B2 High-Intermediate US 50 Folder Collection
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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.
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.
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]
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Everything You Need to Know About The It Bag | Vogue

50 Folder Collection
Courtney Shih published on February 18, 2020
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