Don’t Call It an It Bag

It’s the challenge for any designer at a heritage house: to at once honor a design legacy while also interpreting those codes in a way that feels urgent and of the moment. To resist the pull of nostalgia while mining what resonates.

At Celine, creative director Hedi Slimane makes it look easy. After joining the French fashion house in 2018, he studied the archives with a particular focus on the ’70s, deftly creating the kind of wardrobe staples that nod to the decade without ever feeling retro. Editors and celebrities alike instantly felt pulled toward the perfectly cut jeans, embellished loafers, crisply tailored blazers, easy but decadent slipdresses, and effortlessly cool peacoats. The thread connecting every look? Slimane’s Triomphe bag.

celine bag

With its deceptively simple boxy shape, roomy interior, flap closure, and adjustable leather strap (worn on the shoulder or across the body), the Triomphe pulls off that elusive carry-it-everywhere quality. Crafted by Celine’s master leatherworkers to achieve a finish with a subtle sheen, the bag can do that day-to-night thing easily. Because who has the time to switch out a bag between work and dinner?

celine bag

The Triomphe’s defining feature is its gold-finished hardware, particularly the double-C clasp. The motif, which had never been used on a bag until Slimane did it, was designed by the house’s founder, Céline Vipiana, in the ’70s. Its charming origin story goes like this: Vipiana was driving through the famous Place de l’Étoile in Paris (the harrowing-to-navigate wheel of avenues surrounding and bisecting the Arc de Triomphe) when she got into a fender bender. Vipiana wasn’t hurt, and when she got out of her car, she noticed the chain links encircling the monument featured inverted “C”s—one mirroring the other. Slimane reimagined Vipiana’s original motif as “a symbol of renewal,” as well as an homage to the founder and to the history of the house.

celine bag

The Triomphe now comes in a variety of shades and materials, making the collection one of the most expansive offerings in the luxury bag universe. It stands out in that world for its restraint and pragmatism—the antidote to logo-mania. This isn’t an It bag. It’s a forever bag, one you can imagine your daughter borrowing … and never returning.


Brooke Bobb is the fashion news director at Harper’s Bazaar, working across print and digital platforms. Previously, she was a senior content editor at Amazon Fashion, and worked at Vogue Runway as senior fashion news writer.