I'm All About the Understated-Luxury Look—These Saint Laurent Bags Are It


(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

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 those from 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.


(Image credit: @yoyokulala)

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.


(Image credit: @symphonyofsilk)

Many of our favourite style stars have been sporting Saint Laurent bags of late, particularly those with the brand's iconic and inimitable 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 favoured 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 recognisable 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 colourway, 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 pale-pink 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.

6. LOU

Modelled 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 colourway 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, of course, a YSL logo to the front.


Owing to its smaller size and delicate treatment, the Kate is perhaps the most "evening" 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.

10. KAIA

Another new bag for the brand is the Kaia, named after 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.


Le Maillon 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.


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.


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.


Last but certainly not least is the Icare Maxi tote bag, which you have most likely spotted all over Instagram being toted by celebs, editors and influencers. Released in 2023, it features the iconic quilted outer as well as a toggle closured, removable interior pouch and oversized YSL signature logo.

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically 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, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning 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 at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.