How the world’s first It Bag, the Fendi Baguette, is STILL a must-have 25 years on

How the world’s first It Bag is STILL a must-have on fashion’s front row 25 years on: Whereas others have come and gone over the past two decades, the Fendi Baguette has managed to maintain its relevance and iconic status 

  • Farrah Storr reveals she is just as desperate for a Fendi Baguette as she ever was
  • Former ELLE editor says it has maintained fashion-icon status for past 25 years
  • Says the true beauty of the bag is it never dates because it’s endlessly adaptable

The year the Fendi Baguette bag was born, I was 19 and a fashion-mad university student. This meant I was old enough to understand the significance of the world’s first ‘It bag’ . . . and young enough to know I would never be able to afford one.

Small, sleek and in a range of lustworthy colours, this oblong-shaped bag with its small carry handle wouldn’t fit much more than a lipstick and a coin purse. Yet I longed to join the ranks of the rich and beautiful tucking one under their arm.

This year marks its 25th birthday. That makes me 43 and just about able to afford one, if I went without central heating for the next six months; the cheapest variant at Fendi is £1,690, but there are micro versions for £460.

But I suppose the point is, do I still want the same bag I lusted after as a teenager? The answer is yes — more than ever.

You see whereas other It bags have come and gone over the past two decades — I give you the Mulberry Bayswater (2003), the Chloe Paddington (2005) and even Balenciaga’s City bag (2001) — the Baguette has not only lasted the distance, but somehow managed to maintain both its relevance and fashion-icon status.

Today, the Baguette is reportedly one of the most in-demand bags on designer re-sale sites, where original 90s versions can be found for almost triple their original price. Just this week, I spied a neon Baguette from 2010 that would have cost in the region of £2,000 new — and which is now on sale for £4,600. Which means it’s probably one of the safest investments right now.

Meanwhile, at a party thrown in its honour earlier this month, the great and good of fashion and celebrity came out to pay their respects: Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Grace Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Kardashian and more.

This season, Fendi has done a collaboration with Tiffany, and the Baguette now comes in a teeny-tiny version in duck egg blue that can be worn around your neck. Pictured: Bella Hadid at the Fendi Baguette 25th anniversary in New York earlier this month

This season, Fendi has done a collaboration with Tiffany, and the Baguette now comes in a teeny-tiny version in duck egg blue that can be worn around your neck. Pictured: Bella Hadid at the Fendi Baguette 25th anniversary in New York earlier this month

At a party thrown in its honour earlier this month, the great and good of fashion and celebrity came out to pay their respects: La La Anthony, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Watts (pictured left to right) and more

At a party thrown in its honour earlier this month, the great and good of fashion and celebrity came out to pay their respects: La La Anthony, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Watts (pictured left to right) and more

These are women from different arenas and different decades, yet they all united in their love of a bag that was named after a French loaf. Yes, there are other bags that have lasted the test of time such as Chanel’s 2.55, the quilted black bag with gold chain, or the Hermes Birkin. But these bags are classics, not It bags. Their allure is in their discretion and adaptability. A Chanel 2.55 can slink into any situation unnoticed. A Fendi Baguette begs the room to do a double take.

An It bag is flashier, more exciting, more fashion orientated and more slavishly lusted after than a classic, with the crux being that any It bag worth its waiting list is almost impossible to get hold of.

When Italian fashion house Fendi launched the Baguette back in 1997, people queued around the block to get one.

Years later, its designer Silvia Venturini Fendi, the granddaughter of Fendi’s founders Adele and Edoardo Fendi, admitted the company hadn’t been prepared for the rush of interest, but that the very ‘lack of this bag on the market probably made it so popular. It was like a fever because it was so difficult to find . . . it was like a crazy moment with people begging to be put first on the waiting list,’ she recalled.

‘Before that moment, no one really had waiting lists so it started this crazy mania, and also for limited editions. The Baguette was really the first bag to be treated as a garment, a fashion piece.’

In this pre-internet time, fashion followers discovered the Baguette via word of mouth and celebrity pap shots, nestled in the armpit of stars from Madonna to Paris Hilton. It gained iconic status in 2003 in an episode of Sex And The City. When Carrie Bradshaw has her purple sequinned Baguette stolen, she memorably corrects the mugger’s demand for her bag with the words: ‘It’s not a bag — it’s a Baguette!’

In this pre-internet time, fashion followers discovered the Baguette via word of mouth and celebrity pap shots, nestled in the armpit of stars like Paris Hilton (pictured)

Madonna was also an early adopter of the iconic fashion piece

In this pre-internet time, fashion followers discovered the Baguette via word of mouth and celebrity pap shots, nestled in the armpit of stars from Madonna (right) to Paris Hilton (left)

Every season a new iteration appears: the raffia Baguette, the sheepskin Baguette, the sequinned Baguette

Every season a new iteration appears: the raffia Baguette, the sheepskin Baguette, the sequinned Baguette

So, what made it so special? Where to begin. This was 1997 and fashion had come through a period of grunge and minimalist dressing. Prada’s utilitarian black nylon backpack was what the world dreamed of. And then came the Fendi Baguette.

Emblazoned with the Fendi logo, as slender as a purse and as expensive as a second-hand car, this was next level swagger. It was too small to be practical and too pricey to be used every day. And yet it seemed like the world’s most perfect bag to me and every woman I knew, suggesting, as it did, that the owner neither had to worry about money nor practicality.

And, as I’ve discovered over the years, the true beauty of the Baguette is that it never dates, because it’s endlessly adaptable while still being truly iconic thanks to its instantly recognisable shape.

Every season a new iteration appears: the raffia Baguette, the sheepskin Baguette, the sequinned Baguette. To date, there have been more than 1,000 iterations. Over time it changed size, too. This season, Fendi has done a collaboration with Tiffany, and the Baguette now comes in a teeny-tiny version in duck egg blue that can be worn around your neck.

There’s a Baguette for every occasion and every person. Actress Priyanka Chopra likes hers big and silver, while Rihanna opts for a classic held in the palm of her hand.

As for me? There’s only ever been one Fendi Baguette as far as I’m concerned, and that was the original: chestnut brown with the Fendi insignia all over its body.

I found an excellent fake at a market stall in Greece in my early 20s and wore it to every party, dinner and night out for about three years. People stared. I felt wonderful. That is, until the handle fell off.

Now bag a baguette for less 

Coach, £550, coach.com

Coach, £550, coach.com

DNKY, £130, johnlewis.com

DNKY, £130, johnlewis.com

Zara, £29.99, zara.com

Zara, £29.99, zara.com

 

By Far, £231, theoutnet.com

By Far, £231, theoutnet.com 

JW Pei, £69, jwpei.co.uk

JW Pei, £69, jwpei.co.uk

H&M, £14.99, hm.com

H&M, £14.99, hm.com

 

… or rent it for £79 

Vintage leather Fendi Baguette, rent from £79/month at cocoon.club

Vintage leather Fendi Baguette, rent from £79/month at cocoon.club

Advertisement

Source

Related posts