While the “It-Bag” has historical roots (one can argue it dates back to the 50s with Hermès Kelly and the Chanel flap), the true era of the It-Bag began with the Fendi Baguette, which was largely popularized by Sex and the City. A clear favorite of Carrie Bradshaw, the show featured multiple iterations of the iconic bag draped on the arm of the show’s main character and it was even referenced in the script as well. The show helped launch the bag to the masses, not just those in the fashion know, and to this very day few other designs have come close to amassing such a specific moment of pop-cultural fame.
The term It-Bag can be defined in a variety of ways but for the most part, definitions of the phrase agree that an It-Bag finds some kind of mass popularity, but in a way that reaches beyond just those privy to the what’s what in fashion. Not only do bag obsessors fawn and lust over an It-Bag, but a true It-Bag becomes a cultural phenomenon, an icon of sorts that is recognizable beyond just the scope of those in the know.
Since the late 90s when the era of the It-Bag began, there have been many cult-favorite bags that became the must-have accessory of the season, year, or in many cases a handful of them. You know, the thing that said to the world: “I’m here and I’ve made it. Look at me!”
In many cases, an It-Bag was an It-Bag only if most were unable to to get their hands on one. Take for example the Chloé Paddington, which was released in 2005 to much acclaim (Megs and Vlad spent a day driving across Germany to grab one). Characterized by its exaggerated lock and iconic slouchy shape, the Paddington was a beloved part of It-Bag history and left fans clamoring to get their hands on one.
The Louis Vuitton Monogram Multicolore Speedy, the Céline Luggage Tote, the Balenciaga Moto Bag, and many more were all once touted as the most of the moment bag at the time, and some went on to become iconic in closets while others are collector items and the popularity of others faded. But is the age of the It-Bag dead or is it still alive and well?
Sure, there are bags of today that have a pretty massive popularity, seen on celebs and influencers, and spotted on the streets of major cities (think the Dior Book Tote, Bottega Veneta’s The Pouch and Louis Vuitton’s Multi-Pochette), but few of these bags have moved beyond the larger fashion scope, and social media is in large part to blame. Did social media kill the age of the It-Bag?
Because of social media apps like Instagram and TikTok, popular bags or styles reach instant fame thanks to the broad reach of our phones and the ever popular drop-day tactic adopted by today’s big luxury players. A popular bag or style never has the time to truly reach icon status because by the time a bag has reached beyond the borders of those in the know, those exact people have already moved on to the next best thing. Influencers and content creators are constantly looking to create fresh content to remain relevant within the highly saturated social media market. And if the person or subset of people who popularized a particular item have already moved on to something else, a broader range of people are no longer going to want it. On top of that, there’s the notion of many consumers being turned off by the relationship of influencers and brands. To break it down further, social media has taken away the time needed to an item to truly develop It-Bag status.
Do you think the age of It-Bag is really dead?