Balenciaga is known for its bold designs, especially when it comes to handbags. Back in 2001, the Classic City bag was introduced as the "Motorcycle City bag". The chief designer of Balenciaga at the time, Nicholas Ghesquière, created a few prototypes of the Classic City bag. However, the company management didn't want to produce the bag Nicholas made, as it was "too light, too soft and lacked structure". But Nicholas convinced them to just make 25 prototypes to use on the runway as an extra and hand out for free to celebrities and it-girls. And, safe to say, the rest is history...
Some of the models and celebrities who got the first 25 prototypes and the first prototype by Nicholas Ghesquière - via Real Deal Collection
All the models, especially Kate Moss, were head over heels in love with this bag. Kate Moss was very influential at that time - and she still is. So, when Kate Moss says it’s cool, it will become an IT-bag. This is exactly what happened to the Classic City bag. In an interview with WWD in August 2011, Nicholas Ghesquière answered the following when they asked why the popularity of the bag resonated this dramatically: "No logo, very light, very effective. There is something familiar with the vintage side. Women and girls thought it was something they'd always have. It was a new fresh thing, but it looking like an old, good, friendly thing. And I think the brand also was becoming desirable. People had desire for my goods and [the bag] was the most accessible piece. You could be a Balenciaga girl with that bag."
The design and styles of the bag
The bag is known for its feminine but edgy look, that seems to transcend time and trends. The bag puts a fun twist on traditional girlish staples. Characterized by the long leather tassels, the matching cosmetic mirror (which was added in Spring/Summer 2002) and the optional shoulder strap, the Classic City bag has a flair of casual with a touch of fancy. This bag is made from processed lambskin, which feels very soft and is light weight. The leather can be a bit stiff in the beginning, but after a while it will become flexible and will create the typical casual vintage look.
The bag comes in different sizes and styles, of which the "City" size is the most popular of all. Other sizes and styles are:
- "Part Time"
The Balenciaga Classic City on Chiara Ferragni and the Balenciaga City Giant 21 - Pinterest
With the City being the most popular bag, limited editions and extraordinary types of the bag were produced through the years. Today, there are thee styles of Balenciaga Motorcycle City bags, being:
- the "Classic City" in sizes mini, small and normal.
- the "Giant 12 City", which has bigger studs, but the same proportions as a Classic City. It has gold, palladium or rose gold plated hardware.
- the "Giant 21 City", on which everything is oversized, from the studs to the buckles, patches et cetera.
Fun fact: The first bags were colored black and brown. But soon Balenciaga started to add more and more colors. Balenciaga is famous for their endless array of colors and print. They make about six new colors twice a year for their Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections.Now, nineteen years later, this bag is still modern and fashion forward. Balenciaga still sells the Motorcycle City bag and prices rise each year. Without a doubt, this Balenciaga bag is iconic. We want to thank Nicholas Ghesquière for not giving up on his design. Looking for your vintage Balenciaga City? We occasionally sell them online or in our shops. Have a look via this link if we have them available now.
With love, Millie & Machteld