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  • - [Hamish] Hello, I'm Hamish Bowles,

  • International Editor-at-Large of American Vogue

  • and I'm here to tell you everything you need to know

  • about the it bag.

  • You are either it or you are not.

  • [upbeat orchestral music]

  • The status bag has long been in existence,

  • from the Hermes Kelly, a practical, structured classic

  • that was subsequently named for Grace Kelly,

  • who used hers to hide her baby bump

  • and that has proved endearingly popular,

  • to Chanel's quilting and Gucci's bamboo-handled number,

  • a bag born out of post-war shortages

  • that went on to make a worldwide splash

  • on the arm of Ingrid Bergman.

  • But in the '90s, the concept of the it bag was reborn.

  • There was a perfect storm, an ideal set of conditions.

  • Let's begin with the Dior bag.

  • Initially called Chouchou, it debuted in 1995.

  • Each bag was handmade, from the charms to the Dior letters.

  • 140 separate pieces.

  • The bag truly gained popularity

  • when it was given to Diana, Princess of Wales,

  • by France's First Lady Bernadette Chirac.

  • Diana was the most photographed woman in the world,

  • and so the Chouchou became the most photographed bag.

  • In 1996, Dior renamed the bag

  • in honor of Diana, the Lady Dior.

  • Fast on its heels in 1997 came the Fendi Baguette,

  • the little bag that sat under your arm

  • like the French carry their loaves.

  • Its restrained, slim shape

  • is offset by its dizzying array of colors and materials,

  • from plain to beaded, and sequin to exotic,

  • it was in stark contrast

  • to the minimalist designs popular around this time

  • and made the bags infinitely collectible.

  • And it didn't hurt that it made a memorable appearance

  • on the arm of a trendsetting TV character.

  • - It's a Baguette.

  • - [Hamish] With the creation of the Baguette,

  • Fendi proposed a completely different type of bag

  • to the one that had dominated the market for years.

  • The Prada nylon Backpack that debuted in 1984.

  • Here, functionality took a backseat to exclusively.

  • Possessing it was now more important than using it.

  • It generated waiting lists at big department stores,

  • which, in turn, created bars about the bag.

  • This was an idea that spread through the '90s.

  • The wait list, something not always completely organic.

  • The rising power of designers

  • was another seed change in the '90s.

  • Designers had gone from small family

  • or individually-owned houses

  • to becoming the star attractions at major corporations.

  • At the turn of the '90s, John Galliano

  • was couch surfing in Paris designing what he could

  • with what he had before being hired

  • as the Creative Director of Givenchy in 1995.

  • And a year later, the Creative Director of Dior.

  • There, he found the infrastructure he needed

  • to design fashion on a global scale.

  • Marketing, mass production, worldwide distribution.

  • And with those tools, he created an icon.

  • [dinging]

  • The unconventionally-shaped Dior Saddle Bag

  • debuted on the runway

  • in Galliano's spring summer 2000 collection for the house.

  • Unlike other bags meant to be worn

  • in the crook of the carrier's arm, the Saddle Bag,

  • with short straps and kidney shape, fit snug under the arm.

  • Celebrities were drawn to the bag

  • and photos of them carrying it spread around the world.

  • And of course, another Carrie Bradshaw endorsement

  • upped the bag's profile.

  • [dinging]

  • Balenciaga's Lariat, aka city bag, aka motorcycle bag,

  • is the it bag that almost didn't get produced.

  • [upbeat music]

  • In 2001, Balenciaga designer, Nicolas Ghesquiere,

  • crafted a prototype of bag that seemed simple,

  • just hardware and luxury leather,

  • but it was unlike other bags of the era

  • for a number of reasons.

  • At the time, luxury leather's most common use

  • was in a fixed, rigid structure.

  • But the Moto Bag was soft and flexible.

  • Yet another notable difference from bags at the time.

  • there was no logo.

  • After Kate Moss and several other models

  • fawned over the prototype in his studio,

  • Ghesquiere famously decided to go ahead

  • and produce 25 more.

  • He gifted them to Moss and her fellow models

  • and the powers that be were finally convinced

  • and the motorcycle bag went on

  • to be an enduring best seller.

  • But for all the sensational bags being produced,

  • many fell short of becoming it bags.

  • Designers had to constantly innovate

  • to stay ahead of the crowd.

  • Marc Jacobs, then at Louis Vuitton,

  • took things one step further to make sure his bag stood out,

  • collaborating with major artists.

  • First, with Stephen Sprouse and the Graffiti Bag.

  • Then, in a partnership with artist Takashi Murakami,

  • he recreated the classic LV monogram in 33 colors

  • on a black or white background.

  • Jacobs allowed Murakami even more say

  • than Sprouse in the ultimate design,

  • giving the artist explicit permission

  • to subvert the brand guidelines.

  • Jacobs described the bag as a monumental marriage

  • of art and commerce, and Murakami's work

  • became one of the most in-demand accessories on the market.

  • By this time, you couldn't open a magazine

  • without seeing a celebrity flaunting an it bag.

  • For a long time, models were looked at

  • as the purveyors of fashion trends,

  • but somewhere around the '90s,

  • celebrities began taking models' places

  • on women's magazine covers.

  • But more than that, there was a time

  • when the internet was bringing celebrity style

  • to our daily attention and e-commerce

  • eventually made buying their looks easy

  • and convenient, if not cheap.

  • Phoebe Philo, Designer at Chloe,

  • observed all this and took it the next level.

  • Instead of releasing a bag and hoping celebrities

  • in the limelight would be drawn to it, the Chloe Paddington,

  • was strategically gifted to celebrities

  • who couldn't step outside without being photographed.

  • Instantly recognizable for its logo padlock,

  • it rapidly claimed cult status.

  • In 2005, Chanel Designer, Karl Lagerfeld,

  • took a very different approach.

  • Instead of starting from scratch, he created a reissue

  • of the very popular quilted chain handle flat bag,

  • originally designed by Coco Chanel

  • for her February 1955 Haute Couture Collection.

  • Creating exact replicas of the 50 year old iconic bag

  • was risky, but paid off.

  • The re-imagined classic proved to be an immense success

  • with a whole new generation.

  • But perhaps what Lagerfeld most notably achieved here

  • was opening the eyes of the big brands

  • to the power of nostalgia and legacy.

  • Today, it's exponentially harder for one bag

  • to dominate a season and rise to the it bag status.

  • There are faster cycles in fashion now, for one thing,

  • and even concurrent fads.

  • With the dynamic new generation of creative directors

  • at the helm of legacy brands,

  • Alessandro Michele at Gucci, Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga,

  • JW Anderson at Loewe, and Daniel Lee at Bottega Veneta,

  • to name but a few, all hard at work

  • re-imagining historic classics and creating new must-haves,

  • the next it bag could be coming from anywhere at any time.

  • [upbeat orchestral music]

- [Hamish] Hello, I'm Hamish Bowles,

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Everything You Need to Know About The It Bag | Vogue

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