Handbag Name Origins

Authentic Dior Lady Dior handbag


Ever wonder how the names of your favorite designer handbags came to be? Some seem rather logical, honoring its quirky silhouette or its main usage, but others can at times seem altogether random. Often routed in history, many of these bags actually pay tribute to a fashion icon of the past. Sharing their story with women who enriched fashion history, these bags borrow their name, along with their cachet.


Dior: Lady Dior – Princess Diana

Authentic Lady Dior Bag

Originally named the ChouChou bag, Dior rebranded its classic model in honor of the late Princess Diana of Wales. In 1995 upon Princess Diana visiting a Cézanne exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, France’s then-First Lady, Bernadette Chirac, gifted her Dior’s ChouChou bag. The princess was rarely spotted without the black Cannage quilted bag by her side, and the bag was officially renamed the Lady Dior with her blessing the following year. Though sources are unsure of just how many she had in her collection, she was also photographed with one in satin and another in crocodile.   


Chanel: Diana Bag – Princess Diana 

Chanel’s Classic Flap design with a playful curved panel, this bag was also named after Princess Diana of Wales after she was regularly spotted sporting the bag out and about. Securing her role as a timeless fashion icon, Karl Lagerfeld dubbed this particular silhouette the Diana. Still highly requested, the Diana was reintroduced in Spring 2015 by the fashion house with some minor adjustments for the modern woman, such as a leather shoulder pad on the chain strap for added comfort. 


Gucci: Jackie Hobo – Jackie O

Authentic Gucci Jackie Hobo

Introduced by Gucci in the 50s as the Fifties Constance, the bag was soon renamed the Jackie after being photographed on the arm of former US First Lady turned Princess, Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy Onassis. Photographed time and time again with different variations of her trusty Jackie hobo in-tow, it’s no wonder her influence as an American style icon warranted a name change for this timeless silhouette. Updated in 2009 by then-creative director Frida Giannini, adding modern elements like a wider strap, the New Jackie hobo was put into production at Gucci.


Hermes: Birkin Bag – Jane Birkin

Authentic Hermes Birkin Bag


As the story goes, the Birkin design was conceived by a chance-encounter between then- Hermes CEO Jean-Louis Dumas and stylish English muse/actress/singer/model Jane Birkin. Seated together on the same flight, it wasn’t until Birkin’s straw tote bag spilled her contents everywhere that the two began discussing the ideal handbag for jet-setters. Sketched out on an airplane sick-bag, the Birkin Bag was designed and has transformed into one of the most coveted handbags of our time. 


Mulberry: Alexa Satchel – Alexa Chung

Authentic Mulberry Alexa Satchel


What began with a men’s briefcase and some archival footage turned into one of Mulberry’s greatest handbag creations of all time. Then-creative director Emma Hill stumbled upon a photo of British model Alexa Chung wearing Mulberry’s Elkington briefcase and was instantly inspired to create a bag that would be equally as functional and effortless. Enter the Alexa satchel—contemporary, practical, and chic. Since its release in 2010, Chung has been photographed wearing her namesake bag, adding to it her feminine, bohemian style. 


There are many more fashion staples that serve as a zeitgeist to their era, and its reigning fashion symbols. The Hermes Kelly Bag was named for actress/Princess of Monaco; Grace Kelly. Ferragamo's Sophia bag was named after actress Sophia Loren. Gucci created the Bardot Bag for for actress Brigitte Bardot. Louis Vuitton nodded to the film director Sofia Coppola with her namesake bag. There are plenty of other nest eggs in the names and concepts behind your favorite fashion pieces.

Be sure to check back for more information on how fashion history shaped some of your go-tos, and for now, find out more about the Classic Chanel Flap Bag.


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