bag – Named After Sophia Loren
(Courtesy: Hulton Archive)
Italian screen siren Sophia Loren was a long-time friend and muse to the late Salvatore Ferragamo. It was in honor of the 50th anniversary of the actress’s Oscar win for her part in “Two Women” that the Ferragamo Sophia bag was presented in 2009. Inspired by Loren’s beauty, elegance, and glamor, the handbag is made in only the most luxurious materials, including high-quality leather, crocodile skin, and suede. The design also features a characteristic Gancio lock closure — a tribute to the label’s signature Gancini symbol. Loren herself has been photographed with the Sophia bag on her arm, but the handbag also holds a place in the closets of stars and fashion icons like Olivia Palermo, Emma Watson, and Lady Gaga.
The Gucci Bardot Bag – Named After Brigitte Bardot
(Courtesy: Hulton Archive)
The Gucci Bardot handbag is a tribute to the timeless beauty of French actress and fashion icon Brigitte Bardot. First introduced in the brand’s SS11 collection, this chic shoulder bag quickly became an in-demand choice among luxury fashion connoisseurs. The design was reimagined in 2019 as part of Gucci Off The Grid, the brand’s sustainable line, so it’s also a great option for buyers looking to minimize their environmental footprint through their fashion choices.
The Chanel Gabrielle Bag – Named After Coco Chanel
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel revolutionized women’s fashion with a design approach that was both elegant and practical. She notoriously disliked the extravagant and inconvenient silhouettes of her time, and that included handbags. That principle inspired the creation of the Gabrielle handbag in 2017. Designed with versatility in mind, the model can be worn in a variety of ways, with a chain strap that can be worn long or folded short, as a shoulder or crossbody bag. The double chain handle also allows for it to be carried as a handbag. The design of the Gabrielle is also influenced by Coco’s love for horseback riding — If one looks closely, the bag’s shape is reminiscent of the bags riders carry when practicing the sport. Both beautiful and functional, this bag pays homage to Coco’s lifelong commitment to and love for fashion.