Tracing the evolution of Dior Lady, Chanel 2.55, Hermes Kelly, and other iconic handbags

These timeless pieces are synonymous to exceptional craftsmanship.

Harper's Bazaar India

In the hushed corridors of fashion’s past, where legacy and allure dance in harmonious rhythm, lies a treasure trove of elegance that defies the confines of time. It is here, amid the curated symphony of luxury, that we find ourselves captivated by the enchanting narratives woven into the fabric of iconic handbags. These aren’t just accessories; they are living chronicles and guardians of history. Here’s a look at some of them:

Louis Vuitton Speedy: Inspired by Audrey Hepburn, the Speedy was conceived as a companion for the silver screen star. The inaugural iteration, closely akin to its larger counterpart, the Keepall became an emblem of modern femininity. The Speedy’s journey mirrored Hepburn’s own trajectory—from a luminary in her field to an enduring muse for generations to come. From the moment she graced the streets with the Speedy nestled in her arm, a symphony of desire began. 

Dior Lady: Paying homage to the charismatic Lady Diana, the bag emerged as a tribute to her affinity for this beloved label. A gesture of friendship between nations gave rise to the epitome of sophistication. The First Lady of France bestowed upon Princess Diana the meticulously crafted leather masterpiece. Adorned with delicate letter charms, the bag encapsulates the essence of Christian Dior himself. 

Hermes Kelly: Inspired by the regal Grace Kelly, the bag came into existence as an ode to her unmatched persona. An insignia of refinement, it has surpassed the realm of mere fashion. It was in the spotlight of Hollywood glamour that Kelly found its muse. The Princess of Monaco’s demeanour caught the world’s attention, and her love for this exquisite label turned into an iconic partnership. From actress to princess, her journey mirrored the bag’s evolution to an ideal of opulence. Suspended gracefully from the arms of connoisseurs of true refinement, it transforms into a declaration of prestige. Much like a treasured heirloom, it is made to be persevered. 

Fendi Baguette: Introduced in the late 1990s, the Baguette quickly became an iconic accessory, beloved for its compact size and distinctive shape. The brainchild of Silvia Venturini Fendi, the Baguette was inspired by a desire for a chic and functional everyday bag. The name was derived from its resemblance to the French loaf of bread, which could be carried conveniently under the arm. This innovative design concept resulted in a fashion revolution. The bag was first introduced in 1997 as part of Fendi’s Spring/Summer collection and swiftly garnered attention for its unique, eye-catching aesthetics. Over the years, the Fendi Baguette has evolved to reflect changing trends while maintaining its timelessness. Collaborations with artists and designers have further enriched its legacy. 

Chanel 2.55: The name itself, ‘2.55’, pays homage to the month and year of its inception—February 1955. A stroke of genius, the 2.55 was a departure from conventional norms, designed to liberate women from the constraints of impractical handbags. This shape reverberated the architecture of the Place Vendôme, a place of significance in Coco’s life. The mademoiselle lock, serves as a nod to her unwed status, in contrast to the prevalent use of married women’s initials on bags of that era. Hidden within the folds of the 2.55 are stories waiting to be discovered. The interior zippered compartment, was revolutionary at the time. It allowed Coco to conceal love letters and other personal items, reflecting independence and privacy. Fast forward to the present, and the bag remains a beloved emblem of sophistication. 

Gucci Jackie: The Gucci Jackie Bag owes its name to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis—Former First Lady of the United States. Created in the late 1950s, the bag was originally known as the “Constance” in honour of the then-First Lady. However, it wasn’t until Jackie Kennedy was spotted carrying the bag in the 1960s that it became forever associated with her impeccable style. Its signature hobo shape, characterised by a single iconic piston closure embodies a sense of understated luxury. As the decades rolled on, the bag evolved while retaining its timeless essence.