Round Two

Balenciaga brings back a Sixties It Bag.


In 1968 Richard Nixon was elected president, Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis, and Hair debuted on Broadway. It was also the year when, five decades after opening his atelier in San Sebastián, Spain, Cristóbal Balenciaga presented his final collection and retired. (As an act of mourning, Countess Mona von Bismarck shut herself behind closed doors for three days.) While his career was lengthy, Balenciaga designed only a few handbags. One of his last, a simple tote free of hardware and bling, is a favorite of the company’s current creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière. When researching his prespring 2011 collection, he discovered a 1968 photograph of a Balenciaga runway model carrying the bag and wearing a giant basket hat and a striped shorts set. Now, as part of his Edition series, Ghesquière has designed a replica in duppioni silk with the same classic leather flap closure and roomy silhouette (he also added three new colors). “It truly stands the test of time,” says Ghesquière. “There is something about the round, voluminous cocoon shape that is part of Balenciaga’s DNA.”

Courtesy of Balenciaga Paris Archives (1968)