As far as we're concerned, no designer handbag collection is complete without the addition of a Saint Laurent bag. We believe them to be just as classic as Chanel, Hermès, Celine, and Dior, and we think they deserve just as much consideration if you're fortunate enough to be contemplating a new designer-handbag purchase.
Founded in 1961, the French fashion house designed pieces that tapped into the utilitarianism that many designers at the time embraced by way of tailoring and heavier fabrications. Although bags were never brand founder Yves Saint Laurent's primary focus, he approached the category with the same utilitarian goal to create items of quality, practicality, and longevity.
Today, under the creative direction of Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent bags remain some of the most versatile you can find on the designer arm-candy circuit. Signatures include simple, structured silhouettes; materials such as suede and shearling; and techniques such as quilting to add softness. It's this refined aesthetic that bestows Saint Laurent bags their everlasting appeal—the demand for which is now at its peak.
Many of our favorite style stars have been sporting Saint Laurent bags of late, particularly those with the brand's iconic and imitable YSL logo, and waiting lists are growing for some of the brand's most popular silhouettes. This should come as no surprise considering searches for them are up 30% since September 2021.
But which Saint Laurent bags are really worth investing in? We've rounded up the need-to-know Saint Laurent bags, from the icons to the contemporaries, for you.
Saint Laurent's College top-handle tote feels particularly classic thanks to the timeless envelope shape, a closing favored by the brand. Made in Italy from supple leather that's quilted in a chevron pattern and topped with a YSL plaque, this imitable bag is a must for designer devotees.
Named after Loulou de la Falaise, Yves Saint Laurent's close friend and muse, the Loulou is one of the most beloved and recognizable bags in Saint Laurent's line-up. Its hallmarks are its soft but boxy structure, front-flap closure, and quilted-chevron finish. In leather or suede, it gets our vote.
A relatively new silhouette for the brand, the 2020-launched Solferino crossbody continues to crop up on the Instagram feeds of those in the know. Of course, you can always opt for the timeless black colorway, which offsets the YSL hardware, but these on-trend hues might also tempt you.
4. LE 5 À 7
Shoulder bags are trending in a big way right now, and Saint Laurent isn't missing a beat. Its Le 5 à 7 bags keep selling out on Net-a-Porter, Matches, and Harvey Nichols, but there has just been a restock. The patent version is particularly eye-catching.
Saint Laurent’s Manhattan shoulder bag is named after the city that never sleeps, which is why it's well-suited to styling both night and day. Its clean, straight lines, minimal detailing, and sparing use of metal hardware make it one of the most reserved bags in the YSL line-up but also one of the chicest.
Modeled on a camera bag, the Lou is an everyday essential for many fashion enthusiasts. As a nod to the Loulou, this bag most commonly features a chevron-quilted upper, and it comes in just about every colorway you can think of. At just over $1000, it has a lower price point than other designer handbags out there, but make no mistake—this is still one serious purchase.
The relaxed shape and roomy interior of Saint Laurent's Niki bag make it the ideal everyday bag for people on the go, who perhaps find it difficult to shrink down their belongings to fit into the Lou. The preferred finish is supple, ever so slightly distressed leather, which gives it a bit of a vintage feel. It also features the brand's trademark chain-link strap, a fold-over flap, and a YSL logo on the front.
Owing to its smaller size and delicate treatment, the Kate is perhaps the most evening-appropriate of all Saint Laurent handbags. One of the most striking features of the Kate bag is its delicate chain tassel, which hangs below the YSL emblem and swishes gently with every movement, making it the perfect partner for the dance floor.
Saint Laurent's Sunset bag has accordion sides, so it holds more than you'd first expect. Even the crossbody iteration proves roomier than some of the other bags in the YSL family. We, however, always find ourselves drawn to the top-handle options, which offer more styling versatility.
Another new bag for the brand is the Kaia, named after the model of the moment Kaia Gerber. Gerber has become a runway regular for Saint Laurent, so it makes sense that she was Vaccarello's muse when it came to designing this bag. We'd expect nothing less from the daughter of runway legend Cindy Crawford.
11. LE MAILLON
Le Maillon is Saint Laurent's newest bag offering, and it is perhaps one of the brand's most luxurious-looking silhouettes. The gold-chain hardware makes the collection feel especially stylish and is inspired by the bag's moniker, Le Maillon, which is the French word for "link." It might not have the YSL branding, but Le Maillon is no less special.
It's almost impossible to think of a Saint Laurent bag without first picturing the Uptown, which, like the Kate, feels elegant and appropriate for wearing with your fanciest outfits. The envelope-shaped flap-over closure, as we've already discussed, is a key Saint Laurent design detail—as is the YSL metal emblem.
13. SAC DE JOUR
Launched in 2013 during Hedi Slimane's tenure as creative director, the Sac de Jour has become a cult hit among accessory aficionados. The Sac de Jour, or "day bag," has a classic, structured silhouette with accordion side panels that extend to fit all your belongings. Special details include a concealed padlock on a detachable lanyard and a handy keychain attached to the interior.
14. LE CARRÉ
Although many of Saint Laurent's bags boast bold YSL branding, if you're looking for something more refined—and along the lines of Le Maillon—look no further than Le Carré. This satchel-inspired bag is a contemporary classic with practicality at its heart. It has a roomy interior with zipped-off compartments and a strap that allows you to take it from a shoulder-length bag to a crossbody.
Confidently elegant and undeniably French-looking, Saint Laurent's Cassandra bag is structured to a boxy silhouette that, with its top handle and envelope closure, feels reminiscent of vintage handbag designs. Choose from everything from plain black leather to tweed with contrast piping. When it comes to Cassandra, you really can't go wrong.
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.
Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over twelve years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories, and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, works closely with influencer talent on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media. Previously, Maxine appeared on TV in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.
Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship, she was offered a position on the Look magazine fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. She went on to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others. Maxine works remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh.
Here’s How French Women Are Styling Their Jeans Right Now
By Courtney Falsey
I'm Making Some Designer Investments This Year—30 Items I'm Eyeing From MyTheresa
No gatekeeping here.
By Grace O'Connell Joshua
French Women Always Wear This Jeans-and-Flats Outfit Formula
Easy as un, deux, trois.
By Drew Elovitz
I Went to France and Saw Everyone Wearing These 5 Basics on the Streets of Paris
Effortless and chic.
By Bobby Schuessler
French Girls Laugh Every Time Americans Wear These 3 Things
By Lauren Eggertsen
Amal Clooney Wore Controversial Boots to the Airport That'd Make TSA Squirm
They're not exactly travel friendly, but they are incredibly chic.
By Erin Fitzpatrick
6 Stylish Influencers Shared Their Ultimate Spring Wish Lists With Me
Exclusively for you.
By Bébhinn Campbell
Lily James Debuted Prada's 2024 It Bag in the Departure Area of Milan's Airport
Consider it TSA approved.
By Eliza Huber