Nicole Richie at the Chili's Grill & Bar in Westwood, California (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireI...
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Fashion

27 Celebrities With The Balenciaga City Bag In The Early 2000s

The early-aughts bag is making its comeback sooner than we thought.

You can’t talk about the fashion trends of the early 2000s without mentioning the hold that Balenciaga’s City Bag had on our favorite celebrities, and the “It” bag’s anticipated comeback is a lot sooner than we thought.

The coveted “Motorcycle” (now called “City”) bag was released in 2001 by Nicolas Ghesquière at the very beginning of his 12-year tenure as Balenciaga’s creative director. The tote-like, top-handle bag, which came with a crossbody strap and its own leather-framed personal mirror, was beloved for its slouchy silhouette and edgy metal studs. Kate Moss, who walked runway shows for Balenciaga at the time, was one of the first to co-sign the new style, and throughout the early and late aughts, the “must-have” bag has been spotted on almost every young Hollywood darling.

From Starbucks runs to red carpet appearances, the Balenciaga bag adorned the arms of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie, Sienna Miller, Nicky and Paris Hilton, and, of course, the Kardashians during those early decades. Then, the once-sought-after style resurfaced after it was spotted on Mary-Kate Olsen back in 2016, and new and vintage versions started to pop up during New York Fashion Week in September 2021.

In a 2021 report from Rebag, the classic handbag “was one of the most queried styles on Clair and is poised for a resurgence, [with] the Balenciaga City Classic Studs as one of the most queried bags.” With the Y2K fashion revival in full swing, it’s no surprise that the Balenciaga City Bag is slowly but surely making its way back into our wardrobes. So what better way to reintroduce the early-aughts “It” bag than with a much-needed throwback?

See how our favorite celebrities wore the Balenciaga City bag back in the day, including Kourtney and Kim Kardashian, Lauren Conrad, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Nicole Richie, and more, ahead.

Kate Moss, 2003

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Kicking off its early-aughts appeal, supermodel Kate Moss wore the black Balenciaga bag while out in London in 2003. She paired the bag with a knitted sweaters, jeans, and folded brown boots.

Ashley Olsen, 2004

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Ashley Olsen carried the mint-colored bag while attending Oscar de la Renta’s Spring 2005 runway show. She wore a black tank top with a white tiered skirt with metallic pumps.

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Seen here with Mary-Kate Olsen, who had her own collection of City bags, Ashley carried a black version with a matching monochrome look to Coty’s 100th Anniversary Party in New York.

Eliza Dushku, 2004

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Eliza Dushki showed off her new Balenciaga finds during a shopping event in 2004, including one that was she seen still carrying just five years later.

Nicole Richie, 2005

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Nicole Richie was known to be a huge fan of the coveted bags, as she was often seen carrying the style in multiple colorways. At the Tweety “Natural Blonde” launch in 2005, she toted around the City bag in a mustard yellow with a multicolored dress and another early-aughts style: ballet flats.

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Richie also had the Balenciaga City bag in an ivory color.

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And a bright lime green, too, which she paired with a very Y2K fashion look: a graphic tee, denim cutoffs, flip-flops, and oversized sunglasses.

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Richie even had the style in a supersized version, as well, which she’s seen carrying as her workout bag.

Sienna Miller, 2005

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Actress Sienna Miller carried the Balenciaga bag in black while out in London. Miller styled it with a statement bolero, white tank, and pastel yellow midi skirt.

Vanessa Carlton, 2005

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What’s the early-aughts without Vanessa Carlton? The “A Thousand Miles” singer had a Balenciaga City bag in black in 2005, which she wore with a three-quarter sleeve top, tulle-layered skirt, ballet flats, and statement necklaces.

Ashlee Simpson, 2005

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Ashlee Simpson also had the black Balenciaga City bag to accent her pop-rock aesthetic during the early 2000s. She wore the coveted accessory with a pink coat, flare jeans, sneakers, and a skull-print scarf.

Christina Aguilera, 2006

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Christina Aguilera was spotted in Paris wearing the black Motorcycle bag in 2006, and she also wore a comfy gray sweater with bootcut jeans and flats.

Lindsay Lohan, 2006

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Back in 2006, Lindsay Lohan carried a large white City Bag to an event in Los Angeles. The Mean Girls actress also wore a black-and-white dress with a white cardigan and bronze pumps.

Vanessa Hudgens, 2007

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During her Disney Channel days, Vanessa Hudgens was often see carrying Balenciaga’s Giant Hardware City Bag in black.

Mary-Kate Olsen, 2007

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Mary-Kate Olsen was also frequently spotted carrying the Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag. Back in 2007, Olsen carried her signature light-green bag while out in Venice Beach, wearing a black shirt dress, gladiator sandals, and a statement scarf.

2008

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In 2008, Olsen wore the burgundy bag in front of a restaurant in New York’s Tribeca.

Kourtney Kardashian, 2008

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Balenciaga’s Hardware bag made its way the hands of Kourtney Kardashian, who wore the purse with a white blouse tucked into a black pencil skirt and black heels.

2009

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A year later, Kourtney still carried the black bag even during her pregnancy.

Nicky Hilton, 2008

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Nicky Hilton, another owner of many Balenciaga bags and older sister of Paris Hilton, was spotted back in 2008 with Balenciaga’s Striped Damasse City Bag. She wore the purse with a North Face puffer jacket with matching bottoms and black canvas sneakers.

2009

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A year later, Hilton was also seen in Hollywood carrying Balenciaga’s Hardware bag.

2009

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Oh, and she had it in hot pink, too. (Can you spot the Blackberry?)

Amanda Bynes, 2009

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Amanda Bynes was spotted in Barneys carrying the Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag in black back in 2009. She wore the style with a white tee, black skinny jeans, and heels.

Chanel Iman, 2009

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In 2009, model Chanel Iman was captured off-duty with the purple bag in New York City.

Kim Kardashian, 2009

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Kim Kardashian had the coveted style back in 2009, where she paired it with a printed blouse, pleated shorts, and black wedges.

2010

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The reality star-turned-business mogul also had the bag in a cream color.

Michelle Trachtenberg, 2010

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In 2010, OG Gossip Girl actress Michelle Trachtenberg was seen in New York City wearing the Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag in green.

Miley Cyrus, 2010

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Miley Cyrus was no stranger to the sought-after purse even in 2010. She wore the gray handbag with a slouchy blouse, distressed skinny jeans, and black boots.

Hilary Duff, 2010

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In 2010, Hilary Duff was also seen in Los Angeles carrying the bag in a cozy winter look.

2011

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She also had the Balenciaga bag in a suede military green.

Victoria Justice, 2011

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In 2011, Victorious star Victoria Justice had the classic leather bag in black.

Rooney Mara, 2011

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And so did Rooney Mara, who wore the bag with a muted ensemble.

Khloe Kardashian, 2011

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Kourtney and Kim weren’t the only Kardashian sisters to take the Balenciaga bag out. Khloe was spotted carrying a version in green in 2011.

Cassie, 2012

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Cassie attended the Cannes Film Festival back in 2012 wearing a strapless printed jumpsuit with white heels, and carried the classic Balenciaga style in black.

Lauren Conrad, 2012

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The Hills star wore a small Balenciaga bag in black with a navy coat, black tights, black pumps, and oversized frames.

Ashley Tisdale, 2012

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Actress Ashley Tisdale was spotted wearing a casual ‘fit in Los Angeles back in 2012, with a yellow Balenciaga City bag over her shoulders.

Kendall Jenner, 2013

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It seems Kendall Jenner followed her older sisters’ footsteps by carrying the black handbag while out in Los Angeles back in 2013.

Adriana Lima, 2013

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While at the airport, supermodel Adriana Lima wore an all-black outfit with the Balenciaga handbag in a statement green hue.