My First Luxury Bag

Five contributors share with The Word. how their love-affair with designer bags began.

Designer Arpita Mehta, with her Prada Galleria Saffiano Bag that she purchased in 2013.


Sanjana received the Chanel Vertical Flap Bag as a present from her parents in 2006.

“The first luxury handbag I ever got was this Chanel Vertical Flap Bag, back in 2006. It was a gift from my parents and we picked it up from the Chanel store in Malaysia. This bag is not a classic, it’s their take on a classic and belonged to one of the seasonal collections.  

This bag will always be one of the most cherished items in my wardrobe because of the memory behind it…the fact that it was a gift from my parents, that it was my first luxury bag, and that my first bag was Chanel. Also, the fact that now it’s a vintage bag.

When I first got the bag, I almost styled my outfits to match the bag…that’s how obsessed I was with it! Even now, I find that it’s such a versatile piece that I use it quite often. It’s a great bag for an evening out, or even if you’re looking for a small sling bag for the day. It’s classic and versatile and goes with anything you style it with.” 


Arpita shares that she had always admired this Prada bag, and bought it on impulse in Berlin.

I do not want to come across as materialistic or clichéd but I love luxury bags. Throughout my teenage and early adult years, I developed a strong appreciation for luxury bags… I was fascinated with fashion, and would go through fashion magazines all the time.

In 2013, I purchased my first luxury bag, the Prada Galleria Saffiano Bag. And how I ended up buying it is what I’d call serendipitous. I always had this particular bag in my wishlist, but I didn’t know how I’d buy it or even where I would get the money for it. In July 2013, a friend and I were vacationing in Europe, but we had to cancel the Croatian leg of our trip and return to Mumbai early. We were in Berlin at that time, and I had some euros left with me… And I decided to visit the Prada store to see what the bag looked like in person.

The minute I saw the bag, I fell in love with it. It was a brand I had always adored, and I had always wanted to own a Prada item. Without hesitation, I made an impulsive purchase, despite having barely enough funds to survive the following day. But I was ecstatic! And what made it more special was that I bought it with my own, hard-earned money. I remember immediately clicking photographs of myself and the bag to share with my parents and my sister. It was truly very exciting.

My Prada Galleria Saffiano is a black-coloured, classic style. I consider it an all-seasonal bag which can hold a lot of things. And I have been using this bag for a very long time. In fact, I sometimes change the strap of the bag to switch up the look and make it more interesting.

I believe that when investing a significant amount of money, it is better to purchase a timeless piece rather than a seasonal bag. I own a variety of styles for different occasions such as day, night, beach bags, or bags to carry to events. I frequently use all my bags and they are not just stuffed away somewhere inside the cupboards. I really take good care of them and treat them as my babies. I carry them with a lot of love and pride.”


Princess Diana chose to wear this dress by designer Christina Stambolian after then-Prince Charles admitted to his affair with now-Queen Camilla Parker Bowles on national television.

“I was 15 when I got my first luxury handbag—the Chanel Classic Flap bag in beige. It was a present to me from my mom once I graduated high school in 2009. I was beyond thrilled when my mom passed her Chanel down to me, it was literally my dream bag at the time. Knowing how much she valued it and yet chose to part with it to see me happy is what made the gesture even more special. 

Growing up around my elder sister and mom made me aware of luxury brands and fashion at quite an early age. I knew my first luxury bag had to be timeless and elegant and also something I could wear from day to night. I always had my eye on this Chanel bag from my mom’s collection and knew that I’d have my own someday.

The colour of this bag works literally with any outfit and can be styled so easily. However, since it’s lambskin and super delicate, I don’t have the heart to wear it on a daily basis. Also, since it’s a classic and everlasting style, along with being an investment piece with the rising Chanel prices, I like to take good care of it. So now, I only carry it when the weather permits and for special occasions. This Chanel bag is going to be with me forever. And if I have a daughter someday, then she will get it, just the way my mother gifted it to me.

My relationship with luxury bags has changed over time. Over the years, I indulged myself in every ‘It Bag’ of the season, and eventually realised that they would lie in a corner of my wardrobe once the trend faded out. Life has come a full circle as I have grown older, and now I have learned that it’s better to use my money to purchase only classic, investment pieces that stand the test of time and trends.”


Mamta bought this Dior Soft Woven Tote on impulse in 2007, while living in Chicago.

“My first luxury bag was a Christian Dior Soft Woven Tote in Red, back in 2007. I was in my 20s at that time, out of college, spreading my wings in my career. I was living in Chicago then, and this bag was almost love at first sight. It was a beautiful, bright shade of red that instantly appealed to me. I vividly remember when I purchased it…a gloomy, winter when my wardrobe was dominated by monochromes, particularly black coats and sweaters. So red was the perfect pop of colour!

I have to confess that I bought it on impulse, as I felt I was ready for my first bag. And I couldn’t get enough of it! Everywhere I went, this bag went with me… It was special because it made me feel happy, and red is a colour of energy and passion, which always resonates with me (especially because I am a fire sign, Sagittarius). It was big and spacious enough to operate like a daily tote, and hence it was definitely used as one.

I love luxury bags, but I don’t let them define me. What I mean is, I buy bags, or update my collection when I really fancy something, or when I want to reward myself for an achievement. But I don’t buy them as a follower of trends, or under any pressure to keep up. I am as much as a believer in quiet luxury, and often buy bags from emerging Italian leather craftsmen, who are celebrated in their fashion circles and may not be global icons (just as yet). Quality and craft is paramount, and the story behind the brand and the maker is yet another important attraction for me.

I have come to own quite a few bags from different fashion houses over time, as a result of slow and steady accumulation. Although I love my bags, the phrase ‘you will find my money hanging in my closet’ doesn’t apply to me. I do use my Dior tote sometimes, though I must confess, it has been graduated relegated to the back of the closet. This feature has been a soft reminder to pull it out, so thank you.”


Artist Jennifer Lopez in a Michael Kors gown at the 2004 Golden Globes after calling off her engagement from Ben Affleck, whom she married nearly two decades later.

“The first luxury bag I bought was a Louis Vuitton Speedy from the flagship store in Paris as a souvenir of my trip. This was back in 2015.

This bag will always be special to me because it was bought during my first solo international trip, when I was visiting Paris Fashion Week 2015. My photographer in Paris, Melanie, became a good friend and seeing how I was very intrigued by the queue outside the luxury boutiques in Champs-Élysées, she encouraged me to get a Louis Vuitton souvenir from their flagship store. We initially went to buy a wallet, but I realised I could manage to buy a bag instead…so I got my first Speedy! I wasn’t aware of the embossing service back then, and was thrilled to know about it. I remember getting my bag embossed while sipping on champagne and being the first-time owner of a LV bag, which I bought with my own money. It felt very, very special. 

The beauty of the classic LV Speedy is that it is very versatile and roomy. The only downside is that it doesn’t look so great when we not used with a bag insert. So I bought one back in 2015 from a Korean label called Samorga, as one couldn’t get many inserts in India back then.

Considering my bag is so personal with my initials embossed on it, I will never part with it because of the emotional value it holds. And along with it, I’ve found the bag to complement all my ethnic and western looks.

I collect an average of two luxury bags per year, but I’ve realised I lean more towards the functionality of the bag than the ones that are trending. I have a fair mix of trendy and versatile luxury bags, and I carry them in rotation.”