Also papped with a Balenciaga Classic in fuchsia, slime green, denim, black with studs... (you get the drift), Nicky Hilton was among the coterie of A-list tabloid stars who helped cement the bag’s It status in the 2000s. Other notable celebrity fans of the tote include the Olsen twins and LiLo.
TikTok stars might have eclipsed the tabloid stars who helped cement the Balenciaga Classic’s “It” status in the noughties (exhibit A: Nicky Hilton as seen in the 2005 photo opposite). The roomy, logo-less tote with the distinct stud hardware and tassled zip closures however has remained a staple in the brand’s repertoire, recognised as much for its practicality as its pop cultural cachet. Now Demna Gvasalia pays tribute to the bag as part of its 20th anniversary: the Balenciaga Classic Neo looks like a more modern, slightly irreverent version of the OG with angular proportions, exposed edges and bonded nappa lamb leather lining. A Balenciaga Classic that’s been “Demna-fied”? Expect cameos in TikTok memes everywhere soon.
Nicky Hilton Photo Maximillion/Everett Collection
In an age of hype footwear, Manolo Blahnik has stuck to his classic, can’t-go-wrong sensibility and the BB pumps – created in 2009 – are an example of how it’s still what women want.
Part of the enduring appeal of Manolo Blahnik’s BB pumps lie in their simplicity: pointy-toed uppers with clean, streamlined curves and slender yet stable stiletto heels with each pair reportedly taking 24 hours and 14 craftsmen to construct. It’s meant that since it was launched in 2009 – inspired by the bold femininity of eternal silver screen sex siren Brigitte Bardot – it’s been a blank canvas. Every season, it gets updated in a spectrum of new colours and finishes so that there’s something for everybody. The latest include this dark crimson velvet (sexy), zebra-striped snakeskin in various shades of blue (exotic) and multi-coloured polka-dotted linen (how fun). Guess Mr B affirms that popular life coach saying: It’s important to get the basics right.
When some classic designs get a radical matte makeover, they just reek of desperation or a middle-age crisis. Not the 1995-born Lady Dior tote even though its name and roots seem distinctly highbrow. (It earned its official moniker after the late Princess Diana was pictured carrying it and its cannage motif was inspired by the Napoleon III-style chairs Monsieur Dior set up for guests at his shows.)
As part of Dior’s Ultra-Matte accessories collection, it was previously issued in matte black and nude, which lent the boxy, ladylike bag a cool, youthful edge. Now that line has expanded to include Fauvist hues like dusty pink and stone grey in the same anti-shiny finish, resulting in Lady Diors that look like sculptures (and are still as elegant as ever).
Photos Courtesy of Dior
The first time that Valentino drew from the 16th-century Dutch pottery style known as Delft was for its Haute Couture Fall/Winter 1968 collection: lush botanical motifs in the earthenware’s characteristic blue printed onto floor-sweeping bell-shaped gowns. This Pre-Fall, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli revives the pattern he’s since dubbed Valentino Bluegrace on the likes of silk sheaths, a pencil skirt and even a collared shirt. The inventive way that he has done so (as lace embroidery on said shirt, for example) doesn’t just turn these staples into pretty wardrobe statements, but also hints at the print’s artisanal roots. The lesson here: As with history, one need not always be so precious about couture.
True to its rep as the watch that made sporty ceramic timepieces fashionable, the Chanel J12 has spawned more stylish adaptations than its age in years – all while staying true to its roots. (No matter the interpretation, it’s always in ceramic, always mainly monochrome and keeps its unisex shape that was inspired by racing cars and yachts.) So how apt for the maison to celebrate the end of the design’s teenhood with the J12.20, a limited edition release covered in playful scrawls of 20 of its most iconic symbols and products? Think the camellia, the 2.55 handbag and even the tweed jacket in rhodium across the bezel and dial. Who says one can’t do cute at 20?
Among the many creative faces of the Chanel J12 (left to right from top): The original released in 2000 that was groundbreaking then for its glossy, all-black ceramic finish; the Chronograph version debuted in 2002; the J12 in white launched in 2003; the 2005 J12 Tourbillon – limited to just 12 pieces; the 2007 J12 GMT; the J12 Calibre 3125 with a new movement and gold rotor, also released in 2007; the J12 Noir Intense from 2009, covered all over in baguette-cut ceramic pieces; the 2010 J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse, a unique piece with the likes of a tourbillon, retrograde minutes hand and retractable vertical crown; the titanium ceramic J12 Chromatic from 2011; the 2013 J12 Moonphase, which displays the different moon phases against a blue aventurine disc; the diamond-encrusted J12 Flying Tourbillon from 2014 and its skeleton version that came the year after; pieces from the 2016 J12.XS collection that saw the watch further elevated as a fashion accessory; the J12 Mademoiselle watch from 2017 with a cartoon figure of Coco Chanel; and the refined J12 unveiled last year. (Opposite) The J12.20 comes in white in 33mm or 38mm, each limited to 2020 pieces, and a Haute Horlogerie enameled version in black or white, limited to five pieces per colour
When Fendi introduced the Peekboo in Spring/Summer 2009, no one expected its unorthodox design. The best way to understand why the roomy top handle that’s equal parts dressy and everyday-friendly continues to surprise is to go in for a close-up. This Pre-Fall, it comes in the likes of tan calfskin with monogram canvas for its lining (this page) and the X-Lite version in leather and a gingham pattern inside (opposite). How the Italian maison will reinvent it again? We can never know, but let’s just say that this is, uhm, a peek at what’s to come.
The Givenchy Antigona – debuted in Fall/Winter 2010 – boasts a structured shape so idiosyncratic that mentioning its name alone is enough to describe it. It might seem ironic then that to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the French maison recently released what’s pretty much its opposite: the Antigona Soft with a calfskin finish so supple, its corners slouch over for a more casual, weekend-friendly sensibility. One thing remains though: the bag’s mix of elegance and modern, abstract edge.
TEXT & COORDINATION NOELLE LOH