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I'm a fashion writer and these are the best handbag brands to instantly uplift any outfit

From Bottega Veneta to Dragon Diffusion, Fendi to Ganni, these are the labels that will never go out of style

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Chloe Gallacher
Style Writer
14 May 2024
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A sleek handbag has the power to transform and elevate any outfit and when it comes to wardrobe investments, a staple handbag is always worth it. People are usually either team shoes or team bags - but who says you can’t be both?!

Choosing the right one, and more importantly, looking after it well, results in it being a lifetime piece. With that in mind, it does make it harder to choose which piece to invest in as it needs to have a timeless appeal so it will last you through the years, and not be stowed at the back of your wardrobe, untouched. 

We love how Aylin Koeing has matched her shoes to her Bottega Veneta Andiamo bag© Getty
We love how Aylin Koeing has matched her shoes to her Bottega Veneta Andiamo bag

As the fashion industry is shifting and prices are on the rise in every aspect of life, a luxury designer bag may not be in reach for everyone. Whether you want to go all-out and splurge on a luxury designer piece, or you’re after a more affordable option that will easily be mistaken for a designer item, I’ve rounded up my top 18 brands and their staple bags to have on your radar ahead of your next purchase.

The Row 

Established in 2006 by former actresses, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, The Row is the go-to brand for timeless luxury. Focussing on simplistic designs with subtle attitudes, the brand oozes elegance and their pieces are made with uncompromising quality at the forefront. They are the pioneer for the quiet luxury trend that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. The house stays away from trends and instead opts for classic capsule pieces that will be mainstays in your wardrobe.

The Row Marguax Bag

Their Margaux bag has fast become one of the only bags within the last decade to compete with Hermès Birkin bag. Available in an array of colours, textiles and size variations, it is on the pricier side and is definitely an investment piece. 

Bottega Veneta

Founded in 1966 in Vicenza, Italy by Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro, the brand's strong heritage was based on high-quality leather accessories and shoes. Their current Creative Director, Matthieu Blazy, has been with the brand since 2021 and has redefined a new direction for them since Daniel Lee’s departure. It feels as if he has taken the brand back to a house and created new defining house codes along with it. 

Bottega Veneta Andiamo Bag

Their accessory heritage comes as no surprise as their bags are so highly sought after within the fashion sphere. At the top of our list: the Andiamo. Featuring the brand's signature intrecciato strap and gold-tone knot detailing, it comes in a multitude of sizes, shapes, colours and finishes. 

Saint Laurent 

The luxury eponymous brand was founded in 1961 by Yves Saint Laurent and his business partner, Pierre Berge, after learning his trade under Christian Dior. Initially a Haute Couture brand, they launched ready-to-wear in 1966. Following Hedi Slimane’s appointment in 2012, he shortened the name to Saint Laurent.

Saint Laurent Le 5 a 7 bag

Despite the name change, the ‘Y’ in the monograms on their bags remain. The Le 5 à 7 Leather Hobo is one of the most covetable bags available on the market. A truly timeless piece, but quite the investment so it is one to consider before buying.

Fendi

Founded in 1925 in Rome by Adele and Edoardo Fendi, the brand quickly catapulted into the international fashion scene. In 1965 Karl Lagerfeld was appointed Artistic Director of the brand, a role he held until his passing in 2019, Silvia Venturini is currently Creative Director of accessories, menswear and childrenswear at the brand and is the only family member still working there. As a third generation of the Fendi family, it really emphasises and hones in on their core founding family heritage of the brand.

Fendi Peekaboo Bag

It’s safe to say Fendi is a key player when it comes to ‘It’ bags. Following its debut in 2008, 15 years later the Peekaboo bag is still a cult fashion favourite. Featuring a square shape opened by its turn lock, its simplistic design is a staple, timeless classic that will be one to pass through generations.

Jacquemus

It’s hard to believe that the cult luxury label was only founded in 2009 by Simon Porte Jacquemus when he was just 19, launching the label a year after his mother’s passing with her maiden name. His sensational marketing methods quickly led to the rise of the label: he staged a protest at Vogue’s Fashion Night Out party with girls in his wool sweaters and miniskirts held up cardboard signs reading ‘We Want Jacquemus!’, resulting in it making it onto TV. And the rest, is as they say, history.

Jacquemus Le Bambino Bag

Whilst we love the Le Chiquito, we can’t overlook its impracticability. Le Bambino, however, is a different story. A core design from the brand and one of the best selling, it’s for sale in an array of colours, textures, sizes and finishes, each featuring the gold JACQUEMUS in the bottom left corner. Its rectangular shape and flap design makes it a capsule wardrobe must-have.

Loewe

Since his appointment as Creative Director in 2013, Jonathan Anderson has been credited for the revival of the luxury brand, originally founded in 1846, and spearheading the brand through a major rejuvenation and redesign of its identity. He has made the designs more covetable and is responsible for their modern classics that we know and love, predominantly their bags. 

Loewe Puzzle Bag

It should come as no surprise that their best selling bag, the Puzzle, is on this list - the debut bag for Jonathan Anderson back in 2015. Each season it gets an updated set of colourways, and this season we’ve seen the introduction of the Puzzle Fold Tote to the family.

Celine by Hedi Slimane

Originally founded in Paris in 1945 by Celiné and Richard Vipiana as a made-to-measure children’s shoe brand, it evolved into women’s ready-to-wear in 1960 and became part of the LVMH group in 1996, solidifying itself in the luxury market. Phoebe Philo took the helm as Creative Director in 2008, who helped make the brand's bags as covetable as they are today. She was replaced by Hedi Slimane in 2018, who is still at the brand now.

Celine Triomphe Bag

Hedi Slimane, Phoebe Philo’s successor, introduced the Triomphe bag - easily his most well known and best creation for the brand. The hardware motif pays tribute to the founders' original logo concept which was inspired by the Arc de Triomphe - he reimagined the logo and gave it a fresh update.

Givenchy 

Hubert Givenchy founded his own namesake label in 1952 after working under Elsa Schiaparelli and eventually working his way to an Artistic Director position. In 1953, Givenchy met Audrey Hepburn and the two instantly hit it off, which sparked a partnership and friendship. His most well-known garment was the black dress he created for her to wear in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Givenchy’s handbags and purses have long been amongst the most covetable and their cultural impact has been cemented.

Givenchy Antigona Bag

Following its debut on the FW10 runway, the Antigona has been synonymous with the brand ever since. Shortly after its release, every ‘It’ girl celebrity at the time was spotted wearing the bag. An original style from Riccardo Tisci, it’s no surprise that the bag is a must-have feature in this list. 

Acne Studios

Swedish label Acne Studios is not simply a fashion brand. Stylist Jonny Johansson founded the brand with three friends, initially as an advertising agency called ACNE, evolving into film production, clothing and video games. Acne Studios now sells ready-to-wear clothing and accessories, magazines, books and furnishing objects.

Acne Studios Musubi Bag

Inspired by traditional Japanese obi sashes, the Musubi bag is a square shape adorned with two knots at either side of its handle, or on the smaller designs, on the front. The whole Musubi family is rooted in Japanese culture, with its name derived from the popular snack.

Strathberry

Strathberry, the Edinburgh-based label, was founded in 2013 by husband-and-wife team Guy and Leanne Hundleby. Their minimalist and contemporary designs, featuring their signature bar closure, ensures their bags are instantly recognisable and ooze elegance. Royals Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are long-term fans of the brand, having been spotted wearing them on a number of occasions.

Strathberry East/West Bag

The East/West Mini’s timeless style with accent gold bar and adjusting strap is a true capsule wardrobe piece. The timeless silhouette has a sophisticated edge, meaning it can be taken effortlessly from day-to-night and will be a staple mainstay in any wardrobe. 

Wandler

Elza Wandler launched her namesake label in 2017. The Dutch brand specialises in luxury leather accessories and is a go-to amongst fashion insiders for cult finds. The designs are minimalistic, yet still feminine, making them a must-have versatile piece for your wardrobe. 

The Hortensia bag, the first piece the brand launched, is just as popular now as it was seven years ago. The refined shape with its expanding side panels and structured, curved base, gives it that timeless appeal.

Manu Atelier

Women-led brand, Manu Atelier, created their brand after growing up in one of Turkey’s most important leather artisan workshops watching their father design and create handbags. The contemporary cult brand favours quality over quantity and their modern designs on classic shapes have them sought after. 

Manu Atelier Cylinder Bag

Their Cylinder bags are iconic for the brand and are one of their bestsellers. Featuring its circular shape and gold-tone linked chain shoulder strap, it can be worn in a number of ways. Its unique shape adds a fun element into your wardrobe. 

J&M Davidson

Founded in London’s Notting Hill in 1984 by photographer and designer duo, John and Monique Davidson, the brand has come a long way. It began with a belt that was inspired by equestrian bridles, and has evolved into a brand that combines creative artistry with functionality. Moving into handbags, luggage, leather goods and capsule collections of RTW, the brand has kept its timeless elegance and contemporary aesthetics. 

J&M Davidson Quiver Bag

The Quiver bag was inspired by archers bags that hold arrows. The sculptural shaped bag is available in four sizes and a number of different colours, allowing it to slot easily into your everyday wardrobe.

Dragon Diffusion

A brand based around handcrafted woven leather bags. As a slightly more understated and lowkey brand, There are no logos or loud embellishments, think more timeless totes. All handmade and dyed using natural vegetable dyes, the brand draws inspiration from weaving traditions all over the world. 

Dragon Diffusion Triple Jump Bag

We’ve spotted the brand cropping up more and more on our Instagram feeds, and a cult favourite style is the Triple Jump. Its diagonal chevron weave sets the style apart from usual woven bags, and its rectangular shape will be a throw-everything-in kind of bag. Fashion moguls Ashley Olsen and Alexa Chung have been spotted wearing the brand  too, so if it’s good enough for them, it gets a yes from us.

Ganni

Copenhagen based brand, Ganni, is known and loved for their bright, statement prints and contemporary designs, different to the usual Scandi style of minimalism and usually includes a lot of black. Proudly sporting a B-Corp certificate, the brand strives for sustainability in an industry that thrives on newness and over-consumption.

Ganni Bou Bag

Unveiled at their AW23 show, the Bou bag has quickly become every fashion insiders sought after piece. Ganni has done it again and has created a must-have piece that easily slots into an everyday wardrobe, but works just as well for a special occasion. 

DeMellier 

London-based label, DeMellier was founded by Mireia Llusia-Lindh and combines her Spanish and French heritage through their designs. Their polished and premium styles have fast become a go-to favourite handbag brand for fashion insiders. For every purchase made, DeMellier has a permanent initiative of giving back to ‘A Bag, A Life’, a charity that funds lifesaving vaccinations and medical treatments for children, in collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages.

DeMellier Vancouver Bag

The Vancouver style is the epitome of timeless chic. Its sleek, structured design features a double-bar lock and is available in four different sizes and a colour way to suit every need. Its sophisticated finish makes it the most wearable everyday bag and its reasonable price means it won’t break the bank.

Mulberry

Founder Roger Saul established the brand in 1971 at his kitchen table in Somerset with just £500 from his mother. The logo, designed by his sister, and brand name Mulberry came from trees he passed on his way to school. The first designs for the brand were leather belts, and eventually lead onto bags and womenswear. A quintessentially British brand, it’s a known and loved go-to handbag brand.

Mulberry Bayswater Bag

Celebrating its 20th anniversary last year, the iconic Bayswater is still very much an ‘It’ bag. Kate Moss was often spotted wearing the style after its original launch in 2003. Its update has included an array of sizes, shapes and new colourways.

Charles & Keith

Singaporean fashion brand Charles & Keith began as a single footwear shop and have grown into the international success that they are now. Embracing their Asian roots through their designs, they offer contemporary and modern styles that breath a new fresh take into today’s accessories. The founding brothers grew up helping their parents run a footwear store, so are no strangers to the trade.

Charles & Keith Huxley Bag

The brand doesn't necessarily have a core style per se, however they do offer an array of pieces that will appeal to every kind of occasion. We’re swooning over this Huxley cream top handle staple style with its gold-hardware knot detail. 

How we chose:

  • Style and variety: Whilst writing this piece, I researched the brands best-selling, core handbags from their collections. The selections vary in design but they are united by the fact they have a certain timeless quality and appeal, and can be styled in multiple ways. 
  • Price: Variety is key, and therefore each piece has been carefully selected based on longevity, investment and price points. Whilst there are some of our favourite designer labels included, we have also included some more purse friendly options. 

Why you should trust me:

I am Hello! Fashion’s Style Writer, with seven years of experience within the fashion journalism industry. I have a love for fashion and spotting upcoming trends, coveted pieces and scouring online for irresistible new-in finds.

HELLO!'s selection is editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items our editors love and approve of. HELLO! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. To find out more visit our FAQ page.

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