The 2000s will be remembered for many things: It’s the era when social media started to saturate society, smartphones infiltrated every pocket, reality TV started to catch on, and the Kardashians became bonafide pop culture phenomenons. For the fashion crowd, however, the early 2000s will be remembered as the era during which It bags officially became a thing.
In the nearly two decades since the millenium and today, designer handbag became a symbol of status and style thanks in large part to celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kate Moss, who started carrying the now-famous bags by Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Givenchy, prompting women to save hard in order to own a piece of the luxury for themselves.
To reminisce about the iconic handbags that defined the early ’00s—especially in the wake of the news that Vuitton would be retiring its early-2000s stalwart, the Murakami monogram—we talked with Kelli Seid from Bag Borrow or Steal, a site to rent designer handbags–to come up with a definitive list of the styles we all desperately coveted over the last 15 years.
Keep clicking, and take a stroll down memory lane.
Balencaiga Motorcycle Bag
Released in 2000, Balenciaga's Motorcycle Bag is the design that spurred a thousand copies--including one very similar style by Steve Madden that landed the retailer in hot water in 2014. Sienna Miller, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Kate Moss are all fans of the original.
Fendi's Baguette is the original It bag, and first hit the mainstream in 2001--around the time when its sleek, streamlined shape landed on "Sex and the City." One encounter in particular resonates with baguette lovers--when Carrie took a wrong turn downtown, was held-up at gunpoint, and asked to hand over her bag. “It’s a baguette,” she explained to the gunman, handing over her precious purple handbag, and adding the style to wish lists across the world.
Mulberry's sleek brown Bayswater bag is arguably the company's most famous handbag design. Designer Nicholas Knightly joined the brand in 2002 and set out to release a timeless bag that was simultaneously structured and soft--and the Bayswater was born.
The British bag became a must-have after appearing on the arm of the ultimate UK supermodel, Kate Moss. Over the following years, it became a fixture in the front row at runway shows, brandished by editors and almost every celebrity in sight. The bag's signature postman’s lock secures a leather flap closure, and the top handles handles are designed to be carried in the crook of the arm or over your shoulder.
Louis Vuitton Mulicolore Monogram Collection
Louis Vuitton’s Takashi Murakami-designed Mulicolore monogram collection first made a splash in 2003, just as Paris Hilton was hitting the peak of her pop culture career with “The Simple Life,” Jessica Simpson was the Kim Kardashian of the tabloids, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were
bag ladies teenagers fond of bug-eyed sunglasses and Venti lattes.
Marc Jacobs, then the label’s creative director, called on pop artist Murakami to redesign Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2003 accessories range, and the result was a candy-colored explosion that included the rainbow-colored monogram, as well as collections emblazoned with bright cherry blossoms and Panda Geant characters—all a departure from the brand’s signature brown and tan palette. It's rumored that Louis Vuitton plans to discontinue to collection this year.
Chanel 2.55 Reissue
Reintroduced in 2005, the Chanel 2.55 Reissue Flap was popularized by Karl Lagerfeld in February that year. The style was released in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic 2.55 bag, and is an exact copy of the original design. The term '2.55' refers to the first release of the style by Coco Chanel in February of 1955.
Released in Spring 2015, Chloe's Paddington bag was swiftly spotted on the arm of the tastemakers of '05, inculding Nicole Richie, Nicky Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and "OC" girl-of-the-moment, Mischa Barton.
Fendi Spy Bag
Inspired by a classic detective’s satchel, waitlists piled up in 2005 with people desperate to shell out over $2,000 for their Fendi Spy handbag. Celebrites like Victoria Beckham, Hilary Duff, Ashley Olsen, Ashley Tisdale, Nicole Richie, and Ashlee Simpson have all been seen carrying the style in either its monogram print or a solid color.
In 2006, when Nicky Hilton, Kate Moss, and Jessica Alba were all at their height of fame, they chose to carry this bag. The YSL Muse was also reinvented in 2008 as the YSL Muse Two.
Hilary Duff, Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie, Ashley Tisdale, Jennifer Garner, and Reese Witherspoon are just few of the famous women who have worn Givenchy's iconic Nightingale. While the style peaked in popularity back in 2006, today, the style's still spotted on the arms of fashion girls at Fashion Week in New York and Europe.
Proenza Schouler PS1
Released in 2008, Proenza Schouler's PS1 was an early design by Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez. It was supposed to be an "anti It-bag" and something that would last, instead of a passing fad like some of the logo and buckle-adorned bags that preceded it. For that reason, the bag had no logo, and was designed with a low-key, anonymous feel. They did not show it on the runway, with the intention that the PS1 would transcend seasons--which, despite certainly become a hot ticket item, it did.
You recognize this style from the wardrobes of Jessica Alba, Mary Kate Olsen, Nicky Hilton, Leighton Meester, Reese Witherspoon, Kirstin Dunst, and Mandy Moore.
Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse Tribute Collection
In 2009 Marc Jacobs released a a limited-edition collection of pieces at Louis Vuitton as a tribute to the fashion brand's triumphant graffiti collection that was famously designed by Stephen Sprouse in 2001. The tribute capsule hit Louis Vuitton boutiques nationwide and included the graffiti artist's rendition of the fashion brand's logo. "I did my best, in a very first degree way, to do what I think Stephen would have done, or has done, in terms of fashion," Marc Jacobs said at the time. Needless to say, the line was a hit.
Alexander Wang Rocco
In 2010 Alexander Wang was hitting his stride and asserting his place as the kind of up-and-coming label fashion girls wanted to be seen in, something that was certainly aided by the success of Wang's studded Rocco bag.
Stella McCartney Falabella
First released for Stella McCartney's fall 2010 collection, the Falabella bag remains a first pick--even in 2015.
When Valentino debuted its first Rockstud bag on the spring 2011 runway, the fashion house released an fashion phenomenon. In fact, in an interview with Style.com, Valentino creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli revealed that—since the Rockstud collection launched in 2010—the brand’s sales have more than doubled, with revenue in 2014 alone getting a 36% boost thanks to a massive increase in accessories sales.
Saint Laurent Sac De Jour
Minimalists instantly flocked to Saint Laurent's sleek Sac De Jour bag when it first landed in 2013.
Released under creative director Hedi Slimane, the style was designed as a modernized take on the classic Birkin shape, and has been worn by Rachael Zoe, Reece Witherspoon, Jessica Simpson--and just about every street style star to sit front row. Fast-forward two years and the bag is available in four sizes and multiple colors.
Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag
The bucket bag has officially reached street style cult status, and none more so than Mansur Gavriel’s minimalist version that was released in 2014. The young label has managed to achieve the impossible: Design bags that have the fashion crowd in a tizzy but that don’t come across as overtly trend-led or status-driven—and that are relatively affordable, as far as designer bags go.