If you’re wondering what the best Celine bags on the market are (or if they’re still worth adding to your collection), this post is for you.
Purchasing your first Celine bag is an incredibly special moment as they are timeless, trendy, well-made, and will elevate all of your future fashion looks. Even a monochrome oversized sweatsuit with white sneakers can look high-fashion when you’ve got a Celine bag in hand.
Celebrities, influencers, and fashion enthusiasts have been towing around Celine bags since the company’s launch in 1945. Because the luxury designer brand’s bag designs are so sleek and chic, you don’t need to worry about your Celine bag going out of fashion any time soon.
So if you’re considering buying your very first Celine, or looking to add another to your collection, we’ve rounded up the seven Celine bags that will stand the test of time. We’re also going to be diving into the designer brand’s history and how it became so darn popular.
Old Celine vs. New Celine
Before diving into our selection of the best Celine bags, it’s important to touch on the controversy of the brand: mainly, how big of a shock Phoebe Philo’s exit from the brand was.
To this day, the most iconic Celine bags were from the era when Phoebe Philo was in charge—this time period is referred to as “Old Celine”. The designs were sophisticated and classic, and remain a huge hit with handbag and luxury fashion enthusiasts.
But after she left in 2018, Hedi Slimane took over as the creative director, bringing his fashion experience and expertise in menswear to Celine. To put it simply, Celine lovers were not happy about this decision.
Prior to joining Celine, Hedi Slimane worked for Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, designing European-inspired ready-to-wear clothing and accessories that had more of an edgy rocker vibe to them, rather than the chic, feminine and almost office-type fashion Celine was more known for. Once he was hired by Celine, people were unsure of the brand’s future success as it was dependent on Hedi Slimane’s designs.
Almost immediately after joining Celine, Hedi Slimane made a few executive decisions that were met with scrutiny by the public. He removed the accented “é” in the brand’s name, changed the logo’s font, and its visuals on social media.
It became clear that Hedi Slimane adored using the colors black and white, and tried heavily incorporating this into the brand. He received tons of critique and backlash as people believed he was trying to continue his vision for Yves Saint Laurent at Celine, disregarding the much-loved style and design that Phoebe Philo created.
Critics were also unhappy with the marketing campaigns that Hedi Slimane created as they starred extremely thin, caucasian models, which really lacked diversity.
Since replacing some of the feminine Old Celine designs with edgier, less sophisticated handbags and accessories, the brand has lost some of its popularity and hasn’t really managed to produce an “it bag” like it did in Philo’s era.
With this in mind, there are still undoubtedly gorgeous bags both from Philo’s and Slimane’s era at Celine (although we do love Old Celine slightly more than New Celine). Let’s get into them!
The Best Celine Bags To Invest In
1. The Luggage Tote
The Luggage tote bag is geometric and iconic in design but even though its shape is out of the ordinary, it will surely remain in style for decades to come.
This classic handbag is made from 100 percent smooth calfskin with a lining made from lamb leather. Unlike cheaper bags from department stores, this combination of materials will last forever so there’s no need to worry about this handbag ripping or tearing.
It features gold-toned hardware and retails for $2,900. The Nano version (slightly smaller) looks identical but costs $2,531. The Nano Luggage Handbag is a great alternative for women who prefer the current trend of small, dainty bags.
2. The Box Bag
This style of bag comes in nine different colors, including black, brown, red, raspberry, and a very deep green color that we adore. The Medium Classic Bag in Box Calf is the epitome of Celine’s authentic and intricate craftsmanship, and is very feminine in design with a brass clip on the front.
It’s made with 100 percent calf leather and its strap is both removable and adjustable so the possibilities are truly endless. It can be carried by hand, over your shoulder, or accross your body.
The Medium Classic Bag retails for $3,950, the Teen Classic Bag for $3,400, and Small Classic Bag for $3,150. Lots of options!
3. The Belt Bag
While it’s called a belt bag, it doesn’t look like the belt bags we’re seeing in the fashion world today. This bag is definitely not worn around your waist like a fanny pack. Instead, the name comes from the two straps that make up the detailing of the bag!
This classic bag comes in seven different colors, including the ever-so-important neutral shades like black, light taupe, and grey. It has an adjustable and removable strap, which means it can be worn on your shoulder, carried by hand, or as a crossbody bag.
The bag’s hardware is a gorgeous light gold-tone and the interior and exterior of the bag is made from 100 percent calfskin leather. The Pico Belt Bag costs $1,850 but the larger version, the Nano Belt Bag, retails for $2,150.
4. The Horizontal Cabas Bag
If you love using designer bags that adorn its logo or full brand name on the front, the bags from the Cabas line are most definitely meant for you as it has “CELINE PARIS” printed on the front.
The Horizontal Cabas bag is constructed from a mixture of high-quality canvas and leather with a small gold-toned padlock that’s also got the brand’s name engraved on it.
This bag is available in ivory canvas with brown leather straps for $1,800. It also comes in a navy/brown combination and ivory/gold strap combination.
5. The Triomphe Bag
This bag is feminine, dainty, and sure to get you tons of compliments from other trend followers. Along with the 16 bag, it was one of the first bags Hedi Slimane’s introduced to the brand.
The selling point of this bag is the intricate golden buckle placed on the front that fastens the top flap to the base, as well as the high-quality polished calfskin. The Triomphe Bag can be easily dressed up or dressed down with a denim jacket and leggings.
6. The 16 Bag
If you remember Hedi Slimane’s entrance to the brand, you’ll surely remember all the promo around the 16 Bag. This bag was strategically worn by some of the biggest celebrities out there, like Lady Gaga and members of Black Pink to create hype about Celine’s new era.
The bag is undoubtedly gorgeous, plus its minimalist design with its soft lines and grained leather will definitely stand the test of time. This style comes in black, dark beige, and brown, and features gold hardware with a small padlock, which adds extra detail.
The medium size costs $4,250 and the small size costs $3,850. There is also a “Soft” version, which has a longer strap and a lower price point.
7. The Ava Bag
And last but not least we have the Ava Bag in Smooth Calfskin, which is a very understated, 90s inspired shoulder bag with gold hardware, zipper closure, and a few pockets on the inside. Because it only has one top strap, it needs to be carried by hand or worn around your shoulder.
This bag is made with 100 percent calfskin leather on the inside and outside. The medium size retails for $1,950 and the mini version retails for $1,100. There is also a similar design with a longer strap if you worry about your arm movements being constricted.
The history of Celine
The label Celine was founded by Céline Vipiana and her spouse named Richard in 1945, which was originally a made-to-measure children’s shoe retail boutique. After rising to success as a children’s shoe retailer, the couple opened up three more stores by 1948, with sights set on eventually expanding into women’s fashion.
Approximately one decade later, Celine launched a collection of ready-to-wear clothing for women that was more functional than frivolous.
Her original sportswear line consisted of fitted shirts, leather vests, knit suits, and denim in pastel colors. Shortly after, the duo added leather accessories like belts and bags to their brand’s list of offerings. By the 1970s, Celine was an internationally recognized designer.
In 1987, Bernard Arnault, i.e. the CEO and chairman of luxury conglomerate LVMH, purchased Celine and acquired its 89 existing stores. Celine remained the brand’s designer until her death in 1997.
Almost immediately, Michael Kors was appointed Celine’s new designer but with his own namesake label, Celine suffered and slowed in growth. After adding a few sportswear collections to Celine, Michael Kors left as he wanted to focus on his own label. This put Celine at great jeopardy.
Who is Phoebe Philo?
Thankfully, after Celine was passed around several high-profile designers, British designer Phoebe Philo joined the company. We can totally credit Philo for saving the brand.
She was able to bring Celine back to the forefront of the fashion world by designing minimalist bags and accessories based off of the founder’s original designs.
She really cleaned up some of the styles that were being produced, launching a collection in 2010, which knocked the socks off of fashion lovers.
The collection showcased precise lines, sharply tailored suits with loose-fitting aspects of design, all which were created from a neutral color palette. During her time at Celine, she launched several classic bags that are still highly sought after today, even after her departure as designer in 2018.
We hope you enjoyed our top Celine bag picks! If you’re looking for more luxury fashion analyses, you’ll love the related posts below!