It bags may come and go, but when buying a designer handbag and parting with such a significant amount of money, you want to be certain that it’s something that is truly deserving of the title of “investment piece.” This is an item that you want to have by your side for years, if not decades. Yes, love is a big part of it, but this is also a purchase that requires a certain amount of research and consideration. There are certain heritage houses that are known to hold their value but that also create timeless, beautiful designs that ensure their key styles are continued for decades. Gucci is one of these very labels.
Looking through a Gucci collection is like diving into an eclectic dressing-up box—you’re met with more crystals, bold colours, wacky prints and feathers than you’d see at an Elton John concert. Alessandro Michele’s vision for Gucci might be flamboyant, but he also has a real appreciation of the history and love for the classic heritage pieces of the Italian house. “I love this brand. It’s an amazing platform,” he told Another magazine. “It’s a brand that has the most amazing history and the most contemporary appeal. It’s like a very beautiful old lady that you can’t resist—every day, you discover something new.” As with any luxury fashion house, handbags are a significant part of the business, and Michele has revisited neglected designs and styles from the archive. There is certainly a rich history, as the brand started creating GG canvas suitcases in the 1930s, and the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy all had Gucci handbags. There are three handbag styles, in particular, which we believe have true staying power, so keep reading for an introduction to their history.
The 1955 Horsebit Bag is a recent launch from the house and is based on archival designs from 1955. It has a simple saddle-shaped silhouette, with an elegant flap and equestrian-inspired horsebit hardware. Thanks to its classic design, this is an It bag that has longevity. It comes in simple leather versions and printed versions with leather trims.
The Jackie is another archival piece from the ’60s. It was initially named after Jackie Kennedy and has been a hero Gucci item for years. In 2020, it was relaunched with a bit of a makeover—pastel leathers, cleaner lines and an additional strap, keeping the classic gold clasp. Harry Styles has one in black.
The Dionysus is one of Michele’s own designs for the house. Although a classic, it has a touch of his vintage, eccentric flair. The shoulder bag has a flap fixed with a tiger-head clasp, which is a nod to the Greek god Dionysus, who crossed the river Tigris on a tiger.
Centred around the brand’s archival GG symbol, the Gucci Marmont line includes totes, shoulder bags, bucket bags, circular shapes and mini designs. Some of the line’s most popular models come in classic cream and black leathers, seen on the likes of Slip into Style.
Ophidia is a line of bags that debuted on the Cruise 2018 catwalk at the Pitti Palace in Florence, and features the iconic inlayed ‘Web’ detail and a shiny gold GG Marmont tab. A great option for those who like the brand’s more retro-inspired pieces.
One of the most recent re-imaginings from the brand, the Gucci Diana features a distinctive bamboo handle, which was first presented by the House in 1991. The bag has been reimagined by Alessandro Michele in three different sizes with removable, neon leather belts, which is a nod to the functional bands that once came with the original bag to maintain the shape of the handles.
Next up, See our guide to the best designer bags for 2021.