With Y2K fashion still reigning supreme, it'll hardly surprising that one of the most iconic bags of the Noughties is booming once again. Of course, we’re talking about the era-defining Balenciaga City bag.
Released in 2001 during then-creative director Nicolas Ghesquière’s tenure, the City was previously known as the Motorcycle City Bag and became one of the fashion house’s most coveted designs – although its success wasn't exactly written in the stars.
When Ghesquière sent the design down the runway back in 2001, it was met with mixed reception: the house's stakeholders were reluctant to put it into production, fearing the supple, slouchy shape and tough hardware wouldn't appeal to the masses in an age where the neat Louis Vuitton Speedy and ladylike Fendi Baguette reigned supreme.
To begin with, just 25 bags were made, but one made it into the arms of Kate Moss – and nothing turns a fashion risk into a roaring commercial success quite like the supermodel's seal of approval.
Ironically, the handbag’s appeal lay exactly in its logo-less, relaxed and unstructured silhouette, and there was hardly a Noughties It girl that wasn't carrying one everywhere. Moss wore hers religiously, as did the Olsen twins and Nicole Richie. The City was papped on the red carpet, in classic Starbucks-run shots (a pop culture symbol of the time period) and at festivals from Glastonbury to Coachella.
This year, searches for the original Balenciaga City bag have soared, with vintage studded models now in high demand. At designer resale site Vestiaire Collective, the style is in the top 10 most-wanted bags of the year, while eBay's authenticated section is full of well-preserved Cities in a rainbow of hues.
Responding to the resurgence, Balenciaga launched a refreshed version of the City. The Le Cagole, which debuted in 2021, features hardware that nods to the Noughties original, but with a more streamlined silhouette. Seen on the arms of everyone from Dua Lipa to Bella Hadid, it has proved every bit as popular as its predecessor – but to the true fashion collector, those rarer vintage styles remain the most brag-worthy (and sustainable) investment.
Really, the City boom makes perfect sense. A certified collector's item, proved by its multiple comebacks over the years, the City is an item that is maintaining, if not increasing, its value according to Vestiaire Collective – and it's the dark colourways that are proving the most successful.
Inspired? Below, see the very best pre-loved Balenciaga City bags available to buy now. A style that arguably looks better with age thanks to its soft silhouette, each has been verified and will fulfil every Noughties dream – especially when teamed with a Venti skinny latte.
With Y2K fashion currently reigning supreme, it likely comes as no surprise that one of the most iconic bags of the Noughties is back for 2022. Of course, we’re talking about the era-defining Balenciaga City Bag.
Released in 2001 during then-Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquière’s tenure, it was previously known as the Motorcycle City Bag and became one of the fashion house’s most coveted designs. However, this wasn’t entirely predicted. The fashion house was originally reluctant to embrace Ghesquière’s design, arguing it was too structureless compared to other handbags on the market at the time. To begin with, just 25 bags were put into production but proved to be a roaring commercial success.
Ironically, the handbag’s appeal lay exactly in its logo-less, relaxed and unstructured silhouette, and there was hardly a Noughties it-girl it didn’t appear on the arm of. Kate Moss had a huge hand in its success and as did the Olsen Twins and Nicole Richie, a then-client of celebrity-stylist Rachel Zoe, who is credited with curating the ‘boho chic’ style of the time. It was a style papped on the red carpet, in the classic Starbucks-run shots which are now a classic of the time and at festivals, from Glastonbury to Coachella.
This year, searches for the Balenciaga City Bag, which is no longer in production, have increased with pre-loved models now in high demand. At designer re-sale site, Vestiaire Collective, sales of the Balenciaga City Bag saw an increase of 12% over the first five months of 2022, compared to the same period last year and in April 2022, there was a 36% increase in sales compared to April last year.
With Millenials following celebrity endorsements of the Balenciaga City bag and searching out pre-loved Noughties items to invest in, this makes sense. A certified collector's item proved by its multiple comebacks over the years, it’s an item that is increasing in value over time according to Vestaire Collective’s findings - in particular the dark colourway models.
Below, we’ve curated some of the best pre-loved Balenciaga City Bags available to buy now. Each has been verified and each will fulfil every Noughties dream - just order yours with a Tall skinny latte too.
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