If you love a good flap bag, a Saint Laurent bag deserves a place in your collection. YSL bags are investment pieces with elegant designs that are entirely timeless. You will never feel outdated or trend-reliant with a Saint Laurent purse on your arm. Whether you want to proudly display the iconic gold-toned YSL logo or prefer something a little subtler, today’s Saint Laurent handbags give options.
We’ve selected the best Yves Saint Laurent bags of all times (or Saint Laurent as the brand is now called), so have a look and see which sparks your fancy! We then talk a bit about the history and founding of the house. If you’d like to buy a Saint Laurent purse, we also have some tips to help you spot the ubiquitous counterfeits that flood the market.
Your Guide to YSL Bags: Contents
- 21 Best YSL Bags of All Time
- A Look Back at the History of YSL Bags
- How to Spot a Fake Saint Laurent Bag
21 Best YSL Bags of All Time
Starting with the buzziest Saint Laurent bags you can pick up right now and moving on to some of the brand’s historical staples, these are the best YSL bags you need to know.
1. Saint Laurent Sac De Jour
The Sac De Jour was one of Hedi Slimane’s additions to the Saint Laurent brand. This bag, released in 2013, became an iconic investment piece pretty quickly, which is not surprising considering it was inspired by the Hermès Birkin, which is possibly one of the world’s most highly-coveted designer handbags.
The lovely tote doesn’t boast ostentatious labeling: just a small, clean “Saint Laurent Paris” near the top in metal hardware, along with a matching lock. This is very true to the Stefano Pilati-era of Saint Laurent when popular tote bags like the Muse boasted very little hardware or branding.
This Saint Laurent bag comes in 4 sizes, so you can definitely find a version of it that’ll fit your lifestyle. The smaller bags only have one compartment, while the larger ones have two. Get it in your favorite material and color directly from Saint Laurent or Farfetch!
2. Saint Laurent Loulou
The Loulou is named after Loulou de La Falaise, one of Saint Laurent’s muses. The woman was much more than a muse, however: she was a gifted stylist with impeccable taste. She designed jewelry and accessories for Saint Laurent for decades and later went on to design her own fashion line. The Loulou bag, designed under Anthony Vaccarello, is a relatively new addition to the brand that was released in 2017.
It’s a soft flap bag that is classy and timeless but with a touch of bohemian flair. It is decorated with a quilted pattern arranged in a Y-shape, which is very fitting for the brand. The branding is further reinforced by the signature gold YSL hardware over the center of the flap panel.
This Saint Laurent purse has that quintessential YSL elegance, but it also represents de La Falaise well with its hippie charm. It comes in a wide range of sizes and colors, so you can surely find a version of it that you’ll love at YSL or Farfetch.
3. Saint Laurent Kate
The uber-classy Kate is the best Saint Laurent bag for evening. This solid flap bag feels very structured and upscale, with clean lines, sleek leather, and a chain strap that adds a hint of shine. Like other YSL bags, the front flap is decorated with the brand’s tri-letter logo, with the newest iterations also including a party-ready tassel.
Not much has been written about the Kate bag, but we’d guess it was named after Kate Moss, who was the face of the brand for a few campaigns in recent years. Find it in smooth leather or soft suede at Saint Laurent or Farfetch!
4. Saint Laurent Sunset Bag
The Sunset YSL bag is another stunning, structured fold-over bag option. It was first released in 2016, so it has a very modern aesthetic and a certain seriousness about it. It’d be a great purse for professional settings, though it could also transition to night time. This design oozes quality, made of extremely durable leather and put together expertly. The calfskin, in particular, is famously scratch-resistant.
It comes with an adjustable strap for both crossbody and over-the-shoulder carry, and also has a small handle. It comes in a few sizes, but even the largest one is just big enough for must-haves like a wallet and a small tablet. If you’re in love with the design, get yours from YSL directly or Farfetch!
5. Saint Laurent Shopping Bag
Saint Laurent handbags continue to exemplify elegance in this tote. This tote bag is remarkably simple with a roomie interior (especially for YSL purses) and no top zipper – just a snap button to keep it shut. For some, it might work as a day-to-day bag, but we could see it as especially convenient for carrying files.
It comes with a detachable buckle strap and comfortable handles. While the bag has no pockets or compartments, the larger iterations of it come with a matching wallet. It’s available directly from Saint Laurent and Farfetch.
6. Saint Laurent Lou
Lou is as sophisticated as a camera bag can be. Most iterations of it are quilted with a large chevron pattern, and it’s decorated with a tassel that can be removed if you want a more serious look. The overall design is clean, with a squat, rectangular shape that also guarantees a roomie interior. It’s a great bag for any occasion, and even though it seems small, it can hold daily essentials. There is also a “mini” size in case you want something very small! Find it at YSL or Farfetch!
7. Saint Laurent Niki
On the one hand, if you have a YSL purse, you kind of want the tri-letter logo on display, but on the other hand, you’ll feel a little too conspicuous with the shiny gold standing out too brightly against your bag. What to do? Consider the Niki. The unique thing about this adjustable flap bag is the monochromatic, leather-covered YSL lettering. If you look close, you’ll notice it, but otherwise, it blends in and allows you to go incognito.
As far as style goes, this bag bridges old and new Saint Laurent. It’s roomie and a little slouchy like the totes from the 2010s, but it has the flap for which YSL bags are now known. It comes in a ton of materials and colors, so you can choose a version of it that’s going to fit your style best. We’re loving the shearling, but a smooth or vintage leather would probably have more stylistic longevity. Order it from YSL or Farfetch!
8. Saint Laurent Solferino
Solferino is a very new Yves Saint Laurent bag, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it by looking at it. This bag could have been released at any point in the last decade, and it would have still felt fitting.
This is yet another flap bag with the YSL logo prominently displayed in gold hardware front and center. It’s a slightly boxy, structured satchel in sleek, smooth leather, although it also comes in suede, which looks a little more boho. It has an adjustable leather strap for any number of carrying styles, and no handles, so it’s a very practical bag that we prefer for daytime professional settings. If you’re in love, get it from Saint Laurent!
9. Saint Laurent Kaia
Can you guess who this saddle bag was named after? Saint Laurent loved his muses, and it seems as though Anthony Vaccarello is keeping that spirit alive. This bag was carried by Kaia Gerber on the YSL spring/ summer 2020 runway, and she’s also been spotted rocking it in real life.
The shoulder strap on this bag is detachable, so you can even carry it as a clutch. This bag comes in medium, small, and the uber-tiny-mini, although a lot of the styles are currently sold out, proving that it’s a real It-bag. See if you can still find one at YSL or Farfetch.
10. Saint Laurent Manhattan
Released in 2019, this Saint Laurent handbag got fashion editors to exclaim that Anthony Vaccarello finally broke the mold. For those that don’t follow YSL releases closely, there is no way to immediately know that this is a YSL purse, although we’d consider that a feature, not a bug. The design is very sleek, so in that sense, it still fits the brand perfectly.
There are two versions of the bag, and we really like both: one has a small, subtle flap, which keeps things secure, and the other is a shopping tote, which has both handles and an adjustable strap. Find yours at Saint Laurent or Farfetch!
11. Saint Laurent Envelope Bag
We’re back to a classic Saint Laurent design that’s very reminiscent of the Hedi Slimane YSL bag era. It’s very similar to the other flap bags currently available from the label, with that iconic tri-letter logo shining in the center and fun chain shoulder strap that’s easy to adjust. Currently, all versions of this bag are quilted with a matelassé technique.
The bag makes the most sense to us in a small or medium size, although there is something playfully idiosyncratic about the large version of the Envelope, which, despite being entirely practical, seems oversized. It’s available directly from Saint Laurent and Farfetch.
12. Saint Laurent Cassandra
Cassandra is one of those YSL handbags that combine classic brand elements with some unique touches. We would guess that this bag is named after Cassandre, the pseudonym used by Adolphe Jean Marie Mouron, who is the graphic designer that created the iconic tri-letter logo. It’s great for the here and now, but it’s one of the few YSL offerings that might not have the same longevity.
It’s a structured flap bag with an interesting, slightly trapezoid silhouette. The most recent version of this bag features a very prominent YSL logo that hangs below the top flap. It comes in a wide range of sizes, so you can find one that’ll fit your lifestyle at YSL or Farfetch.
13. Saint Laurent Book Bag
There is something boyish about the Book Bag, with a very solid structure, a leather strap with just a hint of chain detailing. It’s as elegant as any YSL offering, and it only comes in one small size that’s suitable for many occasions. There are versions with a gold logo and a monochromatic logo, so both logomaniacs and those who prefer subtle designer markers will find satisfaction here. The Book Bag is currently an online exclusive, so the best place to get it is YSL.
14. Saint Laurent Le Carre
The Le Carre flap bag doesn’t look like a YSL bag at first glance… or second glance for that matter. And yet, this bag still fits in with the rest of the brand, like the ubiquitous flap design and a petite size that isn’t microbag-ish. You’d have to come super close to see the “Saint Laurent – Paris” engraved into the metal hardware closure.
The bag has a single compartment as well as a little zipped pocket, and it comes with a sober leather strap. You can find it in a few different colors, and leather finishes at Saint Laurent and Farfetch.
15. Saint Laurent Monogram Chain Wallet
You can’t go wrong with a designer WOC (Wallet on Chain). It’s tiny, but it can be very convenient in a wide range of situations. It’s also a great way to add an ostentatious YSL logo to your bag collection that you can carry just once in a while and hide away when necessary. This quilted bag definitely represents the brand well, with an envelope-style flap and a chevron pattern that gives way to diamonds. You can detach and reattach the chain strap as you please. Shop for the wallet at YSL or Farfetch!
16. Saint Laurent Monogram Bucket Bag
We don’t immediately think of Saint Laurent when imagining a bucket bag, but this YSL purse aims to change that. The all-over logo monogram is not something we usually associate with the brand either, but Anthony Vaccarello decided to give it a try anyway. The result is a truly unique shoulder bag that can hold a lot of stuff and might be particularly useful on vacations. It’s sold at Saint Laurent and Farfetch.
17. Saint Laurent Duffle Bag
A YSL duffle bag was a celebrity favorite in the early and mid-2010s. It was the first bag Hedi Slimane introduced to the Yves Saint Laurent range, and it’s easy to see how it became such a crowd-pleaser. This was before the tri-letter logo was introduced, so while the bag is archival, it’s not too obvious or conspicuous. The bag has minimal embellishments, but it stands out for its rounded shape and slightly wider interior. These days, you can only find it on websites like Vestiaire Collective.
18. Saint Laurent Teddy Bucket Bag
Originally, Teddy was the name of a jacket designed by Hedi Slimane. While the jacket is still available in a wide variety, the bag is a newer addition that just sailed by and is now harder to find. The sleek bucket is a little sporty, which is not what we usually expect out of a YSL purse. The Teddy bucket bags can be carried both as handbags and as backpacks, thanks to a combination of adjustable straps. They are not easy to find, but Farfetch still has a few.
19. Saint Laurent Le 61 Saddle Bag
Le 61 is a stunning saddle bag with a vintage feel. Its name refers to the year when YSL first launched, of course, and the medallion logo does a wonderful way of celebrating that. This bag definitely shows off its branding, but in a way that will never be construed as tacky or overly materialistic. The medium-sized bag is comfortable for day-to-day carrying, though it might be too casual for the evening. You can get it from YSL or Farfetch.
20. Saint Laurent Nolita
The Nolita can definitely be compared to the Niki, although Nolita is a little slouchier and more old-school, with a soft silhouette that can hold a lot of goodies. What we love is that it has that same monochrome YSL logo that is so chic and understated. The strap on Nolita is adjustable for both over-the-shoulder and crossbody carry. We don’t know for how long it will be around, so get it on Net-a-Porter or Farfetch!
21. Saint Laurent Uptown East West
The first YSL Uptown bags were released during the reign of Pilati, all the way back in 2007. The most recent iteration of the Uptown bag is very different, however. Whether the original Uptowns were shiny and solid, this bag (though still structured) is also very soft and mature. It features the YSL hardware, but it doesn’t stand out too strongly against the tan leather, while the black version is monochromatic. It’s currently available through Net-a-Porter and YSL.
A Look Back at the History of YSL Bags
It’d be impossible to talk about the history of Yves Saint Laurent as a brand without also discussing the fascinating and tragic figure of the designer who started the fashion label and lent it his name. Yves Saint Laurent was born in Algeria in 1936, and already as a child, he was drawn to beauty and fashion, designing dresses for the women in his family.
He moved to Paris at the age of 17 to study fashion. His talent was quickly acknowledged by the major players in the Paris fashion industry, and Christian Dior took him under his wing.
He worked under Dior for a few years when, at the age of 21, just a few weeks before Dior’s death, he was made the head designer of the fashion house. His first collection for Dior was wildly successful, but the collections that followed weren’t, and in 1960, he was drafted to fight for France in the Algerian War. He lost his position at Dior shortly after being drafted.
Upon release, Saint Laurent and his partner (in life and business) Pierre Berge launched his eponymous label in 1961. As the head of his own fashion house, Laurent made a name for himself designing stunning garments that took inspiration from art, played with gender, and totally transformed fashion.
Some of his most iconic creations include shift dresses with prints inspired by the art of Mondrian, “Safari-chic,” figure-revealing dresses in sheer fabrics, and perhaps most iconic of all: Le Smoking – a gorgeous, sleek tuxedo for women, which pushed the boundaries of gender when it came to the more conservative category of evening wear.
The YSL Bag Era
However, Saint Laurent never took an interest in bag design. Instead, it was only when the label was sold to Gucci in 1999 (now owned by Kering) and placed under the creative direction of Tom Ford that the first YSL bags were released. During the Tom Ford era, Yves Saint Laurent bags were dark but with a bohemian slouch, like the Mombasa hobo.
When Tom Ford quit Gucci in 2004, Stefano Pilati took over as creative director – a position he held until 2012. Stefano Pilati’s time is still remembered with YSL bags like the Muse and the Tribute.
Next came the Hedi Slimane era, which started off slow and subtle with the Duffle bag. While under Slimane, Kering chose to drop the “Yves” from the name of the brand, Slimane bags started to celebrate the YSL logo, especially in accessories. The tri-letter logo was frequently showcased right in the center of Saint Laurent bags, usually in a gleaming gold that contrasted against black leather.
Most recently, in 2016, Hedi Slimane moved on to work for Celine, and Anthony Vaccarello took his place. His first bag releases were seen as simple continuations of Slimane’s creations, but with time he started changing things up, which led to a lot of the more unique bags that you saw profiled in our selection of the most iconic YSL bags.
How to Spot a Fake Saint Laurent Bag
Wanna learn to spot the real from the fake? Here are our tips for authenticating a Saint Laurent bag through quality, brand markers, and other methods.
• In general, it’s always better to buy from a reputable seller. Buy from Saint Laurent directly, from a department store like Nordstrom or Saks, or from a trusted online retailer like Net-a-Porter or Farfetch.
• When buying second hand, things get more difficult. Websites like TheRealReal have their own authenticators whose tips helped inform this article, but very well-made counterfeits still slip through occasionally.
• When purchased first-hand, Yves Saint Laurent bags come with a separate tag and dust bag. If those are unavailable, this should raise warning signs, although it’s not a sure sign of authenticity or lack-thereof since sometimes these things can get lost even in department stores.
• Yves Saint Laurent bags are famously durable and well-made, so the first thing to do to spot a fake is to closely examine the quality of it.
• Whether the bag you’re examining is smooth leather, suede, or textured calfskin, the material should always feel super soft and durable.
• The lining is almost always black and either made of fabric or leather. It should be glued down seamlessly.
• Look at the stitching – in addition to the stitching being tight and even without loose threads and with all of the edges hemmed off, there should also never be any crossover stitches, especially with quilted YSL bags.
• It’s important to get familiar with the various Saint Laurent logos. Be aware that they’ve changed over the years, so if you’re looking at a vintage bag, you can expect a different logo than a modern one.
• For the “Saint Laurent” or “Saint Laurent Paris” logos, the N and T in “Laurent” are always connected, no matter where the label is located on the bag. Note that the R in Laurent and the R in Paris have a slightly different font, which is something counterfeiters often miss.
• Most YSL bags are labeled with a serial number, usually stamped into the leather somewhere inside the bag. This is often accompanied by the phrase “made in Italy.” You can actually look up the serial number on the Saint Laurent website.
• The tri-letter logo is very specific, so we recommend looking at a picture of it while examining a bag that’s decorated with it. The overlapping and the thickness of the letters never change, although some things might differ depending on the era the bag is from, like whether the logo is fitted with decorative nail heads.
• For chain strap bags, the chain links will always be made with flat-faced links, and there will always be a connector labeled with Saint Laurent.
• Larger snaps or inner closures are always stamped with Saint Laurent Paris, although smaller snaps on wallets might not be.
• The undersides of flaps on flap bags will usually bare the Saint Laurent Paris signature.
• If you’re stumped and truly unsure, you can reach out to a professional authenticator service to get a second opinion.
Photos via Instagram