From Lady Di to Audrey Hepburn: The Fashion History of France is "made of" bags

Models, princesses, pop stars: to this day, numerous French luxury houses owe "magical" sales to those icons who carry their bags in public. The aura of prestige is something that cannot be explained by pure design.
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One flight later or another seat on the plane and the world of luxury bags would look significantly different today. Or: What if Grace Kelly hadn't liked a trapezoidal, minimalist bag? Or: What if Audrey Hepburn had not wanted a small version of a famous Louis Vuitton bag? These are questions that can rightly be asked. Because they all influence the world of accessories, luxury goods and are pop icons in their own right. From Lady Dior to Birkin Bag, from Kelly Bag to Speedy. They are all part of the Olympus. Copied a thousand times over and surrounded by an aura that can only be achieved with the legend of true heritage.

Lady Diana x Lady Dior

As an icon of the house, the "Lady Dior" handbag is symbolically linked to the story of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. In September 1995, on the occasion of the opening of the Paul Cézanne retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris, the First Lady of France presented her with a Dior bag, which was not yet on the market at the time and was called "Chouchou". In November of the same year, the princess embarked on an official trip to Argentina: When she got off the plane in Buenos Aires, she appeared with the bag she had been given a few weeks earlier; a scene immortalised in a photo that went around the world.

The accessory became one of Lady Di's must-haves. She also wanted it in a navy blue version to match her eye colour. Thanks to this exceptional godmother, who loved the bag's modern, elegant curves - and simply because it "looked good on her", as she said herself - the bag was officially renamed "Lady Dior".

Audrey Hepburn x Speedy Bag 25

That Audrey Hepburn created a classic is probably one of the best-known unknown stories of the fashion universe. The Hollywood actress with the famous doe eyes, who already lifted Hubert de Givenchy to the fashion Olympus through "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and thus made the little black dress a "wardrobe staple", also made herself immortal with a bag. And this one comes from Louis Vuitton. 

And the story goes something like this: Audrey Hepburn loved Louis Vuitton for her travel accessories and opted for the Speedy as her hand luggage. After her success in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", she had the Speedy made, but five centimeters smaller. Probably to match her height. Hepburn, who rarely let her Speedy out of her sight, could be seen with it in numerous Paparazzi photos from 1965 onwards. Since then, the Louis Vuitton Speedy has been a legend and Louis Vuitton still produces the size 25.

To this day, the Speedy bag by Louis Vuitton is available in different sizes and has already had different canvas surfaces, sometimes colourful or classic brown. The Speedy is produced in four sizes: 25, 30, 35 and 40, with the numbers indicating the centimetres of length.  

Grace Kelly x Kelly Bag by Hermès

Did you know that the Hermès Sac à dépêches is the actual name for the Kelly Bag? The name Kelly Bag only came after the incredible popularity and attention it received when Grace Kelly hid her baby bump. By then, she was already Princess of Monaco and besieged by the press. A staple in her wardrobe, the Sac à dépêches was often worn by her. 

In 1935, the bag first appeared on the market as the "Petit Sac Haut à Courroies". Today, it is one of the oldest bags in the Hermès family. The series was created before the advent of the automobile. The Hermès Kelly Bag is made of Courchevel (calfskin) and with its trapezoidal body has already been the godmother of many other bag models from other designer brands. 

Gisele Bündchen x Luella Bag by Mulberry

Ok, we have to admit it: This is not a French fashion house, but nevertheless, we have to tell this story!

Not many will remember the Luella Bag, but in the Y2K trend with the fashion revival of the 2000s, it is already back in some niches. The bag represents the revival of the British brand Mulberry, which was able to start its glamorous rise (for a few years) with it. 

It was one of those moments that made unimagined fashion history: When the then uber-model Gisele Bündchen walked the catwalk as the brand's First Face in 2002 and the bag was briefly renamed the "Gisele Bag" by fashion journalists, she had come to the end of a long story that began when designer Luella Bartley couldn't afford to produce bags herself. So she approached the then Mulberry CEO Stuart Vevers, who had her design the "Luella Bag" without further ado. 

With its heart-shaped "bag charm" and bondage-like straps, it was the "bag du jour" that sold out in no time thanks to Bündchen's radiance and appeal. The handbag is considered one of the first it-bags of the new millennium. With a "starting price" of £595, it was also still reasonably affordable.

Luella Bartley can still remember the wild time almost 20 years ago and once told in an interview: "It wasn't planned. The press went wild and the bag became known as the Gisele Bag. I didn't plan it at all and apologised to Gisele Bündchen for it, wrote her a letter." 

Jane Birkin x Birkin Bag by Hermès

Finally! We tell you here about the most famous part of French fashion history! 

It was a flight from Paris to London in 1981 that would change the fashion and bag world forever. Like no other design house, Hermès inscribed itself in the history of the most coveted bags with the Birkin Bag, creating an icon that can actually be traced back to a small basket. Jane Birkin's little basket, which she tried to fit into the hand luggage compartment of the plane and complained to the then Hermès CEO, Jean-Louis Damas, who - after upgrading Birkin to business class - was a seatmate that day, that there were no suitable bags for women that offered enough space. On a small piece of paper, the first Birkin Bag was created that day. 

However, the Birkin Bag was not an instant hit after its release but has only gained its status in the luxury Olympus over the years. The price increases of the last few years, including the record prices achieved at auctions around the world, incidentally do their bit to create the legend. 

The many variations, such as different colours, leather or metal fittings, make each Birkin a very special one. The first one Jane Birkin got from Hermès, by the way, is in a simple, classic black with gold fittings.



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