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Vintage Designer Handbags

The perfect handbag.  An expression of very personal taste no other accessory has the ability to make such a style statement on its own.  The perfect handbag is something we buy for ourselves. It may follow your style but it is always bought for your sole enjoyment (and possibly to inspire a little envy in others!)  While we might wear clothes which might, on occasion, increase our allure, a bag is never going to be part of the attraction. We doubt an admirer would ever say: ‘she had a lovely smile, great hair and the most beautiful bag’!  But this does not diminish the importance we place on the handbags in our lives or the way we want to wear them day to day, (with or without admirers.)  Handbags in the 20th century also importantly represent a woman’s independent life outside the home. 

Over the 20th century women in the public eye have had their names inextricably linked to iconic bags.  As an expression of their style and characters, they have been part of famous photographs of these women which are still admired today for their timeless style.  Hermès is a brand which has most famously associated its creations with their wearers.  Famously, the 1930s ‘Sac à dépêches’, a popular forerunner of the vintage box bags of later decades, was worn by Grace Kelly in Hitchcock’s ‘To Catch and Thief’ in 1954 and later used by the Princess to hide her baby bump, eventually rechristened the ‘Kelly’ bag in 1977.  And what bag could be better known than the bag which still stands at the very top of the luxury handbag market: The Birkin.  So named after actress Jane Birkin who, in 1983, on a flight from Paris to London bemoaned the lack of good leather weekend bags to the then Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas.  Dumas went on to adapt a 1982 bag in black leather and the Birkin was born.

However, not every vintage bag has to be a vintage designer bag.  Unknown masters of the art from the past 100 years have created handbags synonymous of their era and which not only chart the progression of vintage handbags through the century but also still maintain timeless style, elegance or charm and can be all the better for the mild patina their age has afforded them.  You can find simple form and function of the 1940s when, in post war Britain, Vogue encouraged readers to spend wisely and ‘chose large important bags and good shoes and gloves.’ Through early flap bags called ‘swing bags’ of the  1950s, patent leather and plastic creations of the 1960s, suede, applique and saddle bags of 1970s and beyond.  Vintage handbags continue to inspire current designers and, when a design is perfect, those styles never go out.  Find your perfect vintage designer bag from the Open for Vintage collection.

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Chanel Mini Beige Quilted Handbag

Chanel late 1980s - early 1990s quilted beige leather handbag with shot gold tone chain handles

Chanel Red Quilted Camera Style Shoulder Bag

Chanel camera case style bag with quilted red leather, a zip top and gold tone chain shoulder strap

Chanel Beige Leather 10" Classic Flap Bag

Classic Chanel 10" flap bag in beige quilted leather with gold tone hardware

Chanel Bi Colour Beige and White Mini Flap Bag

Chanel beige leather quilted flap bag with white contrast edge and sides and gold tone hardware

Vintage Chanel Black and Red Trim lap bag

Chanel vintage flap bag in black quilted leather with red leather trim and gold tone hardware

Louis Vuitton Lilac Epi Leather Honfleur Shoulder Bag

Louis Vuitton Honfleur bag in lilac epi leather

Chanel Long Black Leather Wallet

Chane long style wallet with a tongue clasp and textured black leather

Gucci Guccissima PVC Black Boston Handbag

Gucci boston style zip top bag in black Guccissima PVC with black trim and classic Gucci blue and red webbing stripe.

Gucci Bamboo Woven Leather Brown Tote Bag

Gucci tote bag with bamboo curved handle and detachable should strap

Fendi Zucchino Jacquard Brown Tote Bag

Fendi tote bag in Zucchino jacquard fabric with leather handles

Fendi Zucca PVC Brown Tote Bag

Fendi tote bag in brown Zucca Monogram print PVC

Fendi Zucca Jacquard Brown Shoulder Bag

Fendi should bag in brown Zucca monogram jacquard canvas with brown leather trimming

Louis Vuitton Monogram Danube Shoulder Bag

Louis Vuitton Danube bag in classic monogram canvas

Gucci Suede Bamboo Red Backpack

Gucci backpack in red suede with leather straps and trim, contrast stitching and bamboo handle and clasp

Gucci Black Nylon Bamboo Backpack

Gucci black nylon backpack with black leather straps and trim and bamboo handles and clasp

Gucci Brown Leather Bamboo Backpack

Gucci bamboo backpack in tan brown leather with gold tone hardware and bamboo handle and clasp

Prada Nylon Saddle Bag Style Black Shoulder Bag

Black nylon buckle front shoulder bag with black leather trim

Prada Zip Top Black Nylon Handbag

Prada zip top back nylon bag with rolled black leather handles and key clochette.

Prada Canvas Purple Trim Tote Bag

Prada pale brown canvas tote bag with the Prada logo and purple leather handles and top trim

Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas Pouch

Louis Vuitton zip top pouch in monogram canvas with D ring strap

Louis Vuitton 1990s Monogram Porte Tresor International

Louis Vuitton Porte Tresor International in monogram canvas with gold tone hardware

Chanel Classic Medium Red Lambskin Leather Double Flap Bag

This Chanel classic medium red double flap features a quilted lambskin leather body>

Louis Vuitton Marilyn Black Multicolor Monogram Canvas Hand Bag

Authentic Louis Vuitton Marilyn bag in black multicolor monogram canvas

Rare Louis Vuitton Alma Green Epi Leather Hand Bag

Authentic Louis Vuitton Alma bag in Epi leather.

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