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 Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
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 Gregory Pace/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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.
Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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.
Nicole Richie, 2005 Christopher Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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.
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Richie also had the Balenciaga City bag in an ivory color.
Chris Weeks/WireImage/Getty Images
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.
Richie even had the style in a supersized version, as well, which she’s seen carrying as her workout bag.
Sienna Miller, 2005 C. Uncle/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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 Gregory Pace/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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 Desiree Navarro/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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 Lorenzo Santini/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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 Mark Mainz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
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 Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage/Getty Images
During her Disney Channel days, Vanessa Hudgens was often see carrying Balenciaga’s Giant Hardware City Bag in black.
Mary-Kate Olsen, 2007 London Entertainment/Shutterstock
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 Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic/Getty Images
In 2008, Olsen wore the burgundy bag in front of a restaurant in New York’s Tribeca.
Kourtney Kardashian, 2008 Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage/Getty Images
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 Derek Steele/FilmMagic/Getty Images
A year later, Kourtney still carried the black bag even during her pregnancy.
Nicky Hilton, 2008 Jason Merritt/WireImage/Getty Images
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 Chris Wolf/FilmMagic/Getty Images
A year later, Hilton was also seen in Hollywood carrying Balenciaga’s Hardware bag.
2009 David Aguilera/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Oh, and she had it in hot pink, too. (Can you spot the Blackberry?)
Amanda Bynes, 2009 Marcos Vasquez/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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 Ray Tamarra/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
In 2009, model Chanel Iman was captured off-duty with the purple bag in New York City.
Kim Kardashian, 2009 Frazer Harrison/KA/WireImage/Getty Images
Kim Kardashian had the coveted style back in 2009, where she paired it with a printed blouse, pleated shorts, and black wedges.
2010 Larry Marano/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The reality star-turned-business mogul also had the bag in a cream color.
Michelle Trachtenberg, 2010 Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic/Getty Images
In 2010, OG
Gossip Girl actress Michelle Trachtenberg was seen in New York City wearing the Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag in green. Miley Cyrus, 2010 Fernando Carvajal/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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 Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images
In 2010, Hilary Duff was also seen in Los Angeles carrying the bag in a cozy winter look.
2011 Trago/FilmMagic/Getty Images
She also had the Balenciaga bag in a suede military green.
Victoria Justice, 2011 Shutterstock/Amanda Schwab/Starpix
Victorious star Victoria Justice had the classic leather bag in black. Rooney Mara, 2011 Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock
And so did Rooney Mara, who wore the bag with a muted ensemble.
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 Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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 Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic/Getty Images The Hills star wore a small Balenciaga bag in black with a navy coat, black tights, black pumps, and oversized frames. Ashley Tisdale, 2012 JB Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images
Actress Ashley Tisdale was spotted wearing a casual ‘fit in Los Angeles back in 2012, with a yellow Balenciaga City bag over her shoulders.
It seems Kendall Jenner followed her older sisters’ footsteps by carrying the black handbag while out in Los Angeles back in 2013.
While at the airport, supermodel Adriana Lima wore an all-black outfit with the Balenciaga handbag in a statement green hue.