For vintage fiends, John Galliano-era Dior is like gold dust in 2022 – particularly the designer’s iterations of the house’s Saddle bag. The fashion world sat up and paid attention when Galliano debuted the style at his spring/summer 2000 show. As its name suggests, the bag’s shape calls to mind a horse’s saddle, with a flap closure and shoulder strap. Shortly after its launch, its It-bag status was affirmed when Carrie Bradshaw nonchalantly carried a denim style in an episode of Sex and the City.
Sales were steady until 2007, when Dior temporarily ceased production. Cut to 2014, and demand skyrocketed once again after Beyoncé carried a pony-hair Saddle, and reached new heights in 2018 when creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri reworked the bag for autumn/winter 2018. So far in 2022, Emily Ratajkowski, Rihanna and Gigi Hadid have all carried vintage Saddles, inspiring customers (Gen-Zs in particular) to scour the market for their own.
“The in-house revival of vintage Dior has enhanced a collective appreciation for both vintage and new Saddle bags,” says Antonia Johnstone, founder and CEO of resale marketplace Sign of the Times, who reports that Saddle bags from every era sell like hot cakes on the platform. “That’s your reminder to look after your vintage designer handbags!” she quips.
Reviving old styles “reinforces the message that the designs are made to last and be reused rather than discarded after one season”, say the team at Vestiaire Collective. (Dior has been one of the site’s bestselling brands since the beginning of 2022.) Demand for Saddles is on the rise at 1stDibs, too. Anthony Barzilay Freund, editorial director and director of fine art at the retailer, reveals that searches for the style have increased by 65 per cent in the last 12 months, which he says “really speaks to the robust collectors’ market for this design”.
For Barzilay Freund, the “sheer variety of [Saddle bag] iterations that have been produced since its inception makes the hunt for a unique pattern or colour more enticing”. Johnstone agrees: “As a design blueprint, the vintage silhouette is foolproof: offering the perfect canvas to get creative with new textiles, prints and colours… We expect the Saddle’s demand to persist into 2023, having proved itself not a fad, but a token of timeless elegance.” From oblique monogrammed canvas (hello, logomania) to playful embroidery, there’s a Saddle bag for everyone out there.
CreditLead image: Thierry Orban via Getty Images