How could anyone forget the famous Sex and the City scene – from Season 3, Episode 17, to be exact – in which Carrie is mugged at gunpoint? Lost somewhere south of Houston, she stops to ask a man for directions to West Broadway – a SoHo point of reference for any true New Yorker-fashionista. When he demands her bag, the illustrious, purple-sequined Fendi, she nervously rebuts, “It’s a Baguette.”
It is impossible to talk about the Fendi Baguette without mentioning SATC and, more specifically, Carrie Bradshaw. The bag was featured heavily throughout the third season, acting as a fifth leading cast member and overall being a scene-stealer. It became Carrie’s go-to (under) arm candy and, consequently, completely synonymous with the show.
Fendi was the first major fashion house to loan to SATC, and the Baguette was the very first piece. In earlier seasons, Patricia Field – the show’s legendary costume designer – had to source the characters’ wardrobes from thrift stores in order to stick to the show’s tight budget. But, after Fendi loaned its newest accessory, offers from other designer brands began to pour in. Sarah Jessica Parker herself has commented on the impact of Fendi lending them that bag, “it really opened the floodgates and influenced the storyline – especially Carries habit of spending more money on fashion than her home”.
Without Fendi’s pioneering contribution, SATC would not have been the power that it was in the fashion industry; most notably, the show that forecasted trends and proved to its viewers that being fearless in fashion is always in style. The Baguette launched SATC, characterizing it as a must-watch show for all fashion-crazed consumers in the ‘00s.
SATC re-launched Fendi at a time when many feared the brand was becoming stale and losing its relevance. Silvia Venturini Fendi, daughter of one of the renowned ‘Fendi Five’ and the brand’s creative director for accessories, was called upon to design a minimalist bag that would rival the then ultra-popular Prada Nylon Backpack. In 1997, she answered with the Baguette – a bag that was anything but understated. She was inspired by her grandmother’s 1920s beaded bag collection after all.
Named after the French loaf because it’s carried in a similar way, tucked directly under the arm of its wearer. The French came up with the baguette, but the Italian created the Baguette.
The bag was originally released in a variety of colors, fabrics, and over-the-top embellishments – over 700 variations! Whatever your personal style, there was a Fendi Baguette for you. Though each bag was unique, making them collectors’ items, the Baguette did feature some consistent design elements that rendered it, in even its funkiest style, recognizable: its short strap drop, long and slender shape, flap closure, and classic FF buckle
All good things must, however, come to an end. After 24 years, Fendi decided to discontinue the famous bag.
People didn’t stop loving the Baguette just because it was discontinued. The now vintage bag made quite the comeback on the resale market and prices began to rise. The demand was soaring and Rizzoli even published a book in 2012 commemorating the more than 700 – now more than 1.000 – Baguette models ever made.
With nostalgia for throwback pieces at an all-time high, Fendi announced the return of the Baguette at its Spring/Summer 2019 Ready-to-Wear show. Models strutted the runway, carrying the silhouette that defined the Noughties, but with some serious 2010 upgrades. Staying true to its name, the Baguette remains long and slender with a short shoulder strap, so it can still be carried like the French bread we all love to pair with some strong cheese and wine. But, now, it is available in two additional sizes – mini (19 x 11.5 x 4 cm), regular (26 x 14 x 4 cm) and large (33 x 18 x 5.5 cm) – making it possible for everyone to choose the perfect size for them. The re-issue features a detachable top handle, a leather crossbody shoulder strap (the mini has a chain strap instead of leather), a FF-logo metal fastening, a magnetic clasp and a zip pocket and it’s also available in a silhouette for men. Those with a renewed appetite for the Baguette can, just like before, choose from a variety of colors and materials. Fendi is offering all-over FF-motifs in embossed leather, classic canvas, woven raffia, exotic furs, and neon-trimmed denim.
Silvia Venturini Fendi said “we like change, but there’s also a bit of nostalgia” and “it’s nice to see things come back, but in a different way” when speaking about the comeback of the It bag.
More than 20 years after its original release, the Baguette has made its comeback, and who better to re-introduce it than Sarah Jessica Parker?
Caroline Daur, Natasha Lau, Ebonee Davis and Melissa Martinez for Fendi. Photo: Harper's Bazaar Arabia
Fendi kicked off its #BaguetteFriendsForever campaign with a three-part video series on their social networks staring January 23rd 2019. Taking place in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and New York City, each follows prominent women in fashion and entertainment as they spend a day together – all accessorized with their favorite Fendi Baguette, of course. In Shanghai, the Baguette is out for a night on the town with a group of girl friends and in Hong Kong, the girls are looking for the Baguette Japanese top model Hikari Mori has lost. In the NYC installation – the final episode – Sarah Jessica Parker reprises her role as Carrie Bradshaw to re-purchase the style that was stolen from her in Season 3. As she leaves the store, Baguette over shoulder, she cheekily reminds Caro Daur, a German influencer who was on a mission to snag it for herself, “Oh, it’s not a bag. It’s a Baguette.” Carrie, the OG style setter, makes a triumphant return with the ultimate shopping score, and we are all left craving the Baguette again.
Since then, Fendi has expanded the campaign with all-star casts in cities around the world, including model Winnie Harlow and influencer Shannon Hamilton in Miami, comedian Naomi Watanabe and actor Tommy Dorfman in Milan, actress Kiernan Shipka and filmmaker-photographer Christian Coppola in Rome, and a rhythmic dance troupe in Paris. Each video showcases the value of friendship, as well as the timeless aesthetic of the Baguette.
With the revival of the Baguette, Fendi is following in the footsteps of Dior, who brought back their cult classic – the Saddle bag – in 2018.
Caroline Daur, Natasha Lau, Ebonee Davis and Melissa Martinez for Fendi. Photo: Magzter.com
In 2019 the Italian fashion house initiated a partnership called ‘Hand in Hand’ with the Baguette in the forefront.
The purpose of this project is to celebrate Italian craftsmanship by paying tribute to the 20 Italian regions, by creating 20 limited edition Baguette bags. 11 bags were unveiled in 2019 and nine in 2020. The bags are developed to symbolize the meeting of local artisans and those from the Fendi workshops and will represent real works of art with very different looks. Each bag is stamped with the golden Fendi ‘Hand in Hand’ logo.
How did this project come to be? Silvia Venturini Fendi was on vacation in Palermo where she came across a small family run bottega. It was run by a man and his father and when Venturini asked who would take over after him, the man responded that his daughter wasn’t interested.
Venturini Fendi has a lot of enthusiasm for family businesses, saying “The way you learn is by watching people working” and “There’s no instruction manual – artisans have to pass on and show their creativity”.
This started the passion project now known as “Hand in Hand” as Venturini Fendi believes the fashion industry has to shine a spotlight on the artists behind the scenes, “We shouldn’t just talk about the shows, the photoshoots and the clothes, but all aspects and incredible artist who are behind all our project”.
The project launched in Italy as the second lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was happening, again showing the importance of showcasing local businesses. Local artisan businesses were already on the brink of extinction before the virus which has now made its own financial impact.
Eager to accessorize with the Baguette, but cannot afford its steep price point? Do not venture to the ‘Valley of Fendis’ for a knock-off like Samantha; shop vintage instead. You can get the ‘IT bag’ on a budget, while standing out with an older, more exclusive style no one else will be wearing. Though, it will not be the one covered in purple sequins – Sarah Jessica Parker has set that one aside for her lucky daughters. We understand your disappointment. No shame to Carrie, but we would have worried a little less about the strappy, sample sale Manolos and put up more of a fight for the Baguette.
Photo: The Vintage Bar
Remember, when you buy a Baguette you get all the style without the carbs.