The Balenciaga collector, confessions from a crazy handbag lady
Have you ever been obsessed with anything in particular? Collecting stamps, football cards, or Star Wars products? Whatever it is you’re collecting it all boils down to the same thing. You need certain pieces in your collection and you willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
Mine is handbags. Balenciaga bags in particular. Collecting them has taken many years of hard work, research, stalking eBay and making lots of new friends through forums – because this started way before Instagram!
How it all started
So, it’s not a secret that I am a Balenciaga collector and a crazy handbag lady. Since I was a little girl I was mesmerized by designers like Chanel and Dior (still am!), but when Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director at Balenciaga from 1997 to 2012, launched the Motorcycle handbag line, it was love at first sight. This handbag was exactly what I was looking for in a bag: super soft, lightweight and distressed leather that comes in a variety of colours in a cool, rock chic design. With tassels and studs. Without the big logos. And the more wear it gets, the better it looks. Perfect for my lifestyle and personal style.
The plan was to get a black classic City, and maybe a red and a caramel colored. But this bag suited my lifestyle so well and the colors are amazingly pretty, so over the years, my Balenciaga collection grew quite a bit. And not only bags, it also includes small leather goods, shoes, leather jackets and bracelets. I have bought and sold a lot, hunting for holy grails. The collection has been in constant change. Today I am very happy with what I have, but I’m sure it will still change. Definitely not as frequently as before, but I may still add new additions and let some go to new homes.
But they’re all the “same”?
Why so many pieces of the same bag? You may say this is crazy, and yes, it is. But I am an all or nothing person, often following the saying “If the shoe fits, buy it in every color.” I prefer to have the same type of bag (or shoes for that matter) in different colors that actually work for me and my lifestyle. Something I feel comfortable in that I know I will get a lot of use out of. I would never have this many Balenciaga bags if I didn’t actually use them all. Those I didn’t use as much have gone to new homes. Also, looking at my colorful bag shelves every day gives me a little extra happiness. A good way to start the day.
Balenciaga accessories and ready-to-wear are also in the collection. I have a weakness for arm candy so Balenciaga bracelets are something I’ve been collecting for a long time as well. As with the bags, I tend to buy the same style in different colors. What works works, right?
And what is cuter than those small leather goods? Coin purses, card holders and wallets make it really easy to keep your stuff organized in the bag, and it makes it so much easier to switch to a new bag in a few seconds. If you’re like me, you like to rotate your bags and don’t want to spend a lot of time in the morning doing so.
Once a Bal gal, always a Bal gal
At least when it comes to the classic pieces from the Nicolas Ghesquière period. His successor, Alexander Wang, didn’t do much for Balenciaga in my opinion, and maybe that’s why he didn’t stay long. I have more faith in Demna Gvasalia. Even though he has designed some ridiculous pieces (which, to be honest, you can’t do anything else than see the humor in), he has also renewed Balenciaga with new and cool pieces in both the accessories and ready-to-wear department, but at the same time, he embraces the classics.
- Fun fact 1: my youngest son’s middle name is Nicholas, a tribute to the talented Nicolas Ghesquière.
- Fun fact 2: my friends made me a song they performed at our wedding, and of course they included a line about Balenciaga.