15 January 2018

History of a Classic: The FENDI Baguette

We bring you the launch of a new series right here on Bag Addicts Anonymous. Entitled History of a Classic, this is where you can learn about the history of the classic and iconic designer bags that have, over time, proved to be timeless. Today’s inaugural post kicks off this series with the FENDI Baguette. 

What began as a bag that was responsible for the beginnings of “It Bag fever”, the Baguette has transcended into something that’s quintessentially timeless. Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, she christened the bag the Baguette because this shoulder bag was made to sit comfortably under the arm in the very same way that the French are usually seen carrying this long, thin baton-esque loaf of crusty bread. And so, in 1997, the Baguette was born.

Fendi Vintage Baguette Bags

Since its introduction, the Baguette instantly became one of the most sought after bags in the fashion world, and more than 100,000 of these babies were sold in its first year alone. Thanks to the hit TV series Sex and the City, if any of the viewers were ever wondering what bag Carrie was carrying in the series, by Season 3, Episode 17, “What Goes Around Comes Around” (aired in 2000), all SATC fans the world over knew what it was, and made it into something that everyone coveted. I remembered this pivotal scene when Carrie got mugged in an alley, and the guy demanded that she hand over her purple sequinned Baguette, very clearly:

Carrie: “What?”
Mugger: “Gimme your bag.”
Carrie: “uh.. it’s a bag-uette”

From this point onwards, SATC really became all about fashion, which, in fact, is the main reason why I watched the show. But more importantly, this was when FENDI became a household name, and the Baguette, became “It”, because it really wasn’t until the Baguette’s appearance on this show, that those outside of fashion circles, became acquainted with the bag, thus solidifying its status as a cult bag. At the turn of the new millennium, FENDI had earned an award for the Baguette for excellence in accessory design.

“It Bags” usually garner a lot of attention, and are spotted on many a celebrity. Oftentimes, these are highly coveted, and and so hard to get your hands on, that even putting your name on the “waitlist” doesn’t guarantee you’d get one. Their staying power usually is relatively short-lived, usually lasting for a season, and at most, maintaining its “status” for approximately two years or so. Once the fad dies down, they become much easier to purchase off the shelves, because consumers have moved on to the next “It”. Yet, despite starting off as an “It Bag”, the Baguette has truly weathered the seasons. Since its introduction, there have been dare I say, over a thousand variations: embellished, sequinned, embroidered, exclusive pieces, Limited Editions, “DIY your own Baguette” kits, customisable versions, and even works of art in their own right, thanks to collaborations with celebrities and artists have even been asked to design exclusive versions of their own. Fendi’s 2012 Baguette Book is a tome that pays tribute to this iconic piece that has become very much a part of the brand’s DNA.

Today, they even come in micro, sizes, and then there’s also the “double Baguette”, inspired by the original Baguette. If this isn’t a true testament to its timelessness, I don’t know what is.

Images courtesy of Fendi