Balenciaga City: the iconic Y2K bag that is getting buzzier by the day

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Le City Medium bag in white, available at BALENCIAGA.COM

A Gen Z favorite…About Le City, via VOGUE.COM: The quest to create an It-bag is a fraught one. Plenty of designers have crumbled under the pressure from parent companies to conjure up leather goods–the lifeline of brands–that soar in popularity and become a certified cash cow. Not Demna, he of viral accessories fame. The Balenciaga creative director already has the Hourglass, a sharp, sculptural top-handle style inspired by Cristóbal Balenciaga’s Basque waistcoats from the ’50s, under his belt. Ditto Le Cagole, a polished, croissant-shaped ode to Le City, the Noughties favourite that was later rebranded as the Motorcycle bag.

But the man with limitless imagination–who made Kim Kardashian carry a knife heel as a clutch–is not immune to a little nostalgia and so, years after rumors started swirling, he is bringing back Le City for real. Even better? Demna has seeded the style out to the fit-your-life-in tote’s original fans. Hello, Kate Moss. The British super was not only the poster girl for the Le City lifestyle (the capacious design was one of the first “messy bags”), she was–according to fashion folklore–integral to its inception. After spotting the slouchy bohemian accessory on the runway, Moss requested one from then-creative director Nicolas Ghesquière who, in turn, had to twist the arm of the top dogs who didn’t think it would sell. Just 25 models went into production, but when fashion fans clocked Moss with a vintage-looking, logoless companion nestled in the crook of her elbow, demand sky-rocketed. “You could be a Balenciaga girl with that bag,” said Ghesquière of the effortless model that became a mainstay in the uniforms of Y2K fashion plates like Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen twins. While Mary-Kate and Ashley have yet to be pictured with the reborn Le City bags, Moss looks every inch as cool as she did back in the early Noughties. With skinny jeans also set for a revival–yes, you read that right–it’s surely only a matter of time before we see Kate toting her ’Ciaga with spray-on denim, ballet flats, a skinny scarf and a waistcoat. OK, fine, we’re getting carried away. The image of her shrouded in an immaculate faux-fur coat while walking her dogs in over-the-knee heeled boots brings Le City bang up to date for now.

A bag comeback of this calibre demands drama! Key differences to look out for: the new model is more streamlined than the original and boasts extra pretty-tough hardware. Like Le Cagole, which comes in myriad iterations and colorways, Le City will be available from 7 April in a variety of shades and sizes. Of course, it’s always been about the black one that seems to invite wear and tear and unfathomably looks better with age, but lest we forget, Mary-Kate Olsen was once welded to her mint-green version. Against a shaky economic backdrop, Balenciaga bosses must be mentally high-fiving their predecessors who listened to Moss and unleashed Le City’s potential.


Charms and the City!
(Photo via @pelayodiaz)


Pernille Teisbaek and her City bag by Balenciaga while vacationing in Marbella.
(Photo via @pernilleteisbaek)


The new Balenciaga City small in yellow leather, available at MYTHERESA


FROM VESTIAIRECOLLECTIVE: Balenciaga City leather handbag in aubergine.


FROM VESTIAIRECOLLECTIVE: Brown leather Balenciaga City bag.


First appearing in Balenciaga’s pre-Fall 2021 show, Balenciaga presents its popular ‘Le Cagole’ shoulder bag for AW22. Crafted from calf leather, this compact accessory features elements from the brand’s iconic Neo Classic silhouette, including decorative buckles and flat studs. The design includes the signature heart-shaped mirror and zipped cardholder synonymous with the style.


Balenciaga’s Neo Classic City bag is a revival of the ubiquitous prototype first released in the noughties. This XS tote is crafted to a more structural trapezoidal shape but boasts all the signature moto-inspired elements as its predecessor – think whipstitched trims, buckled details and stud hardware.

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