For most 20-somethings, the idea of splurging on every single new Saint Laurent release or a pair of Gucci sunglasses may just seem absolutely unnecessary — luxury tags can go ahead and sit on the back-burner while we down that second shot of tequila.
But once we approach the big 3-0, saving up for a series of high-quality, classic handbags is a more logical move that you’d imagine. We’re talking about ‘investment pieces‘, the things that will supposedly see you through a lifetime of wardrobe crises and cheap, trend-obsessed fast fashion. An arsenal of timeless bags (which frankly, are meant to be earned) can really last you for life — and even serve as a valuable heirloom after.
Reimagined renditions of your favourite classics like multicoloured, striped Birkins and Bvlgari’s iconic Serpenti Forever bag covered in luxurious light gold chains are sure to be a mainstay in any collector’s arsenal. There are also some new designer releases, like Balenciaga’s edgy Hourglass bag and the celebrity-favourite Bottega Veneta Jodie clutch.
It’s time to look and feel the part of a glamorous, polished adult; we’ve rounded up bags that we predict will be decade-spanning investment pieces for time to come. Below, check out the designer bags that are really worth pumping your hard-earned, hard-saved money into.
With the widespread popularity of Prada’s Re-edition bag series from the early noughties going strong, it makes good sense why the brand has decided to tap into its iconic styles from the ‘90s for inspiration this season.
The Prada Cleo bag is materialised from the desire to reimagine, with fresh, contemporary updates, the brand’s famous archival bags that reigned with “It-bag” status during the ‘90s. This updated shoulder bag sports sleek curved lines with a rounded construction on the base for a soft, streamlined feel. For the festive season, the Cleo bag rendered in a dreamy shade of aqua looks to be a unique gift to ask for and cherish for life.
Available at Prada
The latest handbag aesthetic that’s in vogue? It’s irresistible to the touch and it’s equally chic. With a soft look and feel similar to that of a bedroom pillow, this plush style with its padded quilt motif or padded leather makes for the cosiest and most playful day bag to have and to hold among the style set.
Spotted on the arms of J.Lo, Kiko Mizuhara and Narelle Kheng, the Pillow Tabby from Coach boasts a plush style alongside its its padded quilt motif – making it one of the most playful day bags in the market. What we love most about it: its soft look and feel that’s reminiscent to that of a bedroom pillow.
Available at Coach
Scroll through Instagram and you’ll find that many celebs – be it local, Chinese, Korean and Japanese – have been loving and sporting the same designer bag: the Louis Vuitton Coussin.
Launched as part of the Spring/Summer 2021 show, the star features of the bag are the monogram-embossed puffy leather, the trio pouch build and the inclusion of both a chain and canvas strap.
Made with puffy lambskin, giving it a pillow-like shape and feel, the Louis Vuitton Coussin (wbich translates to pillow), arrives in two colours for its large model – black and khaki – while the medium version is available in five – black, white, silver, red and green.
Available at Louis Vuitton
With all the massive hype surrounding Bottega Veneta’s Pouch bag, the brand’s newest releases of bags and accessories never fail to hit the sartorial mark in attaining cult-status popularity amongst A-listers and the fashion crowd.
Bottega Veneta’s Jodie bag happens to be one of the recent It-bags that we think may have serious staying power. The Jodie bag can be thought of as a re-release of the brand’s iconic Hobo bags which also sport the intrecciato weave and slouchy silhouette – but it would be more accurate to think of it as a modern contemporary reimagination of the longstanding classic.
It got its name from Jodie Foster, who once used the brand’s Hobo bags to shield her face from the paparazzi. A functional design boasting the same “squishy” pillow-soft look that propelled the Pouch to fame, we think that Bottega Veneta’s Jodie bag is one of those bags that will remain timeless even in years to come.
Available at Bottega Veneta
Introduced in late 2019, Balenciaga’s Hourglass bag has a distinctive silhouette which gives it the potential to firmly ingrain itself in the consciousness of consumers readily, allowing it to resonate as an instant icon which will stand the test of seasonal trends. It has sharp and sleek lines, a curvilinear base, and it is finished with a long flap closure with a subtle “B” logo accent.
The Hourglass comes in a variety of styles and sizes, from an XS top handle version in baby pink to a hot pink croc-embossed sling bag piece with a longer strap and even a couple of styles that are more in line with Balenciaga’s irreverent aesthetic – clad in haphazard graffiti prints. Though those designs are undeniably cool, we’d recommend investing in a more classic design in polished black or white calfskin as those tend to have greater staying power.
Available at Balenciaga
Celine’s Triomphe bag made its first appearance alongside creative director Hedi Slimane’s debut collection in late 2018. A defining characteristic of the Triomphe is the “Blazon Chaine” emblem that’s used as the clasp: two Cs separated by art deco-esque etchings in the middle. The Triomphe emblem has a deeply rooted history that’s intertwined with the House – it was adopted as a logo in 1973 when the founder of the House, Celine Vipiana, stopped in front of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe and was inspired by the chain links barricading the monument. Though it was discontinued in 2008, the emblematic logo is an undeniable classic that acts as an opulent detail for the Triomphe bag.
Available in three sizes – Teen, Medium, and Large, the Triomphe is crafted from luxuriously soft leather, sports a clean boxy silhouette and has an adjustable shoulder strap that allows you to carry it cross-body style or hung on the shoulder. This version of the Triomphe is crafted from watersnake skin in a stunning colour contrasting patchwork design; it’s a definite show-stopper that’s perfect if you’re looking for something elegant but unusual.
Available at Celine
Coined the “Supervee” bag, Valentino’s new (it was unveiled last year in December 2019) crossbody style bag is characterised by its supersized “VLogo” clasp. Sporting a cute compact shape that is short in height but wider lengthwise, the Valentino Supervee has a spacious compartment with two fold-out slip compartments and a wide shoulder strap.
Practical and contemporary, the Supervee is a great number that’s classy and not too flashy. Seen in bright colours like neon blue, on-tend beige raffia, and sharp classic tones like aubergine, the Supervee continues to be updated with new colourways and interesting fabrics every season. The all-white version crafted from smooth calfskin is a sophisticated and modern number that we’re currently obsessing over.
Available at Valentino
Just like how Bvlgari’s jewellery pieces are artful and exquisite, the luxury brand’s Serpenti Forever handbags each feel like a precious masterpiece, amassing a significant and niche fanbase.
The Serpenti Forever bag series features distinctive geometric lines, mosaic-design Serpenti head closures made from black and white enamel, and a range of silhouettes from rectangular crossbody to trapezium-shaped top handle models.
This crossbody version from Serpenti Forever universe is a unique work of art that showcases the iconic Serpenti closure with black onyx “snake eyes” instead of the usual green malachite. It is bedecked in light gold-plated chains against white agate calf leather, creating a divine, luxurious feel. Another key detail that sets it apart from the other bags in the collection is the white gold-plated chain strap inspired by the sinuous shape of a snake and etched with snakeskin-like scales.
Available at Bulgari
Remember the opulent red purse seen all over the social media pages of fashion influencers in 2018? ICYMI, that Instagram-worthy bag is Cartier’s Guirlande de Cartier, inspired by the iconic red case Cartier uses for its jewellery and watches, such as their equally iconic Juste un Clou and Love bracelets, and Baignoire watch.
The Guirlande de Cartier comes in three sizes (mini, S and M) and is fashioned from a supple calfskin upper and a buttery black calfskin lining. The perimeter of the bag is beautifully adorned with the maison’s signature golden wreath, introduced in the 18th century.
It has two straps – a top handle, and a detachable and adjustable shoulder strap. Functional? Check. Versatile? Check. The mini and S sizes are available in red, black and green, while the M size comes only in black and red.
Available at Cartier
Joining the ranks of Fendi’s past It-bags which include the Peekaboo and Baguette bag, the Kan I bag brings a breath of fresh air to Fendi’s archives of bags with its sleek silhoutte and fun styles.
Introduced in 2017, this boxy flap bag with a round top handle and the new Fendi logo plaque punctuated in the centre comes in many innovative and colourful styles with the house’s famed candy-coloured studs.
Our favourite is this cream and chocolate-hued edition with a ‘FF’ carpet embroidery panel. Showcasing logomania at its best, this soon-to-be classic has both of Fendi’s signature elements: a neutral colour palette and a sophisticated play on the FF logo.
Available at Fendi
Punctuated with hammered double bracelet handles and brass hardware, this AW’17 runway favourite conjures the spirit of its similar-looking predecessor: the Nile bag. But this ’60s inspired statement accessory holds its own with its outstanding features.
The Pixie is shaped perfectly round with a textural exterior of suede and contrasting grained leather half-moon panels. With its classic equestrian details and architecturally exquisite form, we predict that this standout bag from Chloe will be a mainstay in every fashion girl’s wardrobe for years to come.
Available at Chloe
Introduced in 2017, Saint Laurent’s Lou Lou shoulder bag features a chain strap, a v-shaped front flap, matelassé quilting effect and the label’s iconic silver-tone metal monogram plastered front and centre. It was named after muse and style icon Loulou de La Falaise – indicating, perhaps, that it would come to be as timeless as its namesake some years down the road.
The chain strap is also adjustable. Meaning: You can switch it from a shoulder bag to a cross-body style according to the occasion. A bag’s versatility is always a good measure in determining it to be a “forever bag” that’s worth the investment.
Available at Saint Laurent
Loewe’s Gate bag first garnered the attention of fashion connoisseurs when it was first shown on the runway of SS’18. Its shape informs of a classic saddle design – but elevated with a contemporary edge, giving it a modern equestrian look. Petite and chic, this new bag is sure to join the house’s existing list of icons with its distinctive rounded design and a unique knotted front belt with contrasting decorative stitches.
The versatile Gate comes in a repertoire of rich and interesting colourways. That, together with its timeless functionality, renders it perfect for every single type of woman with every single type of taste.
Available at LOEWE
If there’s any bag of Givenchy’s that deserves the most airtime right now, it’s the beautifully unadorned, minimalistic and sleek Horizon. Ever since its first appearance on the Pre-Fall 2016 runway, the tote-style satchel with a banded detail at the handle base has become a favourite staple amongst many. Incorporating the horizontal stripe native to their now famed graphic T-shirts, Givenchy’s Horizon has a wide leather panel interlacing the sides of the bag as an all-around belt accent. It also comes in 4 sizes to date: Medium, Small, Mini and Nano.
Built to last, as a testament to the brand’s detailed execution of quality control, the Horizon is nothing but the epitome of simplicity at its finest.
Available at Givenchy
The Hermes Birkin needs no introduction. Otherwise known amongst the fashion tribe as ‘The Holy Grail’ of investment handbags, this classic has always been the go-to option for any woman who’s been eyeing designer bags. For its Resort 2018 collection, Hermes gave its iconic bag a twist: colourful pipings. Presented in bright colours with contrasting borders and colour block pattern, these new designs will surely be a must-have.
They’re a less serious, less “by-the-book” iteration of the former classic, and they’re perfect for those who’d prefer to show off some personality with their investment pieces.
Available at Hermes
Dior’s iconic bag, the Lady Dior, features all the hallmarks of Dior leather goods: soft calfskin topstitched with the iconic Cannage motif, rounded handles and D.i.o.r charms.
Reinterpreted in Dior’s Cruise 2018 collection with a larger size, off-white Canyon grained calfskin, and the signature charms in aged silver-tone metal, this bag has already established itself as a decade-enduring classic with its timeless form and understated elegance.
Available at Dior
Gucci’s Ophidia bag, which came down the runway during the Cruise 2018 presentation, is designed to a domed shape reminiscent of the house’s 1970s designs. The newest addition to the GG family has all the makings of a timeless must-have; it’s versatile, roomy enough to carry all your daily essentials and features the House’s signature imprint: the tonal-brown GG supreme canvas.
It has an inlaid Web-stripe detail, a crackled-leather effect trim, logo pull-tab charms, and even has cardholders on the inside for organisation purposes. See it up close on video here.
Available at Gucci
Named Cahier, which is french for notebook, this Prada bag first debuted on the runway of Fall 2016 and has been regarded as an ‘It bag’ amongst street style stars and fashion insiders everywhere. Inspired by the bindings of an antique book, it’s structured box-shaped form renders it as the perfect mix between classic and contemporary. The range has been selling well since its first launch a couple of seasons back, with limited number of pieces for sale each time around whenever a new design launches.
Prada’s Resort 2018 collection features the Cahier with Liberty prints and illustrations from Taiwanese-American visual artist James Jean, but we still think that the original black leather Cahier with gold hardware will be a long-staying classic synonymous with millennial tastes.
Available at Prada