Top: Rouge 2003 City
Bottom: Rouge Theatre 2005 First
My name is Leslie and I'm addicted to vintage Balenciaga bags. It all started in 2005. Just so you know I'm not lying, here is a super old picture of me with a turquoise Balenciaga city circa 2007 or so. It's an old screenshot and I don't recall why there's a number 16 on that photo. 😂
Balenciaga city 2005
I used to have longer hair!
Back in 2005 when Nicole Richie and Nicky Hilton were popular celebrities, the two of them along with the Olson twins (anyone remember them?) made Balenciaga boho chic. It was effortlessly cool to wear a pair of jeans, a white tee shirt with a McQueen skull scarf carrying a Balenciaga bag on your arm. Boho chic at its finest.
Nicole Richie Balenciaga Yellow 2004 First
Left: Balenciaga 2005 Turquoise Work
Right: Balenciaga Black 2003/2004 City
Nicky Hilton - looks like Rouge Theatre 2005 First or maybe 2006 Rouge Vif First
An Olsen Twin Seafoam First 2003
(I can never tell which Olsen twin it is!)
Balenciaga bags were like candy. You couldn't stop at just one. I wanted all the colors of the rainbow Balanciaga had to offer. I should back up and explain the first and city sizes. The first size bag is definitely small. It can fit your essentials. If you're not carrying too much, it's a great bag. They are light weight and very easy to use. It has a top opening and a small outside pocket for quick access items like your keys.
Balenciaga First Rouge Theatre 2005
The city size is a medium sized bag. Can definitely hold a lot more than the first. They can pretty much hold everything except for a laptop. If you need to carry a laptop with you everyday for work, I would suggest the next size up, and it's actually called the Work. I used to have a few, but ended up selling them all because they're just too big on my petite frame. Nicole Richie pulled it off but I think I just looked like a bag lady. Literally.
Balenciaga City Lilac 2003
These bags also come with a shoulder strap, but I never carry them that way. I prefer either in my hand, crook of the elbow, or over the shoulder. The top handle has a drop of about 4 inches, so there's not a lot of room.
Let's talk about the leather! For me, the older the bag, the better. The leather in 2003 was soft and silky. The new Balenciaga bags today are made with thicker and sturdier leather. I can't say I'm a huge fan. I prefer 2008 and older. Most of my bags are from 2003-2005. Below is a black city from 2003 with pewter hardware. Look at that leather! This one used to be mine. I sold her and totally regret it now. I'm currently on the hunt for another one.
From 2003-2004, Balenciaga produced bags with pewter hardware which is very coveted by Balenciaga collectors today. In 2005 they changed their hardware to brass.
Rouge Theatre First 2005 with brass hardware.
One of my latest addictions is Rouge 2003 City. It's pretty rare and super hard to find in mint condition. You can see that the hardware is pewter and it really pops against the red.
Balenciaga City Rouge 2003 with pewter hardware
The smooshier the better!
The very first Balenciaga le dix bag was made in 2001. Only 25 were made and were given out to models as a gift by Nicolas Ghesquiere. I envy those lucky 25! My oldest Balenciaga bag in my collection is from fall 2002, which is the third season they were made. The hardware is flat brass. The earlier bags weren't made as sturdy. The handles feel a little flimsy and you can see they are bent at the rivets.
Balenciaga Flat Brass First 2002 Black
Clockwise: Lilac 2003 City, Turquoise 2005 First, Violet Prune Small City 2016, Pearly Bronze 2013 City
The bottom two bags are newer. The bottom left is from 2013 and it's a limited edition holiday bag. You can see the leather is thicker and more stiff. It doesn't have a nice drape. But on the other hand they are quite sturdy and almost indestructible. On the right is a 2016 small city size. They updated the size to be bigger than the first, but not as big as the city. It also comes with a long crossbody bag.
Lilac 2003 City
I forgot to mention that these bags are also referred to as motorcycle bags because of their tassels. I actually prefer to remove the tassels because they get caught on things and become dirty. They also come with mirrors as well, but I never use those either and just put them to the side.
I always replace the tassels with a bag charm.
Teal City 2005
The bag of the bag is very plain. Nothing except a pile of smooshy leather. I really like the texture of this one. It's a crinkly mess!
Gray City 2005
So where do I find these vintage Balenciaga bags? First off, I should mention that I do not mind buying secondhand. For one, they're a lot cheaper than buying new. There's always a stigma for buying things used, but I got over it fast when you can have a piece of history for a fraction of the retail price. That said, I'm always on the hunt and check a few websites daily. One is Fashionphile. They update their website daily and their prices for vintage pieces are very fair. They take excellent photos and their return policy is great. Shipping and returns are free. They also offer layaway.
Another website I check regularly is Yoogi's closet and Ann's Fabulous Finds. Yoogi's closet doesn't always have a great selection. Ann's Fabulous Finds prices can be a little on the high side, but they also offer layaway.
And there's always Ebay, but with Ebay you have to do your own research to make sure the bag is authentic. The Purse Forum is a great place to authenticate bags.
I've always wanted to write a post about my love for vintage Balenciaga bags. If you made it all the way through to the end of this post, I'm impressed! Thank you so much for reading. 💖 Let me know if you are addicted to Balenciagas or handbags in general!
Hope you all have a wonderful week!