A history of luxury leather bags: From the iconic Hermès Birkin to the modern-day It-bag

The rich history of leather bags can be traced back centuries, with various cultures indulging in its creation and development. Leather as a material offered durability, strength, and an aesthetic appeal, making it an ideal choice for bags. 

In the early 20th century, the idea of travel further reinforced the importance of elaborate leather luggage sets and handbags. Iconic luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Hermès began their journey to becoming household names during this period. 

Today, luxury leather bags symbolize status and sophistication, and they remain a popular choice among business professionals and fashionistas alike. 

Let’s take a look at the history of these iconic accessories:

How Leather Bags gained popularity

The rise of Hollywood films in the 1930s and 1940s contributed to the popularity of leather bags, as movie stars and celebrities began to emphasize handbags as a crucial part of their stylish ensembles. Magazines and newspapers started covering these trends, leading to an increasing number of women desiring leather bags.

Fast forward to the late 20th century, and the leather bag gained further prominence as various luxury brands took their designs to a new level. Brands like Prada, Dior, and Fendi introduced innovative styles and materials, with leather remaining one of the most sought-after and cherished components.

The Iconic Hermès Birkin Bag 

One of the most iconic designer bags is the Hermès Birkin bag. The iconic design was created in 1981 by French designer Jean-Louis Dumas for actress Jane Birkin. The bag quickly became a celebrity favorite, with many famous women such as Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian seen carrying it. The Hermes Birkin bag has become a symbol of wealth and status due to its high price tag – it can cost upwards of $10,000 USD! 

The It-Bag Phenomenon 

In the 21st century, leather bags continue to hold a special place in the world of fashion. Luxury brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and many more hold a dominant position in the market, with celebrities and fashion enthusiasts endorsing their products. 

In more recent years, luxury brands have capitalized on the ‘It-bag’ phenomenon by creating new designs that appeal to different customers. An ‘It-bag’ is defined as any handbag that receives widespread attention due to its popularity among celebrities or influencers. Examples include Yves Saint Laurent’s Sac de Jour and Chloe’s Drew Bag, which have become wardrobe staples for many fashion lovers around the world. 

Modern Designs & Innovations 

Moreover, the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest has enabled even smaller boutique brands to showcase their leather creations, further influencing the global trend for leather bags. Parallelly, sustainable and eco-friendly leather alternatives have emerged in the market, reflecting a broader shift in consumer preferences and reflecting the everlasting influence of leather bags in women's fashion.


Luxury leather bags have been around for centuries, but their popularity continues to rise today thanks to their timeless style and practicality. The classic bags will never go out of style! See the new collection of LEONTHE and invest in a designer bag that will last you for years to come.

LEONTHE perfectly mixes timeless design, precious materials, and minimalist accessories - all while keeping up with the highest quality standards.