There’s nothing quite as rewarding as investing in an accessory from the best designer purse brands. Yes, they cost more than what you find in a big box store, but their superior quality means they’ll stand the test of time. Here are 30 of the best designer purse brands you should know about.
Splurge: Prada Bibliothèque Tote Saffiano City Leather Maroon and Gray Handbag
Save: Prada Portamonete Vitello Move Caramel Beige Leather Zip Around Wallet
Prada, founded by Mario Prada in 1913, began as a leather goods store, making luggage and steamer trunks. After Mario Prada died in 1952, the company floundered a bit, but in the 1970s, Prada’s granddaughter, Miuccia, took over, aggressively expanding the brand to the icon it is today.
Splurge: Fendi Runaway Small Vitello Century Leather Snake Skin
Save: Fendi Blue Leather Rainbow Stud Pouch Clutch Wristlet Bag
Fendi started as a small leather goods and furs shop in Rome in 1925, opened by Adele Fendi and her husband, Eduardo. Their five daughters took over the shop in 1946, taking it to the next level by honing in on the craftsmanship and quality of the bags and investing in sales and public relations.
Mulberry was founded in 1971 in southwest England. Its celebrity-inspired handbags appeal to a younger crowd, and the brand is known for creating “it” bags. Most styles are crafted from oak-wood brown or black leather, though they do create limited edition colorways and seasonal designs.
4. Phillip Lim
Splurge: Phillip Lim Pashli Medium Satchel
Save: Phillip Lim Saddle Bag
Phillip Lim is another new, cutting edge brand that didn’t debut until 2005. Lim was born in 1973. His mother was a seamstress, and Lim studied business and economics before learning stitching techniques and becoming an emerging talent in the NYC fashion scene. Today, the Phillip Lim brand has 14 retail stores across the US, Asia, and London.
Splurge: Gucci Soho Medium Black Double Leather Chain Shoulder Bag
Save: Gucci Micro Guccissima Pink Leather Long Wallet
Gucci was founded in Florence, Italy in the 1920s when Guccio Gucci opened his first leather goods shop. When he passed away in 1953, his four sons joined the company and nurtured the brand to what it is today. This included expanding to New York, London, and Beverly Hills and making inroads into the celebrity community.
Chloé is a French luxury brand founded by Gaby Aghion in 1952. Over the years, Chloé has continued to be cutting-edge, becoming the first luxury brand with an iPhone-specific view of its website. Today, Chloé has boutiques all over the world, including New York City, Sydney, Singapore, London, Tokyo, Seoul, and Moscow.
Splurge: Chanel Tri-color Leather Flap Chain Shoulder Bag
Save: Chanel Airlmail Red Leather Pouch
The quilted black bag is one of Chanel’s most recognizable designs, but the brand has come to stand for glamor and luxury in everything they make. The House of Chanel was established in 1909 by Coco Chanel, who revolutionized high fashion of the era by designing comfortable, casual suits when corsets were still the norm.
8. Yves Saint Laurent
Splurge: Saint Laurent Classic Medium College Bag In Brown Matelasse Leather
Save: Saint Laurent Niki Medium Black Lambskin Shoulder Bag
Initially, Yves Saint Laurent (or YSL) focused on couture women’s clothing inspired by the structure and power of menswear and celebrated gender fluidity that was, at the time, groundbreaking. Over the years, its look has become cool and rebellious with the current trajectory, balancing the look between the old and new.
Splurge: Coach Signature Metallic Mini Bennett Satchel
Save: Coach Rowan Satchel
Coach dates back to 1941 when they started as Manhattan Leather Bags. The brand’s founder was inspired by a baseball mitt and wanted to create a handbag with a similar look. The 1960s brought bright colors and industrial hardware and, in the 1990s, Coach became known as the first affordable luxury brand.
10. Bottega Venetta
Splurge: Bottega Veneta Black Leather Shoulder Bag
Save: Bottega Veneta Intrecciomirage Gold/Black Leather Clutch Pouch Bag
Bottega Veneta was founded in 1966 in Vicenza where it was known for its high-quality artisanal leather goods and its iconic leather weave design called intrecciato which is still used on the exterior of a lot of its designs. The brand changed a bit over the years but have recently returned to their roots: high-quality bags with intrecciato exteriors and no flashy logos.
11. Mansur Gavriel
Splurge: Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag
Source: Mansur Gavriel
Save: Mansur Gavriel Logo Flat Leather Crossbody
Mansur Gavriel is named after its co-founders, Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel, and is truly a modern brand. They started the line with only two designs, a bucket and a tote, each with a distinctive patent leather interior. Since then, they have expanded dramatically, with many designs and colors available.
12. Louis Vuitton
Splurge: Louis Vuitton Valisette Verticale Top Handle Bags Handbags Purse
Source: Louis Vuitton
Save: Louis Vuitton Mini Pochette Handbag
Source: Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton started creating at only 16 years old when he became a trunk-master. In 1837, he traveled to Paris for an apprenticeship and was quickly recognized for his talent. By 1914, he had 225 employees. Today, Louis Vuitton is still rooted in this superior craftsmanship. It’s one of the world’s most popular brands and is sold in 50 countries.
Splurge: Burberry Nova Haymarket Check Gladstone Tote Bag
Save: Burberry Clutch Belt Bag Beige/Yellow Mrais Lth Bicol Medium Clutch
Burberry is a British luxury brand best-known for its trench coats. When it opened its first shop in London in 1891, the brand focused more on outdoor attire and innovated its breathable waterproof fabric called Gabardine. The brand expanded in the 1970s and 80s into clothing and accessories, all produced under the strict demand of the London headquarters.
14. Michael Kors
Splurge: Michael Kors Collection Brown Large Miranda Python Tote Suntan
Save: Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Large Trifold Wallet
Michael Kors started his company in 1981, and his handbags soon became trendy and fashionable for women of all ages. In 1997, Kors made a lower-priced line of ready-to-wear clothing while also designing for other well-known labels like Celine. By 2004, Michael Kors bags became popular across the fashion world.
15. Stella McCartney
Splurge: Stella Mccartney Black Vegan Gold Peace Handbag Bag
Save: Stella Mccartney Blue Polyester Wallet
Stella McCartney never uses any fur or leather in her designs. This is one of the most environmentally responsible, honest, and modern brands around, focusing on not only preventing animal cruelty but also sustainable production.
16. Proenza Schouler
Splurge: Proenza Schouler Borsa Ps Small Backpack
Save: Proenza Schouler Blush Pink Leather Mini Crossbody Shoulder Bag
Proenza Schouler launched its first handbag in 2008, a satchel that it became widely known for. The brand has evolved and expanded into many other areas. In 2017, they dropped their ready-to-wear line and created a sister company called White Label that offers casual looks and basics.
Splurge: Valentino Light Blue Handbag
Save: Valentino Leather Brown Rockstud Handbag Shoulder Bag
The first collection by Valentino was presented in 1955, and Elizabeth Taylor immediately placed an order for one of his dresses. Valentino’s first couture line was introduced in 1962, and he was sought out by many of the biggest celebrities of the day, including Audrey Hepburn, Princess Margaret, and Jackie Kennedy.
18. Alexander McQueen
Splurge: Alexander McQueen Gold Black Glitter Leather Box Chain Crossbody Bag
Save: Alexander McQueen Gold Metallic Grain Leather Card Wallet Holder
Alexander McQueen is known for its lavish runway shoes and controversial collections. The brand was founded in 1982 and was acquired by Gucci in 2000, at which point McQueen remained creative director. The brand grew exponentially, and, though it hasn’t always been easy, its handbags are one of its most popular and profitable items.
19. Dolce & Gabbana
Splurge: Dolce & Gabbana Black Leather Handbag
Save: Dolce & Gabbana Green Denim Leather Hand Shoulder Travel Bag
Some might say that Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have a perfect fashion partnership. They met when they were both working as assistants and, after a short time, began working together to form the Dolce & Gabbana brand, staging their first runway show in 1985. The brand grew immensely in the 1990s, becoming a popular choice for celebrities and often seen on the red carpet.
Splurge: Céline Black Handbag
Save: Céline Pink Leather Card Holder
Céline Vipiana founded her namesake brand in 1945 with her husband. It was one of the first major luxury brands, starting as a made-to-order children’s shoe business. In 1960, the brand pivoted to ready-to-wear women’s fashion with an emphasis on sportswear and leather goods, including gloves, loafers, and bags.
Thierry Hermès founded his namesake brand in 1837 when he established a harness workshop in Paris. His son took over in 1880, expanding the brand to create saddles and specially-designed bags for riders. His grandsons eventually took over. Their first leather handbags were introduced in 1922, and they expanded into the world of high fashion in the 1930s.
Splurge: LONGCHAMP Balzane Burgundy Red Hobo Leather Handbag
Save: Longchamp Le Pliage Club Nylon Tote Shoulder Bag
Longchamp is perhaps best known for its iconic Le Pliage bag, but it started as a tobacco store, selling luxury leather goods to smokers. In the 1950s, they expanded to wallets and pouches and then into luggage. The Le Pliage bag followed soon after, and the rest is history.
23. Christian Louboutin
Splurge: Christian Louboutin Sweety Large Nu Calf Gaia Purse
Source: NPN Bags
Save: Christian Louboutin Loubiposh Spiked Leather Blue Clutch
The Christian Louboutin brand is best known for its red-soled stilettos, but when it comes to purse brands, it’s one of the most sought after. Louboutin’s fascination with shoes began in 1976 and he traveled the world making sketches. In 1991, he opened a shoe salon in Paris, eventually attracting the attention of big-name celebrities and expanding into purses and other leather goods.
24. Kate Spade
Splurge: Kate Spade NY Magnolia Street Mina Tote
Save: Kate Spade New York Triple Gusset Dawn Crossbody Purse
One of the newer and more affordable designer purse brands is Kate Spade, which was founded in New York in 1993. The brand started with the goal of creating the perfect handbag and had only six styles to start, combining colors and sleek utilitarian shapes in a way that no one had seen before. This spirited, curious brand is fun and colorful and popular with women of all ages.
25. Tory Burch
Splurge: Tory Burch Amanda Mini Satchel Handbag
Save: Tory Burch Ivory Batik Medallion Canvas Tote Bag
Source: Tony Burch
In 2004, Tory Burch started by launching its retail store in Manhattan. Almost everything sold out immediately, and not long after that, Oprah called Tory Burch the next big thing. She was right. Today, Tory Burch has 250 stores worldwide and the brand has grown exponentially into watches, home decor, beauty, wearable tech, and, of course, handbags.
26. Dooney & Bourke
Splurge: Dooney & Bourke Florentine Leather Satchel Natural
Source: Dooney & Bourke
Save: Dooney & Bourke Cupcakes Wristlet
Peter Dooney and Frederic Bourke launched their brand in 1975 with two products: surcingle belts and suspenders. They branched into handbags in 1981, later launching their stores and distributing their products through popular stores like Nordstrom and Saks, reaching more people and becoming a well-known name.
27. Jimmy Choo
Splurge: Jimmy Choo Multicolor Leather Handbag
Save: Jimmy Choo Neptune Leather Key Holder with Stars
Jimmy Choo was raised by shoemakers, originally learning from his father. In 1986, Choo opened his first shop. By 1988, he’d landed an eight-page spread in Vogue. His biggest break, though, came in 1990 when Princess Diana was seen wearing a pair of his shoes, elevating him to an icon in the fashion world.
28. Charlotte Olympia
Splurge: Charlotte Olympia Luscious Long Clutch Bag
Save: Charlotte Olympia Jukebox clutch
Like so many other designers, Charlotte Olympia started with shoes, opening her first store in London in 2010 and quickly expanding into purses and other accessories. These designs are heavily influenced by old Hollywood glamour and are described as luxurious with a bit of a sense of humor.
Splurge: Balenciaga Black Handbag
Save: Balenciaga Black Leather Wallet
Another fashion house with a long history, Balenciaga was founded in 1917 and known for its uncompromising standards. Balenciaga was well-known for its clothing and experiments with a range of silhouettes and fabrics. These ideas carry through to the brand’s handbags, with some of the most interesting designs and is the most talked about in the world.
30. Miu Miu
Splurge: Miu Miu Grey Leather Wallet
Save: Miu Miu Black Leather Card Holder
Miuccia Prada started Miu Miu in 1993 and named it after the nickname that her family gave her. Miu Miu stands in high contrast to what she was doing at Prada at the time, focusing more on funky, fun, rebellious designs rather than streamlined minimalism.