If you’re wondering what the best Celine bags on the market are (or if they’re still worth adding to your collection), this article 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 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, some of 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 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, and 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.
With this said, four years in, Hedi Slimane has managed to double Celine’s sales, and the brand now surpasses $2 billion in annual revenue. It’s clear that the brand is stronger than ever, with many of the most coveted bags now coming from Hedi Slimane’s collections, not Phoebe Philo’s.
With this in mind, let’s get into the best, most timeless Celine bags that deserve a spot in your wardrobe.
The Best Celine Bags To Invest In
1. Triomphe Bags
The Triomphe bag has become one of the latest it-bags, and we could bet that you won’t be able to scroll Instagram without seeing at least one of your favorite influencers wearing it. The bag has classic, timeless appeal, but it’s also great for those who love a recognizable logo – the Triomphe symbol is one that the brand uses consistently across its accessories, from belts to bags and sunglasses.
The Triomphe also comes in multiple different sizes, colors and even designs, ranging from rectangular bags to purses with U-shaped bottoms, with the common factor being the gold hardware logo in the middle.
We love the classic black design the most, but we recommend checking out the brand’s selection – there are designs to fit any personal style!
2. 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 multiple different colors, with seasonal colors added here and there, 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 are made from 100% calfskin leather.
The smaller Pico-size Belt Bag costs $1,950 new from the store, but you can get it a little cheaper on secondhand websites like Fashionphile. The same goes for the larger Nano and Mini belt bags, which retails for $2,350 and $2,700 new, respectively, but can be found for as little as $1,500 on Fashionphile.
3. (Nano) Luggage Tote
In addition to the Belt bag we’ve just mentioned, the Luggage tote bag is easily one of the most recognizable bags from Phoebe Philo’s era. While back in the day, the larger, more practical size of the bag was the preferred option, nowadays, we would argue that the Nano version of the bag hails supreme.
This classic handbag comes in two leather finishes – either 100% smooth or grained calfskin leather that are available in a multitude of colors. In addition to this, the bag features gold-toned hardware, a zipper pocket at the front, and comes with both top handles and a detachable crossbody strap for ultimate versatility. New, the Nano bag retails for $2,700, but you can get one secondhand on Fashionphile for as little as $1,300.
4. Ava Bag
Next, we have a newer addition to Celine’s collection of bags – it’s the Ava Bag, featured here in monogram canvas. The 90s-inspired style of the shoulder bag is very trendy at the moment and the small size makes it perfect for casual evenings out.
If you don’t love the monogram Triomphe-print, the bag is also available in smooth leather for a more understated look.
Structurally, the bag features gold hardware, a zipper closure, and a few pockets on the inside. The original version of the bag comes with one leather strap, but newer versions of the bag also include a chain strap. The medium size with a leather finish retails for $2,300, while the regular-sized canvas version retails for $1,600, and the canvas mini version for $990, making it the most affordable bag on this list.
5. Box Bag
The Box bag is another bag from the so-called “Old Celine,” and it’s very similar in style to the popular Triomphe bag, minus the logo.
This classic bag currently comes in 6 different colors, including black, brown, red, burgundy, and a very deep emerald green color that we adore. In addition to this, seasonal colors like mint and light pink have also been released in the past, which may make a reappearance at later times.
The classic Box Bag is the epitome of Celine’s authentic and intricate craftsmanship and is suitable for the minimalist that prefers and understated look. Again, this bag is made with 100% calf leather, and its strap is both removable and adjustable, which means that you can carry the bag both over your shoulder or across your body.
6. Vertical Cabas Bag
If you love using designer bags that adorn their logo or full brand name on the front, the bags from the Cabas line are most definitely meant for you as it has “CELINE” printed on the front.
The compact Horizontal Cabas bag is constructed from a mixture of high-quality canvas and adjustable leather strap that can be worn across your body or on the shoulder.
This bag is available in multiple different canvas designs, ranging from the brown Triomphe monogram print featured above to a more summery cream canvas with tan leather trim, and more.
7. 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 currently comes in more than 10 different colors and features gold hardware with a small padlock, which adds extra detail.
There is also a “Soft” version, which has longer straps instead of top handles, no padlock and a lower price point.
The history of Celine
Celine was founded by Céline Vipiana and her spouse 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 taking much of his time, 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 in great jeopardy.
Who is Phoebe Philo?
Thankfully, after Celine was passed around to 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 on 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 and sharply tailored suits with loose-fitting aspects of design, all of 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.
Since then, Hedi Slimane has been in control of Celine, and as we mentioned, his collections have proven to be a success.
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!