The Absolute Best Bags to Give This Holiday Season - See Our Gift Guide With Over 60 Options

I’m a longtime fan of Balenciaga‘s motorcycle bags. Balenciaga was the first top-tier brand from which I bought multiple bags, the first of which came from money I had saved up at my college job. Not only will they always have a special place in my heart, but the slouchy, studded styles still fit my personal style quite well almost a decade later.

I first fell in love with Balenciaga bags during the Nicolas Ghesquiere era, and now we’re two creative directors removed from his tenure at the brand, in the early days of Demna Gvasalia’s leadership. So far he’s refocused the brand’s attention to deconstructed streetwear, which is his specialty, and along with that, he’s done a little deconstruction on one of the brand’s most recognizable pieces.

Motorcycle bags have a couple visual signatures, and the most important one is the bag’s stud pattern. On the Balenciaga Blackout City AJ Bag, the pattern persists but the studs are removed; in their place, we get perforations and negative space on an ultra-matte leather background. This version of the bag’s primary detailing is the idea of the bag itself, but in a way that doesn’t look like an unfinished mock-up, and it’s my favorite City design in years.

Unfortunately, the cool idea and execution make the bag significantly more expensive than a standard City, which means I likely won’t be adding it to my collection. If your budget is a little more flexible than mine, though, this bag can be yours for $2,950 via Balenciaga.

So, you tell me: are you as into this bag as I am, or do you prefer a more traditional Balenciaga look?

P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • KloeF

    It’s a “NO” for me.

  • Max

    For almost $3,000, I expect studs lots and lots of studs.

  • memsy

    The leather looks really luscious, but for that price I’d probably buy a different bag.

  • Jen

    While I know you’re saying it DOESN’T remind you of one, as soon as i read the words “unfinished mock up” I thought YES that’s EXACTLY what it looks like to me. Pass.

  • laura

    love the leather but definitely a big NO. It looks unfinished…

  • TheModMazza

    Leave it…. at the factory.

  • Hanah

    Looks like it was stolen from the factory before it was finished

  • bir

    again done before by Hermes with the shadow Birkin still…………. I like it !!

  • Sparky

    Its HORRIBLE. Looks like a factory sample.

  • Yoshi1296

    I really love this, but I think it is just a bit too overpriced.

  • Lisa B

    Love it!! But don’t love the price. ?

    • Chris

      I think it is worth the price!

  • Yazi

    If there was ever a bag that should be retired, it’s this bag.

    • Mo

      I’ve always agreed with this, along with valentino rockstuds needing to be retired as well. But I would say this is the first city bag I have actually looked twice at, much prefer the minimalist chic approach

  • FashionableLena

    I agree with the others. It looks incomplete.

  • Matthew

    This looks so much better in person – it’s got a really neat magnetic closure across the base of the handles. Shame about the price though!

  • joy

    That bag was assembled inside out!

  • Elaine

    To me it looks like an unfinished prototype of a bag that’s in the design phase…completely unfinished. >.<

  • Maya

    Love it! Love the idea behind it!…would I buy it?…not sure, I just might!


    I vote for studded version.

  • Lucy

    Love bbags…but this one is a miss for me. Especially for the price point.


    This really very helpfull for me,I bookmark this website for the future purpose!

  • Kweenhelene

    Part of the appeal of the City bag, to me, are the studs. It’s like rock n roll chic. So for me it’s a no.

  • ellavanw

    It looks like a manufacturing defect!

  • Susan

    I love the subtlety of it; but I would never spend that amount for it.

  • I love the leather – I with they would use it for the regular city bags!

  • Kater Mikesch

    poor little bag :(

  • julie

    I like it but not the price and I miss the zippered pocket which I use all the time on my city bag

  • Mom2 12paws

    I would walk right past it. Not in my closet, not in my car, not on my arm. Don’t care about the price since I won’t be buying it.

  • Lara

    Love it – perhaps because the classic motorcycle bags don’t work for me. Would love the weekender in this but seems sold out already.

  • M Naima

    Looks like a plate from that toy: Fashion Plates Design Set. All that is missing are the paper and color pencils.

  • Lynn Z

    Love the minimalistic chic, but with the absence of more leather and hardware (studs, zippers, pocket alike) I’d expect a reduction of price. For that, I too, won’t be adding this to my collection.

  • Sarah

    I love it. It’s the only one I would consider owning so far…

  • I like it but the price is nonsense…

  • Sophie

    Love this bag so chic and clever using the signature studs as magnetic closures! Leather is so dark and mysterious!

  • Nor Kam

    It looks undone

  • AlexE

    This is the first bag since Celine came out with the trapeze that caught my eye. The leather is beautiful and the magnetic closure is very unique. The bag looks great cross body or handheld. The blackout is a YES for me.

  • Casey

    The leather is amazing but the magnets are kind of annoying to me. Overall I could live without this bag.

  • Phoebeandcassie

    Saw it in Paris and loved it! It looks much much better and luxurious in person and makes the classic city look cheap. It’s about $2300 after the VAT rebate.

  • Justice J. Srisuk

    At first glance, I actually liked the minimalist vibe of this new City™ Bag design, but upon learning that it was $2,300 (!), I feel that it’s kind of a ripoff. Maybe they should’ve made the studs and metal hardware detailing removable – like, have the studs and plaques attach to the bag using snaps or buttons so that the wearer can remove or add details as she or he sees fit. Without that, it seems like I’m paying a lot of money for a basic-a** bag!

  • Dana Schittman

    What does the “AJ” mean? I have been seeing “AJ” listed in recent Balenciaga models. No idea what it is.

  • Laura

    Yes. Have it in black, small. Valentine to myself (plain one, not graffiti version).