Top 8 Luxury French Handbag Brands
Photo: KnowInsiders.

Even in today’s internet-fueled, accessible-flights global style scene, the French woman’s carefree, cool, and confident look is still considered the elusive unicorn others envy to catch. Exactly what is the secret? Is it the wine? cigarettes? The ability to eat a baguette daily and not gain an ounce? Or simply their Je m’en fiche attitude? Of course, every stylish Parisian woman worth her salt owns a Chanel handbag, but beyond a 2.55 or Boy bag, a piece from Hermés, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Goyard, and Céline—oftentimes all of them—lives in her wardrobe arsenal, not to mention the various iterations of new, couture-like accessories. Here, KnowInsiders takes a look at the most unforgettable of the all-time top eight.

List Luxury French Handbag Brands

1. Chanel

2. Polène

3. Hermes

4. Louvreuse

5. Christian Dior

6. Céline

7. Jacquemus

8. Goyard

1. Chanel

Photo: whowhatwear
Photo: whowhatwear

One of the most popular French brands right now is Chanel. It’s not only known for its handbags but also for its perfumes, apparel, makeup, skincare, and even jewelry. The brand was founded by the French designer Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel, who was born in 1883.

After she learned to sew at a young age, in 1910 Coco decided to open up her hat shop, named Chanel Modes, in Rue Cambon 21, Paris. Then, in 1913, there is the opening of her first boutique in Deauville. With regards to bags, Chanel’s most popular design is the 2.55 shoulder bag.

Although the brand has been manufacturing handbags even before this model, the concept of the presence of a comfortable strap so that the hands can remain free, was what made it one of the most revolutionary bags during its introduction.

Today, Gabrielle Chanel’s 2.55 handbags are still as popular as ever. This bag model is available in leather and fabric materials. The cost of these bags range from around $3,000 to $10,000, depending on the material used.

2. Polène

Photo: abbysaylor
Photo: abbysaylor

Polène is a Parisian leather goods brand founded in 2016 by two brothers and a sister. Inspired by the work of designers such as Madeleine Vionnet, Mariano Fortuny, and Madam Grès, folds were incorporated into the collections, thus enhancing the leather’s malleability and strengthening the sculptural aspect of the designs.

The brothers’ expert knowledge and passion for quality pushed them to use the best hand-made artisan production in Spain. Polène works with famous French, Italian and Spanish tanneries who have been supplying for several decades the most regarded names in leather goods.

3. Hermes

Photo: theguardian
Photo: theguardian

Hermès is one of the oldest leather ateliers in the world. Established in 1837, the luxury house was initially concerned with the production of high-quality harnesses and bridles for the carriage trade. Today, Hermès is known best for their handmade luggage and handbags. Just one article takes anywhere between 18 to 24 hours of work to complete. Their bags are so in-demand that customers may find themselves waiting up to a year to receive one of the house’s signature bags. However, the long-awaited goods come with some amazing perks. The bags are so high-quality and so hard to come by that the purchase of one actually constitutes a viable investment as the bags accrue value over time. Plus, if an Hermès bag accrues any damage, the owner can ship the bag to Les Ateliers Hermès in Pantin, France for repair.

4. Louvreuse

Photo: doitinparis
Photo: doitinparis

Founded in 2016 by Victoire de Villiers, Louvreuse is a French high-end leather goods brand inspired by art history. The brand offers arty and colorful collections with beautiful materials and noble finishes in an accessible and responsible luxury approach that promotes sustainability. Each handbag is made in their workshops located in the heart of Choletais in the West of France. Composed of carefully selected leather in Italy, some bags require nearly four hours of manufacturing and ninety assembly steps. The brand offers also a personalization service by hand and tailor-made on all its leather accessories.

5. Christian Dior

Photo: globalblue
Photo: globalblue

When it comes to Ready-to-Wear, Christian Dior is synonymous with The New Look to the Bar jacket, but when it comes to leather goods, the Lady Dior bag is easily the most recognizable handbag from the house. According to an excerpt from Monica Botkier’s Handbags: A Love Story, the bag’s origins started when former French first lady Bernadette Chirac gifted Diana, Princess of Wales one in 1995. “Diana loved the handbag so much that she ordered one in every color and was soon photographed with it everywhere, from a business trip in Argentina to the Met Gala in New York, where she wore a gown by John Galliano for Dior,” Botkier tells CR. “When photos were published of Diana carrying the bag during a visit to Birmingham in 1995, Harrods reportedly sold out of the style within hours.

Having undergone many iterations with different materials, textures, and colors, the Lady Dior still remains a blank canvas that each subsequent creative director for the house, has reimagined. For Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Fall 2018 luxe flower power, Age of Aquarius styled empowerment romp, the designer hand-beaded the Lady Dior as well as the Dior’s saddle bag, which was first introduced in Spring 2000 and worn as fringed fanny packs on the runway.

6. Céline

Photo:pinterest
Photo:pinterest

No one would have thought that the French fashion powerhouse, Céline, began as a shoe shop for children in 1945. The brand started out selling custom-made shoes and, then, it started selling footwear for women and accessories. Later on, by the early 1960s they decided to expand their operations and sell sporty outfits for the ladies as well.

Today, Céline designs and sells a wide range of products for both men and women. They have jewelry, sunglasses, accessories, perfumes, apparel, and handbags. One of the most popular handbags sold by Céline can be found in theirLuggage series. The handbags under this collection are available in countless designs and sizes. Their Nano Luggage bag, for instance, costs around $3,000 and is made with drummed calfskin leather. It uses silver metal hardware, has a zipper closure, an inner flat pocket, and a removable leather strap. Its lining is also made of calfskin.

Since Céline handbags are made from luxurious skins, the brand advises users to protect them from humidity and avoid contact with liquid as much as possible.

7. Jacquemus

Photo: editorialist
Photo: editorialist

Designer Simon Porte Jacquemus took the French fashion scene by storm with his own label when he was only 19 years old. Within three years, his fresh spin on fashion earned him a place on the schedule for Parish Fashion Week. He is one of the youngest designers to gain such recognition, and most impressively, he is a self-taught designer. Based in Paris, France, the most recognizable Jacquemus purse style is the mini-purse. In fact, Jacquemus quickly owned the small purse market when he introduced his doll-sized micro-bag known as It. The prices range from around $420 to $1,110+.

8. Goyard

Photo: townandcountrymag
Photo: townandcountrymag

Goyard is the oldest leather goods brand still in business. It was established in 1853, just one year before Louis Vuitton and is still privately owned. Goyard is also the only major luxury brand in the world that doesn’t sell any products online. Like Louis Vuitton, Goyard is famous for their monogrammed French leather bags and suitcases. Goyard bags are made with the highest quality French leather using the same techniques as when the company first began. Their most iconic bag is the Marquages, a monogram bag which features your initials front and center.

In Paris, the Goyard store is located at 233 rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement. Here, you will be able to order your very own personalized Marquages bag. The bag usually takes 4 weeks to complete as each one is hand-painted to respect their 200 year old technique.

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