Man Bags    Saint Laurent

The Return of the Saint Laurent Downtown Bag

Given a rebrand for the boys...


Few elements defined early 2000s handbags like smushy and soft textured leathers, slouchy silhouettes, and moto-style details. And if you loved handbags during the early aughts, then it’s likely you owned or coveted a YSL bag. If you were looking for smush, slouch, and a trendy bag that would make every It-girl jealous, YSL was it.

From handbag hits like the iconic Muse to the Mombasa, the Yves Saint Laurent’s of the early days will go down in handbag history. This Winter, Anthony Vacarello has taken a step into the YSL archives, bringing back a long-forgotten bag from the early aughts, but this time, it’s being rebranded as a man bag.

Do you remember the Yves Saint Laurent Downtown Tote? Let’s discuss it!

A Step Back in Time

The Downtown Tote was released at a time when Saint Laurent was still Yves Saint Laurent. Under the direction of designer Stefano Pilati, YSL finally joined the top of the handbag market, becoming as covetable as its peers. Pilati, who was also responsible for the iconic Muse, which is largely considered by many to be the brand’s first It-bag, designed the Downtown Tote in late 2006, shortly after the Muse. The Downtown tote was a top choice for the It-girls of the day like Kate Moss, Hilary Duff, and Jessica Biel. It was re-released each season in new iterations.

Hilary Duff
Hilary Duff
Kate Moss
Kate Moss

Defined by its slouchy silhouette, the original Downtown tote featured a top zip with sloping sides, a front pocket with a side zipper, and moto-style belt buckles. The new version of the Downtown Tote, which just dropped for the Fall/Winter season, resembles the original with classic masculine codes as it is being released as part of the Men’s luggage line. Available in black lambskin with nickel oxide hardware, the new Saint Laurent Downtown retails for $2,690.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, run, don’t walk, to the resale market because you can snag an original for a great price.



Leave a Comment

  1. Antonia Avatar

    I hope I’m not the only one who feels this way but I’m tired of designers bringing back it bags. The new bags are never as nice as the originals so you’re better off buying second hand and savings $$$. It’s like they run out of fresh ideas or something. Oh well.

    1. A Woman Of A Certain Age Avatar
      A Woman Of A Certain Age

      Luxury brands have run out of money.

    2. psny15 Avatar

      I’m bored as well – lacks innovation and creativity

    3. KdB Avatar

      And was this one even really an “It” bag? There were so many others that were so much more “It”.

    4. Laura W Avatar
      Laura W

      Nearly all luxury and designer brands go back to their archives and bring back bags, clothes, shoes and jewellery from previous eras with changes and tweaks. Fashion and fashion styles do this regardless across the board.

  2. Burn Avatar

    It looks like something that should cost $49.

  3. SonShownu Avatar

    it’s giving the vibes of Gossip Girl era.

  4. Vesna Avatar

    That is truly a luxurious bag in person. I left 3 in my possession in amazing leathers and sizes, and did not sell them when I sold others from that era like the Muse. I also left a few Muse II in various leathers. When you come close to the bag you realize there is something special. The mild gold of the hardware paired with amazing leather look just luxe. The title example is not a particularly good one. Love Downtown ! And it is still the most practical tote I own

  5. C.K. Avatar

    All the present designers of all brands can’t creat anything new and have to bring the IT bag back.