We often talk about ‘investment pieces’, the things that will supposedly see you through a lifetime of wardrobe crises.
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to a replica handbag. A well-chosen one really can last you forever, and even become a valuable heirloom after you’re gone (sorry, bit morbid).
Here, we round up the bags that are really worth pumping your hard-earned, hard-saved money into…
Celine Classic Box Bag
Ever since Phoebe Philo took the reigns at French fashion house Celine in 2008, the brand has become a byword for what’s hot now.
Philo and Celine’s former head of accessories Johnny Coca – now creative director at Mulberry – created a plethora of instant ‘it bags’, but none more so than the beautifully minimalist Classic Box Bag.
It debuted in 2011 and is an update on a much-loved bag from the Celine archives. The most notable changes from the original are the clasp, a simple rectangular gold clasp replaces the horse-and-carriage metal clasp that represented the brand’s former logo, and the flap has been lengthened.
The perfect size for an everyday bag, it fits all your essentials and can be worn cross-body, as a clutch or as a shoulder bag.
Available every season in a variety of colours and leathers, it comes in two sizes, small and medium. Small starts at £1.750, while medium is £2,300.
Christian Dior Lady Dior Bag
The Lady Dior was created in 1994 with the sole purpose of becoming a classic – and it succeeded, helped along by Princess Diana.
Originally named ‘chouchou’ (French for ‘favourite’), it was given its current moniker as a tribute to the princess, who was known as Lady Diana Spencer before her marriage, in 1996 after she fell in love with it. She faithfully carried it for years.
Its key attributes are its ‘cannage’ topstitching, described by Dior as ‘a network of lines stitched vertically and diagonally create a precise harmony from which cushions of quilted leather emerge like a scattering of shimmering, faceted diamonds’, and it’s D,I,O,R charms, which hang from the top handle.
Available in a variety of colours and fabrics each season (it’s also worth scouring eBay for vintage models), and in mini, standard and large sizes, prices start at £1,900 for the smallest.
Hermes Kelly Bag
Yes, you may be expecting to see the iconic Hermes Birkin in this list and that would indeed be justified. But we think the French fashion house’s Kelly style is in fact the true investment bag.
The Kelly hasn’t enjoyed quite the level of overexposure as its label-mate, meaning its altogether more understated look and cleaner lines seems as fresh today as they did in the 1930s, when it was first created.
Known initially as the Sac à dépêches, it was renamed the Kelly in homage to Grace Kelly, a life-long fan of the style who famously used it to shield her first pregnancy from the ever-present paparazzi.
Each bag takes artisans up to 25 hours to make and it’s unfortunately as hard to get hold of as a Birkin. Prices start around £7,000, but a Kelly (or Birkin) is a proven investment, it will only increase in value thanks to its exclusivity and rareness.
Prada Galleria Bag
Though officially called the Galleria by Prada, it is better know as the Saffiano Lux bag, after the leather it is made of, which was first created and patented by Mario Prada, founder of the brand and grandfather of its current Creative Director Miuccia Prada.
The heat-treated leather is embossed with a cross-hatch pattern that increases durability, scratch-resistance, and water-resistance.
Loved for its roomy interior and simple, suitable-for-work design, it has become a true classic over the last decade.
Available in a variety of sizes, starting at £1,200.
Fendi Peekaboo Bag
Though the Peekaboo debuted in 2009, it was about five years later that its popularity really peaked.
Named after the childhood game, the Peekaboo’s defining feature is its easy-to-open and close side ‘pouch’, secured by a central clasp at the top of the designer bag, allowing you to quickly access all your essentials without having to delve around in its roomy inner compartment.
Said pouch often has a statement lining that ‘peeks’ through when the clasp is left undone.
Designed by Fendi’s Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld and available in micro, mini, regular and large, prices start at £940.