Dior handbags: The complete buyer’s guide

The house of Dior has had an inarguably massive impact on the course of fashion. Christian Dior erupted onto the style scene in 1947 with his iconic New Look, which revolutionised women’s clothing. Despite the designer’s untimely death aged 52, a litany of exceptional designers at the helm of Dior continued his legacy, adding new twists to the Parisian house’s design language. From Yves Saint Laurent’s bohemian touch and Marc Bohan’s introduction of the Dior oblique motif to John Galliano’s bold and controversial tenure and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s modern feminist approach, Dior has offered history-making styles. These, of course, have long extended beyond clothing to shoes, jewellery and some of the most famous and covetable handbags in the world.

The brand’s long history is punctuated by numerous iconic bags. Take the historic Lady Dior bag, named after Princess Diana, which continues to be popular in new iterations. Or Galliano’s Saddle Bag which had a chokehold on millennials in the early 2000s and is currently basking in Gen Z approval in 2023. According to fashion resale platform Vestiaire Collective, Dior is among the top five luxury handbag brands most frequently searched for on its app, alongside Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, and Hermès. “Since the beginning of 2022, Dior has been one of our best-selling brands on Vestiaire Collective, and the Saddle is one of the best-selling models of Dior,” a spokesperson said. “This positions it among the best-performing luxury handbag models in our catalogue.”

Dior enjoys similar popularity with buyers at Bonhams according to Suzi Yang, Bonhams specialist of designer handbags and fashion: “We have continued to see an increase in appetite for Dior, in our last sale we had clients coming in to specifically view the multiple Dior bags we had on offer ahead of the auction. Notable lots were a classic black lambskin large Lady Dior bag from 2002 and a black patent medium Lady Dior from the early ‘90s, both sold above pre-sale estimates.”

Why are Dior handbags so popular?

While the Dior moniker on a bag instantly elevates its status, the brand offers much more than just clout. An assortment of spectacular creations that derive from Dior’s romantic and feminine house codes are often reimagined to appeal to every preference. From classic square bags and shoulder bags to roomy carryalls, there’s a Dior handbag for every aesthetic and occasion.

Dior handbags also make for smart investment pieces, with numerous classic styles retaining resale value over the years. “Christian Dior is a solid middle brand that won’t exceed retail prices if you sell it the next day but long term it retains its value, especially if you choose popular and classic styles,” advises Yang.

How much does a Dior handbag cost?

Like most luxury handbags, a Dior bag will easily set you back a few thousand pounds with prices increasing between 3 and 8 per cent depending on the design in 2023. The average Dior bag will cost anything upwards of £2,500 but, despite the hefty price tag, the demand for these bags is ever-increasing. In fact, the price tag is justified when you consider the resale demand for bags like the Lady Dior and versions of the saddle bag frequently seeing them sell for much more than their listed price on platforms like Bonhams and Vestiaire.

How to care for your Dior handbag

Given that a Dior bag is an investment, it pays to tend to them carefully so they can be a treasured heirloom for generations to come. Store your Dior bag in its accompanying dust bag or a box when not in use and stuff it with paper to retain the shape. Make sure to clean a fabric bag with a damp cloth and occasionally polish leather bags. For bags that are regularly used, consider the occasional professional clean or repair too.

The most iconic Dior handbags

If you’re on the hunt for your next arm candy, there are numerous factors to consider before taking the plunge on a luxury handbag. Find your perfect piece with our guide to the most iconic Dior handbags to buy new or pre-loved.

The Lady Dior

As beloved and iconic as the woman it’s named after, the Lady Dior has been a popular fixture of the brand’s handbag collection for decades. Designed by Gianfranco Ferré, the bag was gifted to Princess Diana in 1995 by Bernadette Chirac, then first lady of France. Initially named ​​Chouchou, meaning ‘favourite’ in French, the sculpted bag was rechristened after becoming one of Princess Diana’s most beloved style companions. The original bag’s rectangular shape was covered in black leather featuring a criss-cross cannage stitching pattern inspired by the upholstery on the cane chairs in the house’s couture salon. The Lady Dior also inspired the current popularity of trinkets and tchotchkes on handbags with its ‘DIOR’ charms hanging from the arched handles.

The Lady Dior continues to be a highly coveted bag with newer iterations including multiple sizes and fabrications, including supple leather, canvas, satin, and even jazzy sequins. “The bag remains an object of desire and is a symbol of elegance,” says Yang. “We continue to see an appetite for mini Lady Dior on the pre-loved market, a design classic that has been introduced to a new audience with Maria Grazia Chiuri’s recent iteration.” The classic bag is also soaring in popularity given its recent starring role in the final season of The Crown.

The Saddle Bag

Introduced by John Galliano in 1999 for Dior’s Spring 2000 ready-to-wear collection, the Saddle Bag is the original Noughties ‘It’ bag. Beloved by Y2K pop culture icons such as Paris Hilton and Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw, the bag’s equestrian-inspired curves and shoulder strap were swathed in multiple fabric iterations including the oblique Dior monogram, leather, and embroidery. While the bag’s popularity ebbed for a while, recent nostalgia-fuelled trends gave way to Maria Grazia Chiuri reintroducing the bag in 2018.

Since 2019, sales of the Dior Saddle bag have been constantly increasing at an average of 15 per cent each year on Vestiaire Collective. And while new iterations in a plethora of fabrics and prints are covetable, having found an audience with It girls such as Rihanna and Bella Hadid, vintage versions are still highly sought after. In 2022, two rare Saddle bags were sold for over £42,000 each on Vestiaire. Similarly, Bonhams has seen an increase in the demand for the original Trotter canvas version. Whether you’re eyeing a new Saddle bag or splurging on a vintage buy, you’ll be sure to look stylish with one slung over your shoulder.

Dior Book Tote

Maria Grazia Chiuri not only reinvented some iconic vintage bags but also introduced a collection of totes in Dior’s Spring 2018 collection that became instant classics. The uncomplicated open square tote crafted with canvas was based on a sketch by previous creative director Marc Bohan from 1967 and has been one of the house’s biggest hits. Dubbed the Book Tote given its designer’s intellectual leanings, the large carryall became a favourite of the fashion crowd, perfect for toting around essentials to the office, on a trip to the beach, or to the airport. Proving to be a perfect blank canvas, the Book Tote has been designed in numerous iterations, including the house’s famous toile de jouy, monogrammed canvas, embroidered textiles, and even personally monogrammed versions across its various sizes.

30 Montaigne bag

A fairly new entry to the list, the 30 Montaigne flap bag is named for the brand’s historic Paris address. The rectangular flap bag was introduced in 2019 to be as practical as it is stylish. Crafted from leather or canvas printed with the Dior oblique design, the bag features a signature CD initial clasp, two internal pockets, and a slip pocket on the back. The bag’s adjustable straps allow you to wear it as a crossbody bag or over the shoulder, making it endlessly versatile. The timeless design is sure to make for a great investment in all its colours.

Caro bag

Another Maria Grazia Chiuri invention, the Caro bag was presented as part of the brand’s Cruise 2021 show. An ode to Christian Dior’s sister Catherine, affectionately known as Caro, the bag is clad in the signature cannage motif of the Lady Dior and adorned with a gold-tone CD clasp. The Caro bag comes in two sizes and is crafted in a range of colours and textures including denim and shearling versions alongside leather in neutral and brighter hues.

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