The world of handbags is overcrowded, so standing out from the rest is no easy feat. And to be influential enough to make others release models that are suspiciously similar to yours is even harder. But that’s what Balenciaga has achieved in the past two decades with Le City, a bag sported by every celebrity you can think of since its rise to fame, especially in the Tumblr-dominated era over a decade ago. Now, with a revamped version out there, the House carries on the legacy of the infamous it-bag.
The new campaign, photographed by Mario Sorrenti, is fronted by actress Nicole Kidman and models Kate Moss, Amelia Gray, and Kit Butler. They all embody the House’s values, of course, but casting Kate is the cherry on top. Rumour has it that, after spotting the bag on the runway, she asked Nicholas Ghesquière (the Creative Director of Balenciaga back then) for one. He had to confront the company’s executives because they first thought it wouldn’t sell. But Moss’ undeniable power as a style icon made the demand skyrocket. A few months later, you could see every Y2K celebrity rocking it strolling the city, going shopping, or catching a plane. It was cemented as an it-bag then and there.
In April this year, the British supermodel was seen in her signature look: all black everything, black boots, a huge fur coat, a pair of sunglasses and… Le City bag. The reedition, of course. As Alice Newbold wrote for British Vogue, “Kate Moss is back carrying Balenciaga’s Le City bag and all is right in the world again.” Indeed, it was. Now, three months later, she’s gone from carrying it on the streets to advertising it on the campaign while wearing another of her staples: an animal print coat.
In the new reedition, Le City keeps its essence of being an everyday bag made with a practical spirit. The new version is crafted with Arena leather and fitted with Palladium Vibrato hardware, has reinforced corners with small metal buckles, thimble-like studs across the body of the bag, leather lace-strung zipper pulls, braided handles, and a surface that gains a unique patina over time.