Iconic Bags by the Decade

studio image of three designer bags hermes, louis vuitton, chanel together handing by the straps FASHIONPHILE

Fashion accessories have had some pretty major moments.


And in the world of ultra-luxury handbags, that couldn’t be more true. Throughout the years, legacy styles have paved the way, taking inspiration from the archives. They’re truly groundbreaking. In honor of all things handbags, we’re taking you through a timeline of luxury handbag legacies over the years, reminiscing of the past, and applauding present styles that define ultra-luxury.

Iconic Bags by the Decade: A Timeline

The following is a timeline broken down by decade that includes some of the greatest legacies in the world of handbags that you can shop for at FASHIONPHILE.

Late 1850s –

Louis Vuitton Trunks

Before Louis Vuitton handbags existed, there were trunks. Starting in 1858, Louis Vuitton introduced trunks that were durably and luxuriously designed to withstand frequent travel via car, train, or boat while safely securing personal belongings from thieves. 

studio image of louis vuitton wardrobe trunk FASHIONPHILE

1870s –

Moynat Bags

Pauline Moynat created the first range of ladies bags referred to as “sac mignons” with chamois lining. 

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1930s –

Louis Vuitton Keepall

After trunks became well established, Louis Vuitton expanded to more functional everyday options, introducing a lighter travel companion – known as the Keepall. The Keepall became a sensation for the globetrotting elite.

Louis Vuitton Keepall
Louis Vuitton Speedy  

It was soon after the invention of the Keepall when the very first handbag for Louis Vuitton was created in 1930 – the Speedy. The Louis Vuitton Speedy bag borrows inspiration from the Louis Vuitton Keepall and shares a lot of the same design features. 

product image of the Louis Vuitton monogram speedy 30 bag FASHIONPHILE
Louis Vuitton Alma

The Alma came to life in 1925 as a custom order for Coco Chanel, before becoming a core style for Louis Vuitton in 1934. Inspired by the Art Deco movement, the Alma was first named the “Squire bag” then changed to “Champs-Elysees” before eventually being known as the Alma we all know and love. Watch this video on the Louis Vuitton Alma vs. the Hermes Bolide bag to learn which one came out first.   

product image of louis vuitton damier ebene alma bag FASHIONPHILE

1940s –

Gucci Bamboo Top Handle

The bamboo top handle has become an iconic emblem for Gucci. The Bamboo 1947 Top Handle style came about in post-war 1947 when traditional materials were hard to find. The bamboo handle was an unconventional design choice but became an instant hit. Today Gucci incorporates bamboo across various styles from the Bamboo Backpack and Dionysus Top Handle, to the Diana Tote Bag among others. If you can’t get enough of Gucci, read more about the origins of the Italian house

product image of gucci bamboo 1947 top handle bag FASHIONPHILE

1950s –

Chanel 2.55

Before the Classic Double Flap came to exist, there was an original Chanel handbag – the 2.55. It was designed by Gabrielle Chanel, otherwise known as Coco Chanel, in February of 1955 and known to be the first shoulder carry. During a time when most bags were carried by hand, this handbag invention was truly revolutionary. Here is a post that shares one more reason to love the Chanel 2.55. Today there are so many reinterpretations of the 2.55. From the Pouch with Chain to Camera Cases and Accordion Reissues, the 2.55 style concept is a mainstay of the Chanel brand DNA. 

product image of chanel reissue 2.55 bag FASHIONPHILE
Hermes Kelly

Everyone knows the story of the Kelly bag and how it rose to fame. In the mid-1950s, then pregnant Grace Kelly used her Kelly bag to shield her belly from the paparazzi. Amidst the chaos, her sheer grace (if you will) immediately elevated this bag into a must-have. Before that famous incident, the Kelly was known as the Sac à dépêches. Today, whether you invest in Sellier or Retourne, the Kelly bag remains one of the smartest investment pieces you can get your hands on.  

Hermes Kelly Bleu Hydra FASHIONPHILE

1960s –

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25

Later in 1965, Audrey Hepburn inspired the creation of the Speedy 25, a smaller version of the original Speedy that a woman could easily carry out and about. It didn’t take long before other sizes were released and the Speedy became a core style for Louis Vuitton. 

Today, there are so many iterations of the Speedy bag. From the Mini Sac HL and Nano Speedy to the Speedy Bandoulieres in various sizes. Not to mention all the glorious limited edition styles and prints that the Speedy comes in. Adding a Speedy to your collection is a no brainer. 

getty image of audrey hepburn carrying the speedy bag
speedy 25

1970s –

Prada Nylon Bags

The introduction of the Tessuto nylon backpack in the 1970s, at a time when luxury was defined by leather, was truly groundbreaking. Now, Re-Nylon is one of the most-wanted and radically sustainable textiles in the luxury market available in various styles. Read here to learn more about why you should buy Prada Re-Nylon.

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1980s –

Hermes Birkin

Mix fate and fashion and you get the birth of the Birkin. Similar to the story of the Kelly bag, the Birkin bag as we know it today came about at an unlikely time. On a flight to London, Jane Birkin inspired Jean-Louis Dumas (then Hermes chairman) to create the ultimate carryall bag. Its release in 1984 changed the luxury game. A-listers like Kate Moss, Kourtney Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, Pharrell, and Drake have proven that Birkin bags are one of the most coveted items to own in the ultra-luxury space.

And like the other classics, there are so many iterations of the Birkin bag today. From bigger oversized bags such as the HAC to special edition Birkin bags and Candy Birkins. There is nothing else quite like this style. Today it’s no longer just a bag anymore. It’s an investment that holds value (even through a recession). Read more in our in-depth color guides on Hermes pinks, blues, and beiges – plus find out the best color to buy in this first-time investor’s guide to Hermes

product image of hermes birkin bag FASHIONPHILE

Watch our YouTube video on the Hermes Himalaya Birkin →  

Chanel Double Flap

Brought to life by Karl Lagerfeld in the 1980s, the Chanel Double Flap is an ever-popular and continuously valuable handbag to own. Watch our YouTube video on the Chanel Double Flap.  

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Watch our YouTube video on the Chanel Double Flap →  

1990s –

Christian Dior Lady Dior

The Christian Dior Lady Dior was first seen on Princess Diana in 1995 inspiring the name of this iconic accessory. Today the Lady Dior continues to be re-imagined in various colors and limited edition patterns. 

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Fendi Baguette

What’s not to love about Fendi? The Baguette bag by Fendi was the product of two great minds: Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi in the late ‘90s. Whether on the screen in Sex and the city or on the arms of our favorite A-listers, the Baguette style remains legendary. 

Recently we’ve seen the Fendi x Versace collab as well as unique capsule collections with Marc Jacobs, Tiffany and more to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beloved Baguette. There are so many versions of the Baguette. From embossed and beaded to the classic jacquard. These and more can be found at FASHIONPHILE

product image of fendi baguette bag FASHIONPHILE
Christian Dior Saddle Bag

The iconic Dior Saddle bag was created in 1999 and re-released in 2018 after being discontinued in the early 2000s. Read more about the history of this bag style, here. Pst! The Double Saddle bag is double the fun. Did you know that the Christian Dior Saddle bag was one of the top styles with the most purchases in 2022 by both Gen Z and Millennial shoppers at FASHIONPHILE? Learn more about this year’s top styles in our latest Resale Report

product image of Dior saddle bag FASHIONPHILE

2000s –

Prada Tessuto Nylon Shoulder Bags

Since early aughts fashion is so influential, in 2019 Prada brought back the iconic nylon shoulder bags, known as Re-Editions. These are based on the 2000 and 2005 styles and of course, they were met with enormous fanfare, now reimagined in sparkly renditions to utilitarian shoulder bags. Discover them all at FASHIONPHILE

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Balenciaga City Bag

This style came out in 2001. It was first introduced as a prototype for the runway, and  gifted to the models afterward – including Kate Moss. Her influence played a big role giving this style almost instant success. The style coined the “motorcycle bag” was the edgy, rule-breaking everyday bag that ultra-luxury connoisseurs never knew they needed.

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2010s –

Chanel Boy

This bag came out for Fall Winter 2011 and is named after the great love of Chanel’s life, Boy Chapel. Since its release, this style continues to be high in demand and now comes in many sizes, colors, and materials. 

product image of chanel boy bag FASHIONPHILE
Hermes Mini Kelly

Due to the everlasting love for Kelly bags, the introduction of the Mini Kelly 20, first appearing around 2016, has started a Mini Kelly frenzy. If you’re ready to get your hands on one we got ‘em

product image of hermes mini kelly FASHIONPHILE

2020s –

Bottega Veneta Jodie Bag

This decade began with embracing the “no logo” trend and what brand comes to mind? Bottega Veneta of course. The resurgence of this iconic name is thanks to Daniel Lee and his work. But most of all, the Jodie bag is what changed the course of Bottega Veneta history, giving it that youthful flair it needed to be relevant again. Jodie’s signature hobo shape and artfully twisted knot makes this style truly iconic. 

product image of bottega veneta mini jodie bag FASHIONPHILE
From the Louis Vuitton Speedy to the Gucci Bamboo Top Handle, these groundbreaking designs have rightfully earned their place in handbag history. They’re quite simply, legendary. Our 2022 Ultra-Luxury Resale Report reveals the top-sellers that time and again prove the core classics never lose their merit or ever go out of style. Shop all ultra-luxury handbags at FASHIONPHILE.