Celebrities and Balenciaga Bags: A Love Affair

Photo: Darren Banks/Splash News; Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images; Dean Chapple/Splash News

From Jane Birkin’s Hermès bag to Jackie O’s bamboo-handled Gucci purse to Carrie Bradshaw’s Fendi baguette, there is no science for how a bag achieves iconic, decade-defining status. Being worn by the right woman at the right time certainly helps, but it’s no golden ticket. Being worn by every right women over the last ten years is even better. And if you can sustain the Kardashian swell, you’re golden. Nicolas Ghesquière, who left Balenciaga today, famously explained that he designed his first multicolor leather purses just so his models would have something to hold as they walked the runway in 2001. But as the legend goes, Kate Moss couldn’t get enough of them, and the rest is handbag history. As impressive as his runway and ready-to-wear remains, it will be these soft, thin, hardware-heavy bags that most people associate with his career at Balenciaga. Perhaps because a dizzying number of starlets, “It” girls, and C-listers carried his bags at some point. From Rumer Willis to Salma Hayek to Nicky Hilton in her early-aughts heyday, click to see a decade of celebrity product placement (or legitimate handbag shopping?) in our slideshow.