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Top 5 Iconic Handbags


Hermes? We'll Take Two.

Grace Kelly used her oversized Hermes handbag as cover.
Grace Kelly used her oversized Hermes handbag as cover.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images


Introduced: 1984

Seen on: Jane Birkin, Victoria Beckham, Samantha Jones


As if launching one bag to stardom weren't enough, Sex and the City's Samantha started some serious scheming after a Hermes salesmen told her "It's not a bag, it's a Birkin!"

The iconic Hermes Birkin, named for actress Jane Birkin, with its clean, square lines; belted, sculpted-leather flap and double strap drop, is a constant in the It Bag realm. Stylish and wealthy (or purse-poor) women have been proudly carrying it since the '80s. The Birkin also has the distinction of carrying, until recently, the longest waitlist in accessory history: six years. (With the economic downtown, though, you can now walk into Hermes and walk out with a Birkin. No wait.)


Introduced: 1935

Seen on: Grace Kelly, Mary-Kate Olson, Katie Holmes

Another Hermes has an (arguably) even more impressive Hollywood cameo: In 1956, Grace Kelly famously used her beloved Hermes handbag to shield her baby bump from Paparazzi. It was henceforth known as the Hermes Kelly. It looks a lot like the Birkin but with a clean-cut flap and single strap drop.

In fashion's typical fickle style, It Bags come and go. Rapidly. But icons like Kelly, Birkin, Jackie and all the others boast one thing most bags don't: staying power. If you're going to spend, spend on legends. They'll come back around.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Buchan, Heather. "Coco Chanel's 2.55 is a piece of purse history." Metro Canada. April 15, 2010.
  • Carrie's Best Looks Ever: The Fendi Baguette. InStyle.,,20364084_20365543_20775659,00.html
  • Cartner-Morley, Jess. Grace Kelly exhibition features famous battered handbag. Guardian UK. April 16, 2010.
  • Dior's dazzlers. The Star. Dec. 7, 2008.
  • Donnally, Trish. "Postcard From Paris: What's New." SFGate. March 24, 1996.
  • Gucci Handbags. Designer Handbags 101.
  • Gucci Launches New Ad Campaign Featuring Reintroduced Iconic Handbags. Famespy. March 1, 2010.
  • Hermes Birkin Bag No Longer Has a Wait List. Huffington Post. April 26, 2010.
  • Hermes. New York Magazine.
  • Lady Dior Bag. ButterBoom. June 16, 2009.
  • Would you pay £13,000 for this bag? Belfast Telegraph. Jan. 9, 2008.


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