Designer handbags are expensive. Most will set you back more than a month of your salary. But that’s what makes them special.
These bags are a status symbol and a sign that you’re prepared to invest in your closet and yourself. Most of us aren’t walking into a Hermes store and buying a Birkin at the drop of a hat.
While some designer handbags will set you back an attainable three-figure price tag, some fashion houses have bags that run into the tens of thousands.
These are the designer handbags that go beyond the world of fashion and become status symbols in their own right. A Birkin handbag speaks just as much volume as a fiery red Ferrari.
We’re rounding up the most expensive handbag brands in the world, looking at their most popular styles. We’ll be trying to get to the bottom of why these designer bags are so expensive. What justifies these handbags’ four, five, or sixth-figure price tag? Read on to find out.
1. Alexander McQueen: Unleashing Bold Luxury
Alexander McQueen was the Creative Director at Givenchy before he departed to create his eponymous fashion brand.
The most popular Alexander McQueen bags
Many of the most popular Alexander McQueen bags at Farfetch incorporate the brand’s iconic skull logo:
1. Wing-Like Hexagonal De Manta Clutch
Named after the manta ray, the De Manta clutch features a distinct hexagonal shape and wing-like detail
2. Four-Ring Skull Clutch Bag, $2,031
The Skull clutch boasts the label’s signature Four Ring knuckle handle with skull charms
3. The Story Shoulder Bag, $2,290
The Story shoulder bag is a timeless piece made from black leather with a gold-tone metal handle and chain-link strap
Why Alexander McQueen bags are so expensive
When it comes to understated luxury, Alexander McQueen is an industry leader. Their bags sell anywhere from $900 to $4,000, with most of their bags sitting at a mid-point between these two prices.
These bags are expensive due to their intricate designs and the crocodile-texture leather that is often used.
2. Balenciaga: Merging Tradition with Trendsetting Designs
Balenciaga is a European fashion house that has continued to evolve to meet the current trends. Originally inspired by the Spanish aristocracy, Balenciaga’s most famous designs come from its motorcycle-inspired range during the early 2000s.
The brand is once again making a comeback in the streetwear movement, with their bags priced anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000.
The most popular Balenciaga bags
Balenciaga’s most iconic bags come from their motorcycle-inspired collection, although newer designs are starting to make a statement.
1. Neo Classic City Crocodile-Effect Leather Bag, $2,650
Durable and timeless, the well-loved Balenciaga black Neo Classic City bag is crafted from luxurious crocodile-effect leather
2. Vanity XS Round Bag, $1,390
This Vanity XS Round bag is made of logo-print leather and is sized to fit the necessities
3. Bazar Shopper Tote Bag, $2,125
The Bazar Shopper is Balenciaga’s high-end take on cheap market bags
4. Small Ville Leather Top Handle Bag, $2,150
This petite Ville bag is a structured ladylike satchel crafted of rich leather and stamped with a bold logo across the front
Why Balenciaga bags are so expensive
Part of the reason why Balenciaga bags are so expensive is due to the brand’s unique heritage within the world of European fashion. Its era-defining designs and quality craftsmanship are also behind Balenciaga’s four-figure price tags.
3. Burberry: Quintessentially British Luxury
Perhaps the most famous British brand of them all is Burberry. With its multiple royal warrants and classic English styling, Burberry has a loyal following among fashion editors, royals, and celebrities.
The most popular Burberry bags
1. Lola Small Leather Shoulder Bag, $2,250
This small version of Burberry’s Lola shoulder bag is made from quilted nappa leather with hand-painted edges and illuminated with monogram hardware
2. Pocket Bag in Two-Tone, $3,033
Perfect for all out and about adventures, this medium two-tone Pocket bag features a front logo print, an adjustable detachable shoulder strap, and a cutout top handle
3. Mini Olympia Bag, $4,067
Inspired by Olympia London, Burberry’s Olympia features a distinct curved shape accented with a chunky chain-link
4. Burberry TB Bag, $2,590
This structured convertible clutch features the iconic Thomas Burberry monogram clasp and a detachable shoulder strap
Why Burberry bags are so expensive
Burberry’s British heritage, royal connections, and classic designs help it show off a four-figure price tag for its bags. While Burberry is an expensive luxury brand, you won’t be paying the same crazy price tag as you will at Hermes or Chanel.
Burberry is, therefore, a reasonably accessible entry-level designer brand for those who don’t want to break the bank.
4. Bvlgari: Artistic Elegance in Handbag Form
Since being taken over by LVMH in 2011, Bvlgari has been slowly but surely making a comeback with the help of its influencer marketing campaigns.
Their expensive handbags look more like a piece of living art than an accessory. The brand’s ‘Serpenti’ collection is the backbone of its luxury handbag collection.
The most popular Bvlgari bags
1. Serpenti Forever Top-Handle Bag, $3,400
Crafted in emerald green calf leather, this Serpenti Forever bag features light gold-plated brass hardware and the iconic snakehead closure in black and white agate enamel and green malachite
2. Serpenti Diamond Blast Crossbody Bag, $3,100
The Serpenti Diamond Blast crossbody bag brings a cool touch to the Serpenti universe
3. Serpenti Cabochon Crossbody Bag, $3,500
The Serpenti Cabochon boasts a geometric maxi matelassé pattern, inspired by the sinuous surface of cabochon-cut gemstones
Why Bvlgari bags are so expensive
Although we’re focusing on their handbags, Bvlgari is primarily viewed as a jewelry brand with famous links to celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor.
Their ‘Serpenti’ handbags capture this luxury aesthetic and take it to the next level. These bags are hand-assembled in Florence, with the snakehead receiving the same attention as their jewelry pieces.
5. Celine: Parisian Chic at Its Finest
Founded by the husband-and-wife duo of Celine and Richard Vipiana in 1945, Celine is the go-to brand for handbags that encapsulate the look of Parisian chic.
As a part of the LVMH group, it’s no surprise to see Celine on the list of some of the most expensive handbag brands in the world.
The most popular Celine bags
1. Celine 16 Bag, $4,250
A classic bag made of satinated calfskin leather, the Celine 16 has a removable shoulder strap, a top handle, and a twist-lock closure on the flap
2. Celine Trio Bag, $1,400
Although this has now been discontinued, the Celine Trio remains popular for its understated, timeless appeal
3. The Classic Box Bag, $3,730
A medium classic bag that features a chic boxy silhouette, finished with metallic clasp closure
4. Celine Luggage Bag, $3,200
A celebrity-favorite, this popular Celine Luggage bag is crafted from drummed calfskin leather and features leather handles and a front zipped pocket
Why Celine bags are so expensive
When it comes to the most expensive handbags, Celine is one that we think is worthy of its shocking price tag.
Celine bags offer a minimalistic style with a timeless silhouette and high-quality design. These luxury handbags aren’t a one-hit-wonder and instead are investments into your closet.
6. Chanel: The Dream of Timeless Luxury
When it comes to the most expensive handbag brands in the world, Chanel is one of the first brands that come to mind. Every woman dreams of owning a Chanel bag – whether it’s a classic flap or a ‘Boy’ bag.
The most popular Chanel bags
1. Chanel Classic Flap, $8,288
A 2001 medium Classic Flap shoulder bag that features the fashion house’s diamond quilting, leather and chain-link shoulder strap, and the iconic interlocking CC turn-lock
2. Chanel Boy Bag, $11,888
This 2016 Boy Chanel bag with Gourmette chain pays homage to Boy Capel, who was known as Coco Chanel’s everlasting love
3. Chanel Petit Shopping GST Tote Bag, $5,518
A Petit Shopping GST tote bag from 1997, featuring the signature quilting and leather and chain-link straps
4. Chanel Gabrielle, $5,300
First released in Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2017 runway show, the Gabrielle shoulder bag is a tribute to the fashion house’s founder Gabrielle Chanel
Why Chanel bags are so expensive
Chanel bags are so expensive because of the glamour and status behind the ‘Chanel’ brand. The material also plays a role in the cost.
7. Chloe: French Fashion’s Understated Luxury
Chloe began its life as one of the first ready-to-wear luxury brands for women. While their first bags launched in the early 2000s – almost five decades later – Chloe has produced several ‘it’ handbags.
The most popular Chloe bags
1. Chloe Tess O-Ring Crossbody Bag, $2,571
One of Chloé’s most iconic designs, the Tess crossbody bag is defined by its rounded silhouette
2. Chloe Yellow Croc Mini ‘Chloé C’ Bag, $1,690
The Chloe C bag features the C logo hardware set on the fold-over flap
3. Chloe Small Faye Shoulder Bag, $2,891
Made in Italy, the Chloe Faye bag boasts the brand’s signature O-ring and can be carried by the top handle or the shoulder strap
4. Chloe Drew Shoulder Bag, $2,425
First released in 2014 as part of Chloé’s fall/winter collection, the Drew bag achieved cult classic status among celebrities and fashion enthusiasts
Why Chloe bags are so expensive
With its links to French fashion and its understated silhouettes, it’s no surprise that Chloe bags are amongst the most expensive in the world.
Their pricing point is similar to Celine’s and appeals to a similar demographic. Chloe is often considered to be amongst the most underrated luxury brands.
8. Christian Dior: A Blend of Elegance and History
When a royal wears a bag, you know it’s about to reach cult status. While Dior bags were famous before Princess Diana, the ‘Lady Dior’ bag took the French brand’s handbag range to the most expensive list.
The most popular Christian Dior bags
1. Cannage Lady Dior Bag, $5,310
Sleek and refined, the Lady Dior bag is crafted in black lambskin with Cannage quilted stitching, complete with the signature ‘D.I.O.R.’ charms
2. Dior Oblique, $3,250
A staple of the Dior aesthetic, the Dior Book Tote is fully embroidered with a blue Dior Oblique motif
3. Diorever Tote Bag, $3,375
The Diorever bag features a grained leather construction detailed with a silver-tone plaque engraved with the brand’s signature Cannage pattern
4. D-Lite Bag, $5,300
Combining classic elegance with modernity, the Lady D-Lite bag is fully embroidered with a black Cannage motif and has a Christian Dior embroidery across the front
5. Montaigne Bag, $3,800
The refined 30 Montaigne bag is embellished with an antique gold-finish metal ‘CD’ clasp, inspired by the seal of a Christian Dior perfume bottle
Why Christian Dior bags are so expensive
Dior bags command their four (and five!) figure price tags because of the artisans who hand create these bags. A Dior bag is a piece of living art and one that is steeped in history.
9. Fendi: Timeless Elegance Across Decades
Established in the 1920s, Fendi is a luxury handbag brand that has withstood the test of time. LVMH has now brought the brand and is making a comeback by reissuing some of its most iconic handbags from the early 2000s.
The most popular Fendi bags
1. The Baguette, $3,290
The iconic mini Baguette bag is made of white soft nappa leather with a three-dimensional texture FF motif, decorated with an FF clasp
2. Peekaboo, $4,400
A practical, roomy bag, the Peekaboo Essentially bag can be carried by hand or worn either on the shoulder or cross-body
3. Mini Mon Tresor, $1,790
French for “my treasure,” the Mon Tresor leather bucket bag comes with a top handle, a removable shoulder strap, and a drawstring top that opens to a suede interior
Why Fendi bags are so expensive
Fendi bags are made in Italy, encapsulating the best of what European fashion has to offer.
10. Givenchy: The Essence of French Sophistication
Hubert de Givenchy defined a generation of fashion design with Audrey Hepburn as his muse. Givenchy continues to encapsulate the femininity of Hubert’s original designs.
While their Antigona and Pandora handbags aren’t topping the best-sellers list, they are famous for their understated luxury and eye-watering price tags.
The most popular Givenchy bags
1. Pandora, $1,225
One of Givenchy’s most famous bag silhouettes, the Pandora is crafted from textured black leather and features an architectural style, finished with double zips and a silver-toned logo
2. Nightingale, $1,251
This micro Nightingale is made from supple lambskin leather and boasts the signature 4G motif, two rounded top handles, and a detachable shoulder strap
3. Antigona, $2,350
A convertible structured satchel that has a top zip closure, double top handles, and a removable shoulder strap
4. Rottweiler, $1,350
Here’s an Antigona satchel designed with the brand’s unique Rottweiler print
Why Givenchy bags are so expensive
It’s the French charm and history that surrounds Givenchy that continues to push up its price.
The brand is synonymous with its use of chic Parisian designs and timeless silhouettes. If you want a bag that will last a lifetime, go to Givenchy.
11. Gucci: The Italian Icon of Luxury
Few brands capture the essence of ‘la dolce vita’ better than Gucci. This Italian brand is amongst the most coveted designer handbag labels.
The brand is currently reviving most of its iconic handbags from its archives, including the infamous ‘Jackie’ bag.
The most popular Gucci bags
1. GG Marmont Small Shoulder Bag, $2,350
The Marmont is a softly structured bag crafted in Italy from quilted matelassé leather and adorned with the brand’s iconic golden GG hardware
2. Small Dionysus Shoulder Bag, $2,550
This Dionysus bag is easily recognizable with the monogram print and the horseshoe-shaped buckle with tiger heads
3. Gold Chain Sylvie Buckle Bag, $2,400
Introduced in a mini size for Pre-Fall 2020, the Sylvie 1969 shoulder bag is defined by a narrow gold-toned metal chain fitted to the flap
4. Jackie Small Shoulder Bag, $2,850
A symbol of Gucci’s heritage, Jackie 1961 references the original style created and first worn during the ’60s
Why Gucci bags are so expensive
Gucci bags are expensive because of the brand’s rich heritage and its ability to reflect the best of Italian luxury craftsmanship.
As one of the most recognizable brands in the world, Gucci is able to charge one of the highest price points for its luxury handbags.
12. Hermès: The Pinnacle of Handbag Luxury
The ‘big daddy’ of luxury handbags. We’ve all heard of the $100,000+ Birkin bags and the never-ending waitlists for a Birkin or a Kelly.
While these eye-watering prices are mainly seen at auction, you’ll still find bags in the tens of thousands for sale directly from the boutiques.
Good luck getting your hands on an Hermès bag – they’re notoriously difficult to buy brand new and make it look easier to win the lottery.
The most popular Hermès bags
This timeless Hermes Kelly bag is made from Togo leather and has gold-tone hardware that accentuates the bag
Like most Hermes bags, the iconic Birkin is crafted from Togo leather complete with Palladium hardware
First launched in 1969, the Constance bag was designed by Catherine Chaillet, who named the bag after her daughter
The Evelyne bag was initially designed as a carryall for horse grooming equipment but was moved from the equestrian to leather goods department in the early 2000s
Why Hermes bags are so expensive
It’s not a bag – it’s a Birkin. Hermes bags are so expensive because they are more than just a handbag, they’re social status. You may walk away from a Hermes store feeling like you just paid for a new car.
The reason that Hermes bags are so expensive is due to their production cost. These bags are made by hand using the highest-quality materials, including exotic alligator and ostrich skin.
13. Louis Vuitton: Timeless Elegance in Every Stitch
With continuous price increases, Louis Vuitton bags are only ever going up in price. You’ll have to fight against waiting lists and growing demand to get your hands on some of the most expensive handbags in the industry.
The most popular Louis Vuitton bags
1. Alma Tote Bag, $1,749
Inspired by the art deco movement, the Alma bag features a structured silhouette and has been produced in countless materials like Monogram and Damier Ebène canvas
2. Damier Ebène Speedy 30 Handbag, $2,359
A perfect travel bag, the iconic Speedy was designed in 1930 as a smaller version of the Keepall bag
3. Twist Shoulder Bag, $4,672
Crafted from Louis Vuitton’s Epi leather, the Twist bag is defined by the now-iconic LV sculptural Twist lock
4. Petite Boite Chapeau
Small but practical, the Petite Boite Chapeau is a hatbox-inspired bag that’s perfect for day-to-evening strolls
5. Neverfull MM Tote Bag, $4,357
The Neverfull tote has generous dimensions, making it an ideal everyday bag
6. Keepall Weekender Bag, $6,832
The perfect travel companion, Louis Vuitton’s Keepall offers both style and more than enough rooms for your travel wardrobe
7. Noe Shoulder Bag, $3,702
Originally crafted as a bag to help transport champagne bottles in 1932, the Noe bag is a bucket bag that has a drawstring fastening and an adjustable shoulder strap
Why Louis Vuitton bags are so expensive
Louis Vuitton bags are so expensive because their production takes place in Europe and the United States.
With the ever-growing demand for their bags – especially in Asia – Louis Vuitton continues to raise their prices to remain at the top of the luxury market. Louis Vuitton’s most popular bags are often their oldest – such as the speedy and Alma bags.
14. Prada: From Classic to Contemporary Chic
Prada is a luxury brand that didn’t experience overnight success. After being launched in the 1910s, Miuccia Prada, the granddaughter of the brand’s founder, would make Prada a household name.
The beauty of Prada handbags is that you can find them at a spectrum of price points – from $500 to almost $5,000. You’ll find a mixture of attainable starter designer handbags alongside investment pieces.
The most popular Prada bags
1. Cleo Spazzolato-Leather Tote Bag, $2,740
Sleek curved lines give the Cleo bag’s modern rounded silhouette a soft and light look
2. Bowling Bag
A retro-chic compact bag, the Prada Bowling bag is made in Italy from white leather with contrasting black trim
3. Re-Issued Nylon Bags, $950
The Re-Edition 2000 mini-bag is a new interpretation of an iconic Prada style, made of innovative Re-Nylon, produced from recycled, purified plastic trash collected in the ocean, fishing nets, and textile waste fibers
4. Galleria Saffiano Tote Bag, $3,200
One of Prada’s most iconic bags, the sophisticated Galleria is made of iconic Saffiano leather with a crosshatch texture
Why Prada bags are so expensive
Prada is one brand that takes its ‘made in Italy’ credentials to heart. Their handbags are made in Italy using the finest materials and with the help of trained artisans.
The price point at Prada does fluctuate depending on the material – with their nylon bags being their most affordable.
15. Tom Ford: American Luxury with a Global Appeal
After acting as Creative Director for YSL and Gucci, Tom Ford established his eponymous fashion label in 2004.
Like most designer handbags, you’ll rarely – if ever – be able to pick these bags up at a discount. Although a relatively new American brand, Tom Ford charges a similar price tag as heritage brands like Louis Vuitton.
The most popular Tom Ford bags
1. Bianca Mini Hobo, $3,250
Tom Ford’s Bianca hobo features an architectural silhouette and a sculptural gold-tone metal top handle
2. T Screw Mini Shopping Bag, $1,390
A practical daily companion, Tom Ford’s T Screw mini shopper is made from black cotton canvas accented with tonal leather trims and logo detailing
3. Tara Mini Crossbody, $1,990
Compact yet practical, the Tara mini crossbody bag is made in Italy from black grained calf leather and is shaped with a flap top, finished with the designer’s T-monogram hardware
Why Tom Ford bags are so expensive
Tom Ford bags are so expensive because of their exclusivity. Unlike a Louis Vuitton or Chanel, these aren’t the bags that you’ll instantly recognize on the street.
Coincidentally, this is part of what makes these bags amongst some of the most expensive in the world. Just like Tom Ford, they’re classic, timeless, and understated.
16. Saint Laurent: The Modern Face of Classic French Luxury
Formerly Yves Saint Laurent – also known as YSL – this French brand was founded in the early 1960s.
The brand is credited with creating some of the most influential silhouettes and minimalistic aesthetics that are still relevant today. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000+ on a Saint Laurent bag at Harvey Nichols.
The most popular Saint Laurent bags
1. Uptown Envelope Pouch, $1,190
The Uptown Envelope pouch offers refined elegance, with the signature YSL logo plaque and chain-link shoulder strap
2. Sac de Jour Small Leather Tote, $2,690
A timeless and elegant bag, the Saint Laurent Sac De Jour has a structural silhouette with a top-handle design and an adjustable shoulder strap
3. Manhattan Medium Leather Tote, $2,950
Crafted in Italy from black leather, the Saint Laurent Manhattan bag features a structured shape with a gold-tone logo plaque fastening that offers subtle branding
4. Small Loulou Matelassé Leather Shoulder Bag, $2,290
The Lou Lou bag from Saint Laurent is characterized by its quilted design and envelope flap
5. Le Carré Leather Cross-Body Bag, $2,900
Saint Laurent takes inspiration from vintage satchels to design the Le Carré bag that features engraved gold hardware at the front
Why Saint Laurent bags are so expensive
Saint Laurent is so expensive because it offers itself as a younger alternative to Chanel and Dior. Brand recognition is the main reason behind the price tag, although you will still find Saint Laurent bags on sale and at premium outlets.