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Purse Blog

januari 11, 2024

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6 Saint Laurent Bags That Every Bag Lover Should Know

Yves Saint Laurent was just 18 years old when he was hired by Christian Dior to design for the House of Dior. The famed designer quickly worked his way up, becoming Mr. Dior’s right hand, helping to design the dresses for each season.

When Christian Dior passed away suddenly from a heart attack, Yves Saint Laurent was appointed as his successor at the young age of 21.

He headed up design at Dior for three years before being drafted into the army, which took a toll on the young designer’s mental health. He would eventually be hospitalized due to his mental state, soon learning he would be replaced by Marc Bohan at Dior while he was in hospital.

One could call it divine intervention, as Yves Saint Laurent would soon go on to found his namesake brand, debuting his first collection in 1962.

The designer was a revolutionary, completely reinventing the way women dressed. He is considered the founding father behind the concept of menswear as womenswear, with the Le Smoking tuxedo suit becoming one of the House’s most defining silhouettes.

Saint Laurent Archives
Archival designs on display at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris
Saint Laurent Drawings
Original drawings on display at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris


Handbags Join the Lineup

Unlike other luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton or Loewe, who started with leather goods, Yves Saint Laurent’s focus was never really on bags. They were more of an accompaniment to the collection, not the main event.

YSL Prototype 1977

In the early days of YSL, handbags were created by two female designers, Madame Leroux and Madame Perrin, who had a creative, imaginative vision for the House.

The handbag repertoire utilized exotic materials such as snakeskin, lizard, and Moroccan leather. Though they were hand-picked by YSL, the handbags were made using outside suppliers and sometimes fitted with hardware recycled from past jewelry lines, which were quite ornate.

However, it wasn’t until Tom Ford and later Stefano Pilati that handbags played an integral role in the brand’s design offering, paving the way for the Saint Laurent of today.

Below, we’re looking at 6 important (Yves) Saint Laurent bags every handbag lover should know!


Yves Saint Laurent Mombasa

Created during YSL’s Tom Ford era, the Mombasa hit the scene during a pivotal time in fashion history and for the brand itself.

Released in 2001, the Mombasa was defined by its horn-handled slouchy silhouette, quickly becoming one of the most-wanted bags of the early aughts and helping in large part to define the brand’s new direction.

Saint Laurent Mombasa
A Vintage Yves Saint Laurent Mombasa seen on the streets of NYC

Each season, the House would release new riffs on the popular design, with many becoming so coveted that they would sell out almost instantly, garnering lengthy waitlists. It was the early 2000s, so it was not uncommon for the Mombasa to be embellished with sequins or made of exotics and shiny metallics.

According to a 2002 NYT piece by Cathy Horyn, the Mombasa helped YSL sell a whopping 90 million dollars of accessories.


Yves Saint Laurent Muse Bag

2005. It was the height of the It-Bag era when YSL’s then-creative director Stefano Pilati created the Muse bag.

Considered by many to be the House’s first It-Bag, the Muse was released to quite a frenzy in early 2006.

Jennifer Lopez 2
Jennifer Lopez was one of many fans of the Muse Bag

Identifiable by its domed bowling bag shape, the Muse features discreet branding in the form of Y paneling accented by stitching on the bag’s front. Yves Saint Laurent had many famous muses that were widely known in his early years, and when Pilati named this now-iconic bag the Muse, he was setting it up for success.

The Muse was carried by many famous modern-day muses in its heyday. This roundup included Kate Moss, Jennifer Lopez, Nicky Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and many more.


Saint Laurent Sac de Jour

In 2012, Stefano Pilati departed Yves Saint Laurent, and the French Design House was forever changed. Pilati was replaced by Hedi Slimane, who changed the brand seemingly overnight. The designer immediately dropped the Yves from Saint Laurent, marking a new era.

BITW Upper East Side August 2022 15.jpg
Since its inception, the Sac de Jour has been released in many sizes and colors.

Slimane had a massive amount of design and creative experience under his belt when he took on the role of creative director at Saint Laurent. However, because his prior experience was primarily in menswear, he had never designed a handbag.

Though a hit with celebs, his first design for the House, the Classic Duffle, felt underwhelming to many. Then, Slimane introduced the Sac de Jour in 2013, which became a huge hit. Quickly embraced by street-style stars, fashion editors, and everyday handbag lovers alike, the boxy, Birkin-esque Sac de Jour has remained a staple a decade after its initial release.


Saint Laurent Kate Bag

The Saint Laurent Kate Bag is named after one of the fashion world’s most iconic muses of all time, not to mention that she’s the epitome of the modern Saint Laurent aesthetic.

Of course, we’re talking about Kate Moss!

The Kate Bag hit the scene in 2010. A classic yet modern silhouette, it made for the perfect chic bag for going out at night.

BITW Aug 2023 SoHo WBurg 12.jpg
The Saint Laurent Kate is still a beloved choice.

While it’s not difficult to argue that there’s nothing exceptional about The Kate, its popularity cannot be denied. Available with or without the distinctive gold tassel, the most important thing to note about the Kate is its use of the YSL Cassandre logo.

Created in 1961 by graphic designer Adolphe Jean Marie Mouron, who adopted the pseudonym Cassandre, Slimane revived the use of the YSL Cassandre. He would go on to use the same logo plaque on countless other designs, many of which are still in rotation to this day, long after Slimane’s departure.

Though they eventually released a different bag called the Blogger Bag, Saint Laurent should have called The Kate the Blogger because it felt like every influencer in the early days of Instagram had one.


Saint Laurent Loulou

In the brand’s 50-year history, Hedi Slimane was pivotal to crafting the Saint Laurent we know today, and in the post-Slimane era, many of the bags represent the codes of his time at the House.

The Saint Laurent Loulou is one of those bags, bearing the storied YSL Cassandre logo plaque; it was one of Anthony Vacarello’s early designs, introduced in 2017. The Loulou gets its name from Loulou de la Falaise, one of many Yves Saint Laurent’s muses and a very close friend.

Saint Laurent Loulou Bag
The Loulou comes in multiple sizes and colors and remains a street-style favorite.

Available in 4 sizes—toy, small, medium, and large, the bag is defined by its lush chevron pattern and convertible strap. The Loulou remains one of the brand’s most popular bags season after season.


Saint Laurent Icare Maxi Shopping Bag

In 2022 the big bag movement finally took off after years of false starts. Anthony Vaccarello and the team at Saint Laurent believed this was finally the time, and they were right, dropping the massive Icare Maxi Shopping Bag in the spring of 2022.

Saint Laurent Icare Shopper 1
The Saint Laurent Icare Maxi Shopper continues to shine long after its viral moment.

A supple, incredibly slouchy bag that’s massive, the carryall is crafted entirely of quilted soft lambskin. Remember that Cassandre logo discussed above? This bag is finished with a maxi-version of the iconic logo, sculpted like jewelry, and crafted entirely by hand.

Whether you love this bag or loathe it, it continues to shine. Its viral moment felt very reminiscent of the early aughts when bags like the Mombasa or the Muse made a splash, and it will go down as one of Vaccarello’s most essential designs at the House.

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