How to tell if a designer bag is vintage
While the fashion industry continues to produce new designer bags every season, many in-the-know fashion aficionados prefer vintage bags because they offer uniqueness, time-honored style, and value appreciation over the years.
In fact, when a top designer brand’s most in-demand luxury bags stand the test of time, it speaks volumes about their choice of materials, expert craftsmanship, and their much-deserved, elevated reputation. The most sophisticated collectors understand the value of their investment and prefer to highlight their exquisite tastes with these incredibly rare vintage finds.
Fashion is a revolutionary process with designers constantly getting ideas and inspiration from the past, so it’s no surprise trends like bell bottom jeans, fringe, structured shoulders, low-rise pants, and embellished evening bags are suddenly back in style.
So, why do older trends come back into style? Aside from designers running out of ideas, shoppers may become influenced by items found in their parents’ closet, the economy (whether good or bad), individualism and self-expression, social media, and the theory that trends recycle every 20-50 years.
Whatever the reason, there’s a renewed interest and curiosity surrounding styles and pieces of yesteryear, and that’s where the vintage hype comes into play.
What makes a designer bag vintage?
While many are split on the official definition, we believe any piece that was created over 10 years ago can be defined as vintage, and others proclaim an item must be at least 20 years old to be considered vintage. Whatever your definition, one thing is for sure, vintage items are worth the investment.
Vintage designer bags are high-quality collectibles that appreciate over the years. With sustainability top of mind, vintage designer pieces are now in very high demand, but aside from the eco-friendly factor, many shoppers look to luxury pieces because it’s synonymous with quality, and high-quality pieces can last a lifetime,
Since many high-end designer pieces are handstitched by specially trained artisans and crafted in the most exquisite materials, they are built to last and can become a closet staple to be handed down for generations to come. And while many designers have remained true to their heritage, with minor tweaks here and there, others have gone through rebrands for a variety of reasons, including the desire to become a little more current, attract a younger clientele, and reposition themselves in the luxury.
Fashion Rebrands: Vintage or Current?
There are many ways to tell if an item is vintage. From the wear and tear to date codes and serial numbers, and whether a style is still in production, today we’re talking about the top five fashion rebrands and how to tell if it’s vintage by looking at the logo.
Hedi Slimane was appointed Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent in March 2012 and credited with modernizing the brand by infusing a more rock n’ roll aesthetic, reintroducing couture, and as a purveyor of gender fluidity. After joining Saint Laurent, the designer was credited with doubling the brand’s revenue and essentially making it cool again.
Hedi Slimane was instrumental in rebranding YSL and as Creative Director, he axed the Yves from the label and changed it into something bolder, claiming it was not only a symbol of the new brand but an ode to Yves as well.
The house is now referred to as Saint Laurent, and one of the quickest and easiest ways to tell if your Saint Laurent piece is vintage or current is whether it has the YSL logo or says, Saint Laurent.
After successfully relaunching and rebranding Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane took over the reins at Celine in 2018. Known for an edgy, punk, rock ‘n roll vibe, Hedi Slimane’s first collection at Celine was almost a copy of the looks he had sent down the runway at Saint Laurent, with miniskirts, chains and hardware and lots of leather looks, and also dropped the accent from Celine.
The decision came as a way to remake the logo and bring it current. According to Slimane, “The new logo has been directly inspired by the original, historical version that existed in the 1960s. The accent on the ‘E’ has been removed to enable a simplified and more balanced proportion, evoking the Celine collections of the 1960s where the accent wasn’t used often.”
The new logo also uses modernist typography from the 1930s with the spacing between letters narrowed to create a tighter appearance. While the word “Paris” appears on the packaging, it no longer appears on the campaigns. So, one of the quickest and easiest ways to tell if your item is vintage is by looking at the label and searching for the accent over the E.
In the 1960s when Karl Lagerfeld’s iconic Fendi logo, the double F—or Zucca logo—was applied to the goods, the company instantly became a lighthearted and dynamic luxury brand, but the first real Fendi logo was the image of a squirrel munching on a walnut with the words “Fendi 1925”.
In the late 90s, Fendi’s double F logo simply became “Fendi” but then in 2013, the logo became a combo of the words Fendi with the word “Roma” underneath in a soft, edgeless, minimal font. And today, the inverted Zucca logo has a script emblem, and the font is Helvetica Bold.
One of the easiest ways to tell if your Fendi piece is vintage is by looking for the squirrel to symbolize 1925-1965, the Zucca logo above the word Fendi for 1965-2000, and just Fendi spelled out in the logo from 2000-2013.
Gucci’s original logo was designed by Aldo Gucci, one of Guccio’s three sons, and it was a written signature of the founder’s last name, Gucci. The Gucci Diamante, a diamond pattern, was originally designed in the 1930s, woven onto hemp, and used on luggage. It later became Gucci’s first iconic print and led to the creation of the GG logo. The original Gucci GG canvas diamond pattern was inspired by the Diamante and created in the mid-1960s to represent the initials of Guccio Gucci.
A few years after Guccio’s death, Aldo reworked the logo to include the image of a knight carrying two bags in his hand at the center of the shield, and that was known as the Gucci Crest, but it was short-lived.
When Tom Ford took over as Creative Director in 2005, he reworked the logo and an updated version with spaced and tapered GG letters became official. In 2015, when Alessandro Michele became Creative Director, he made the logo whiter and introduced the double G oriented towards the right.
Michele is also credited with completely reinventing the brand as he experimented with maximalism, theatrics and androgyny.
Burberry is currently going through rebranding with new Creative Director Daniel Lee at the helm. But in 1901, the luxury designer (known as Burberrys) ran a public competition to design a new logo for the brand. The winning logo was inspired by 13th and 14th-century armor on display at the Wallace Collection and the equestrian knight with lance, shield and the Latin inscription “Prorsum” was born. In 1920, the Burberry check was introduced as a lining to the raincoat and was trademarked.
In the 60s, the words became more important than the horse and knight, the logo shrunk, Burberrys was enlarged and the words “of London” were added underneath. In 1999, the logo went through another redesign with Burberrys going all caps and dropping the “s”, the horse and rider were more detailed and outlined in white, and the word “of” was removed.
In 2018, the logo was modernized, and the word “Burberry” was sometimes used on its own and other times accompanied by “London England”.
Today, under the direction of Daniel Lee and new Burberry CEO, Jonathan Akeroyd, the serifed logo has been reintroduced as a reworked take on the brand’s “Equestrian Knight” motif that was first used at the beginning of the 20th century. And now Burberry’s equestrian knight ‘Prorsum’ logo is in royal blue.
Whatever your reason and definition, vintage can be a fun way to revisit styles and pieces of yesteryear making them feel fresh and updated again! And to that we say - YOLO - why not?!
Content and images for this blog post have been referenced form LePrix