An iconic Balenciaga style, the City bag deserves a place in every accessories collection. Meticulously crafted in Italy from the finest leather, the Balenciaga City bag boasts hand-stitched top handles, a removable shoulder strap and a signature leather-bound mirror. It comes with aged hardware, a front zip pocket and tasseled zip pull that makes the style instantly recognizable. From vibrant colorways to classic, muted hues, the Balenciaga City bag collection has a styling option to complement every outfit. Wear these totes, cross-body and shoulder bags in the crook of your arm, on-shoulder or by hand.
The original Balenciaga motorcycle bag, or more officially known as the Arena Classic City bag, had me up quite a few nights in search of different variations back in 2000. I had the ready-to-be-distressed leather version. I had the less-common pony hair. Hell, I even had it in denim and flannel. But as of 2015 (a lengthy, solid decade and a half later, mind you), I have had enough.
A few years back, they came out with the giant-hardware edition, the wrinkled lambskin one with oversized, textural gold studs. Today, strolling by the Balenciaga boutique, I see it’s still in full force. As for the first incarnation, famed for its crinkly-soft, grained goatskin leather; whipstitched, rolled top handles; exaggeratedly long, thin zipper-pulls; and, of course, the motorcycle-inspired metal accents, you can also still pick it up in every hue from quintessential black to Rose Berlingot (bright lavender) to Bleu Lazuli (cobalt with a pow). Don’t get me wrong: I know what goes around comes around, and I love the fact that it’s time to put it to rest now and bring it back in time for another decade. Balenciaga Arena Classic City bag, $1,835, and Arena Giant 12 Mini 12 City bag, $1,395, both available at Barneys New York.
In honor of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s birthday, we’re taking a look at the history of Balenciaga’s most iconic handbags: the Motorcycle bag.