How did fashion icons become icons? Through iconic pieces that were marketed to an elite crowd. One piece was all it took for them to become household names that everyone knows. Even if all you wear are sneakers you still know who made the iconic red-soled shoes. You know what the initials LV stand for and when you see Chanel’s tweed jacket on any celebrity you know where it came from. These most notable pieces have stood the test of time and through the years they are still the best sellers.
Before, these names were only recognized by an elite crowd of aristocats, hollywood royalty, real royalty, and wealthy women who resided on 5th avenue. But thanks to the internet, they are now known by the world.
The Hermes Birkin bag was named after style fashion icon Jane Birkin. It was born from a humble straw bag Jane was carrying on a plane. The straw bag tumbled from the overhead compartment and she made the statement that she couldn’t find a leather weekend bag that she liked. Hermes CEO at the time heard her and the Birkin bag was born. It takes 48 hours to make and comes in a range of sizes. Despite their popularity there are only around 200,000 bags in circulation. They come in a variety of colors and sizes to meet clients needs but the 35cm bag is the most popular. Want to be cool but can’t afford the price tag? You can rent a Birkin for around $295 dollars a week!
The Birkin Bag became popular in the 1980’s. It was highly sought after because of its high price tag and long waiting list. Even today you could wait months or years for a bag, depending on its popularity. It is most popular with celebrities and wealthy individuals.
Unless you live under a rock pretty much everyone has heard of Chanel. Coco Chanel designed her first handbag in 1929. It didn’t have a strap and was hand-carried, making it awkward. In 1955 she debuted her shoulder version and the rest is handbag history. The name comes from the date and year it debuted, February (2) and of course 1955 (55). It allowed women of considerable means to finally carry a bag on their shoulder, which was a faux paux before that. The original burgundy color had an interesting history. It was designed after the uniforms Coco and other orphans wore in the convent orphanage where Coco grew up. In the 1980’s iconic Karl Lagerfeld added the double CC to the front of the bag, earlier versions just had a lock. When the bag debuted in 1955 it cost $220, if you bought a plain leather version now it could cost you as much as $6,000. However, the bags are made to last years and it is well worth the investment.
DVF Wrap Dress
The DVF Wrap Dress is one of the most popular dresses in fashion history. It was designed by Diane von Frostenburg in 1974. The dress is versatile, flattering to most body types, and easy to pack for a quick getaway or long trip. The dress can be dressed up or down which makes it perfect for a day on the beach or a night on the town. The dress became so popular by 1976 1,000,000 dresses had been sold. In 1980 von Frostenburg took a hiatus from designing but came back in 1997 to re-introduce the dress. She modernized it with a variety of new print and it was just as popular as it was when she first introduced it, proving that it was a timeless addition to any wardrobe. The dress is free from any zippers, closures, or fussy ornaments, making it the easiest dress to just throw on and go.
Christian Louboutin Heels
The Louboutin red heels are coveted by celebrities and fashionistas alike. Many of a shoe lover have maxed out their credit cards to feed their addiction for the cherry-red soled heels. In 1993 Louboutin designed a shoe based on Andy Warhol’s painting “flowers”. When the prototype arrived it was beautiful but was lacking a certain “pop” . Noticing the color nail polish one of the girls in the studio was using, he grabbed it, painted a section of the sole and “bam” that famous red-sole was born. The shoes are said to make women’s legs longer and sexier but Louboutin credits the shoes popularity with the fact men cannot resist the color red. He also credits celebrities such as Princess Caroline and Madonna for introducing his shoes to the world.
If you are a fan of Sex and The City you already know what the Baguette bag is. It was made wildly popular by the TV show and is revered as the first “It” bag to have. It is a small streamlined compact bag that has a short strap making it very versatile. It comes in a range of colors, patterns, and textures. Fendi has stated many times that their popularity is owed from one decision to allow Sex and The City borrow one of their bags when it was still a new show. The bag was designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi and the way it got its name is interesting and amusing. It was christened the Baguette because it is made to sit just under the arm the very same way the French carry their loaves of bread. The bag is anything but boring. Most styles include the normal bag colors but they also include bright, bold prints, as well as embellishments. While Carrie Bradshaw made it popular in the beginning, Emma Roberts, Emma Stone, and Amanda Seyfried kept the popularity going by carrying the bag on the red carpet.
Gucci’s son, Aldo, can be credited with inventing the Gucci Loafer in 1953. He wanted a shoe that was soft, pliable, and lightweight. It also had to stand up to wear and tear. When the shoe debuted it immediately became the “It” shoe for male Europeans and hollywood celebrities. Over the years it has changed some with heels getting smaller(in the 70’s the heels were almost as tall as women’s.) along with added colors and textures. In recent years celebrities such as Matt Damon, Tom Hiddleston, Leonardo Decaprio and more can be seen wearing the shoes in their movies and on the red carpet. It is a great shoe for casual styles but can also be dressed up with a tux. They are not just for men, Gucci also has a line of loafers for women that are chic and stylish. One interesting fact is the Gucci Loafers are huge in Tokyo where business men have to slip their shoes on and off regularly due to culture customs.
Louis Vuitton Luggage
Louis Vuitton started making his luxury luggage in 1854. His attention to detail, design, and exclusivity made him a favorite of French Emperor’s Napoleon the III’s wife. In 1896 he introduced his famous Monogrammed logo and the rest is history. One thing that sets Louis Vuitton’s luggage apart is its exclusivity. To keep knock-offs and mass production to a minimum they only make a certain number of one design which makes them even more desirable. The most famous is the Speedy Bag and Neverfull tote. Each bag is handmade and quality is the most important thing. Louis Vuitton is so exclusive and popular that they don’t even do marketing! Louis Vuitton luggage has been used by stars Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and popular celebrities today such as Kim K, Nicole Richie, and Dita Von Teese.
Cartier Love Bracelet
In 1969 the Love bracelet was born but had a controversial beginning. In 1969, Aldo Cipullo, an Italian jewelry designer designed the bracelet and it was modeled after the medieval chastity belts. The whole concept of the bracelet is to be “locked” in love. The bracelet features a special screw and can only be removed with a special screwdriver. It is meant to be worn at all times to symbolize love and commitment. It is actually a neutral piece that can be worn by men and women. When it was first released it cost about $250 dollars but now it can range from $1,600 (for the basic) to as much as $50,000 dollars depending on the stones and metals used to design the piece. The piece has a permanent place in the Cartier love collection and has spawned different pieces such as earrings, pendants, and cufflinks. Fun fact- Kylie Jenner actually created a controversy when she was still young by wearing $40,000 worth of these bracelets on her arm. A lot of people claimed that it was flaunting her wealth and the money spent on the bracelets could have paid for a college education.
Chanel Tweed Jacket
While Coco started using tweed in her designs in the 1930’s it wasn’t until 1954 that it became an iconic statement. She totally redesigned the jacket, known as the Boucle Tweed Jacket, and it became the most coveted wardrobe piece it is today. It was designed from a man’s jacket in its fluid movement and straight lines. It can be dressed up or down (a staple with most of Chanel’s iconic pieces) and will fit just about any body type. The jacket is lined with real silk and has a small chain on the inside that makes it fall perfectly which just goes to show you how detail-oriented Chanel really is. Again, this piece was re-invented and given new life by Karl Lagerfeld and made its appearance on numerous runways. One of the most famous images of the jacket was the iconic pink Chanel tweed suit Jackie Kennedy-Onassis wore when President Kennedy was assassinated. The Tweed Jacket is a versatile piece that every woman should have in their wardrobe. It will never go out of style and is one of the few fashion favorites that is timeless staple piece. It will set you back several thousand dollars but you can wear it for many years to come.
It is also worthy to note that several of these pieces are displayed in museums across the world. One last interesting fact- The Alma bag, one of Louis Vuitton’s most popular bags, was custom designed exclusively for Coco Chanel.