The Bag Index | Vestiaire Collective

_p8a2462It’s no great (nor fake) news that I am a huge vintage fan. Not the fusty, musty stuff – but buys that chime as much now, with our modern lives, as they would have when they were created. Fashion is now in the ‘chaos theory’ phase, which means that we are influenced by myriad eras: 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, even the noughties (see: Mango’s poppa-legged flares, reminiscent of my Miss Sixty pair circa 2002.) As a result of this walk-of-life feel to fashion, which resonates so entirely with me, it’s possible to feel ‘on trend’ (not that that is my main motivation in dressing) in vintage clothing.

As I have alluded on a few occasions in recent months – since I left The Sunday Times and did all sorts of soul-searching – I’ve been shopping less than ever and when it comes to the shopping I do, opting for more vintage than ever. Currently, I’m trying to find the vintage counterpart to whatever it is that I am craving, before I give in to the new.


Obviously, this doesn’t always work. But the surprising thing is how often, with the determination and wherewithal, this can be done. I wanted a camel coloured wool jacket from Blaze Milano; I found a Gucci one, for £50, on Portobello. I wanted some white Balenciaga boots; I found some Maison Margiela ones, for 1/10th of the price, in a Parisian thrift store. I’m not perfect (my ego: “are you sure?” my brain: “you’re a shit head”) – I still buy high street, I still spend more than I should on designer duds. But I’m shopping with the thought and care that I didn’t necessarily have when compiling shopping pages every day at a weekly magazine; and I’m selling and returning clothes that I don’t see my self having a long-term relationship with.

Shopping vintage, or in the case of Vestiaire Collective, ‘pre-loved’ (they only accept pieces in excellent condition) is obviously a key part of this. I’ve shopped on Vestiaire Collective since I could barely afford to. Excellent buys include some gold YSL sandals for the same price as a pair of shoes from COS; a YSL silk shirt dress from the Rive Gauche era (as I have previously recommended, this is a particularly affordable and plentiful era to shop YSL from); and a pair of Stella McCartney bovver boots – so heavy that they make my calves ache, but of which my grunge-tinged heart will forever remain fond. So when Vestiaire Collective asked me to team up for their global Bag Story campaign (see their site for more details), I couldn’t help but sign on the dotted line. Or, rather, say yes via e-mail.

Everything that I am wearing here is vintage except my shoes, with the star pieces, clearly, being that Alaia vintage leather coat and this Chanel tweed bag. The beauty of a pre-owned or vintage Chanel bag, like a vintage Rolex (which I recently acquired half through my parents for my 30th birthday, half from my own now destitute pocket) is that they rarely drop in value. Clearly, they aren’t cheap; but they’re one of the few bags to remain as desirable today as they were twenty years ago. In the Bag Exchange Index, a definitive ranking of the top 25 bag styles sold through the Vestiaire Collective community in the last (almost) decade, the Chanel. 2.55 came out as one of the top contenders on the list of the 25 most in demand bags.

The most interesting thing about the index is that it revealed few contemporary bags – Gucci’s Dionysus and Mansur Gavriel’s never-not-sold-out bucket bag, both made the cut – and instead focused on bags we would now consider archive. Remember the Chloe Paddington? I bought a fake one, form Thailand, on my gap year, for all my sins. The Paddington and its weighty padlock are still regularly searched. How about the Alexander Wang Rocco, with its bum-stud weaponry. Or, the Valentino Rockstud, which reminds me searingly of 2013. Bags that I imagined to be flash-in-the-pan, proved to be otherwise, with this index.

_p8a2496You don’t need me to tell you why a Chanel 2.55 is so revered, so treasured, so eternally iconic. Nor to explain the joy in combining a classic shape and tweed fabrication, with such a jazzy colour way. This particular style is from AW/04 and I can’t quite believe that despite being 13 years old, it’s in pristine condition. I also can’t quite believe that I have become that person: I now have four Chanel bags.

Before you call me a twat, please let me point you in the direction of iD deputy editor, Lynette Nylander, who collects Dior saddle bags with her friend. Bags are not like t-shirts. Bags, especially when they come from the same family (because a family likes to grow) are collectibles. Chanel bags are the only bags that interest me, in a vintage sense; the only bags that I keep the authentication cards, dust bags and boxes for – either to re-sell, or for my potential future daughter. Chanel bags are classic, without being trite; luxury without being ostentatious. It’s hard for a bag to be all those things and also, to work as well with street wear (not that I wear it) as it does a suit. If I’m going to spend money, it’s going to be on a Chanel bag. And it’s unlikely to be a new one, from a store (I have little interest in new, IT bags.) In fact, I’ve already got a primary colour ‘Timeless’ bag on my wish list. If you’re wondering which one, click here….

_p8a2455I’m wearing a vintage Alaia coat and Chanel 2.55 handbag from Vestiaire Collective, vintage shirt, vintage Levi’s and Topshop shoes.

In collaboration with Vestiaire Collective | Ph. by Frances Davison | Hair by Hershesons.

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