Iconic items in May’s Designer Collection

Fashion houses are constantly thinking forward – innovating their brand and products; showcasing fresh new items in each successive fashion show. However, at the core of these exciting new products, is a selection of key items that are usually rooted in the brand’s DNA. Whether it is a specific handbag design or a material used, we instantly recognise the items as belonging to the fashion brand that created them.

May’s Designer Collection auction is a veritable treasure trove of stylish handbags, jewellery, and accessories. On May 11th, we will sell over 400 lots to some very lucky bidders. Let’s take a look at some of the iconic pieces we will be offering for sale:


The Chanel double flap we come to admire today was first showcased in February 1955 by Gabriel Chanel. You can read all about the origins of this beautiful piece on our blog. Throughout the years, collection after collection, the fashion house has re-invented the double flap style. They have produced them in various leathers and fabrics. Chanel has also introduced a range of large and minis sizes. Today this iconic style is admired by fashion lovers worldwide. Such is the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel that museums still create exhibitions of her designs to this day.

LOT 59 CHANEL – a black lambskin leather Classic Double Flap handbag.

 CHANEL - a black lambskin leather Classic Double Flap handbag.

Christian Dior

The first Lady Dior was produced in 1995 and originally named the Chouchou. It was gifted to Princess Diana by the former French first lady Bernadette Chirac. Which soon after would spark a world wide craze and desire to own this elegant, boxy, top handle handbag. Diana, been one of the most photographed women in the world during the 1990’s, could often be seen carrying the handbag. And only one year later in 1996 the Chouchou had been re-named the Lady Dior, after Princess Diana herself. It’s timeless shape and quilted Cannage design, which was inspired by the wicker cane chairs that once adorned the salons in which Christian Dior would unveil his haute cotuure collections in the late 1940s. The bag today has become an icon of the fashion house of Dior. With each new creative director of the house, re-inventing its appearance in various leathers, sequins, and prints.

CHRISTIAN DIOR - a cream leather Cannage Soft Lady Dior tote.

LOT 88 CHRISTIAN DIOR – a cream leather Cannage Soft Lady Dior tote.


During the late 1940s, thanks to the shortage of materials during WWII, materials such as metals and leather were scarce. As a result, fashion houses started to source other materials to use in their designs. Gucci had started to experiment with Bamboo as a substitute for leather. Due to its durability and strength, bamboo provided the perfect material for handles and fastenings. In 1947, the fashion house released its first bamboo handbag. With its simplistic leather body and elegantly smooth arched Bamboo cane handle, the handbag became an instant hit and still is today. The use of Bamboo can be seen across a wide range of products Gucci has produced ever since it first introduced the line.

LOT 189 GUCCI – a black leather large Bamboo top handle handbag.

LOT 189 GUCCI - a black leather large Bamboo top handle handbag.


In 1928 Robert Dumas created the Sac à Dépêches, a precursor to the iconic Kelly. After the bag became associated with the actress Grace Kelly, Hermès renamed this style the “Kelly” in 1977. You can find our ultimate guide to the Kelly on our blog. Today, many fashion lovers consider the Hermès Kelly a dream bag. The artisans at Hermès produce this style in various types of leather, as well as highly collectable limited editions. However, a Kelly in Black box calf leather is truly a piece of fashion history to own. 

HERMÈS black box calf leather Kelly 32 in May's Designer Collection.

LOT 231 HERMÈS – a black box calf leather Kelly 32.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton released the Speedy in 1930, which they originally named the Express. They designed it as a smaller version of the Keepall, which they had bought out in 1924. Historically, Louis Vuitton has always remained true to its travel heritage. As a result of the improvements in global travel in the 1920s and 1930s, the Speedy 30 became a popular choice for travellers – it fit enough essentials without the need for a more traditional, roomy Keepall. Later in the 1960s, actress Audrey Hepburn commissioned Louis Vuitton to create the Speedy in a new, smaller size. They created the 25 which she was often pictured carrying on film sets and in her personal life. This celebrity connection ultimately propelled the handbag into its own spotlight. Today the fashion house regularly re-imagines this iconic handbag in special leathers such as Epi and Empreinte. They also include the Speedy style in some of their limited-edition collaboration lines.  

Lot 298 LOUIS VUITTON – a Monogram canvas Speedy 30.

 LOUIS VUITTON - a Monogram canvas Speedy 30.

The Designer Collection

Thursday 11th May 2023 at 10 am.

Viewing Times

Wednesday 10th May 10:00 – 16:00
Thursday 11th May 8:30 – 10:00
Virtual viewings are available by request.

Callum Charles


Make sure you don’t miss finding that special something by signing up for our emails. You’ll be the first to know when catalogues become available, receive invitations to special events, and preview the hottest lots from our auctions, plus much more. You can also set up lot alerts, to tell us exactly what you are looking for. Our personal shopping service will make sure that you are the first to hear about it.


Our valuations are free, with no obligation to sell with us. Our experts will value your item with an estimate, so you can find out what it could achieve at auction.

The process is simple. You can fill in a form online or book an appointment to visit either of our offices in Birmingham or London. Virtual valuation appointments are also available.

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