Forget what’s on the market | “Vintage” Balenciaga Motorcycle Bag Review

When you’re little, you think that being an “adult” will be so much fun.

In your mind, it’s like, “I can jump on my bed, dye my hair blue, and eat junk food for dinner when I live on my own.”

… and then once you get to “adulthood” it’s all knee pain, random grey hairs, and barely having the metabolism to eat In-n-Out for dinner.

While I twist my truth about my age, there are still some delicious aspects of getting old — the most appetizing?

Being able to buy items you loved when you were an income-less teenager.

Over the last year, I have gone slightly mad trying to track down those items.

91% of the bags I wanted from my “youth” are from Balenciaga.

This is what you need to know about the original, pre-Demna and Wang, Balenciaga classic motorcycle bags…

If “vintage” Balenciaga bags are new to you

Let’s try to wrap up 15 years of fashion history in a few short-ish paragraphs…

If you’re searching for “old” Balenciaga, you should know about Nicolas Ghesquière.

In the aughts, he was (and still is today!) everything.

The very first Balenciaga bag, the Le Dix/Classique/Lariat/First, came out in 2001, essentially as a prototype for the show.

Only 25 of those Flat Brass First (FBF) handbags were made… and Nicolas gave them to editors and models.

Later, the Balenciaga Le Dix bags were made available for everyone to buy — however, production was severely limited.

Back then, and even today, they were more scarce than, say, a Loro Piana Extra bag.

The earliest (2001 to Fall/Winter 2002) Balenciaga bags had “flat brass” hardware (i.e., the hardware was flush against the bag).

Showing what Flat Brass looks like - essentially, it's a flat stud

An example of flat brass hardware, on my Spring/Summer 2002 (Second Season) and Fall/Winter 2002 (Third Season) Hobos

After the first First (and including some bags in the Third Season), Balenciaga would go on to add (almost) every sort of bag in raised hardware, from weekenders and shoulder bags, to their smooshy must-have lineup.

Here’s an overview of a few of my favourites…

Before we get in, for sizing reference, I’m 5’5.75”.

The First

Given the fact that it was the first model produced, it’s safe to say that the First is Balenciaga’s classic (or “classique”) handbag.

To describe this bag, it’s easier to say that this is Ashley Olsen’s Seafoam bag… or Nicole Richie’s (fake) yellow Balenciaga bag.

Gisele, Kate Moss, Ashley Olsen, and Nicole Richie carrying Balenciaga First bags

Gisele and Kate Moss photographed with one of their Original 2001 25 Le Dix FBFs; Ashley Olsen with her famous Spring/Summer 2004 Seafoam First (Spring/Summer 2004); Nicole Richie with her fake First (likely based on the Spring/Summer 2004 Yellow)

… or basically every celebrity that was the “first” to be spotted with a Balenciaga bag (i.e., Kate Moss and Gisele, who both have one of the 25 Original FBFs).

My Balenciaga First bag, is from Spring/Summer 2004 and is Yellow.

Showing how a Balenciaga First bag looks on a 5'5.75" woman

Unlike Nicole’s, it’s undoubtedly authentic.

A Balenciaga First basically fits the same amount as a Chanel Classic Handbag

Showing that an essentials pouch and eyeglasses case can fit in a Balenciaga First bag

It’s pressed to fit my (bulging) essentials pouch, but it can fit it along with my eyeglasses case.

The First weighs ~616 grams (including the strap) and measures 13” L x 7.5” H x 2” D

Balenciaga Flat Brass Flap Bag

There is close to no information online about this bag, but…

I saw a photo of a similar style on Poshmark (unclear if its a re-release from 2008/9 or original 2002), and it reminded me:

Didn’t Kate Moss wear a similar bag in 2003?

She did.

… and so did Gisele Bündchen.

Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen in a Balenciaga flap bag

There is very little information about Balenciaga’s Flap bag online and from my research, I believe this bag is from S/S 2002 — due to the flat brass, Second Season style tag, and early 2003 sightings (among other details).

Further research shows that this bag was re-released twice; once in ~2006 with slightly different hardware and again in ~2009 with the same original design, but with an external mirror, but I have a feeling that I’m boring you with this extra information.

In any case, this is how the original Balenciaga Flap bag looks like when carried by a non-supermodel:

Showing how a Balenciaga flap bag looks on a 5'5.75" woman

… and my essentials pouch plus my glasses case and an iPad fits in it:

Showing that an iPad, essentials pouch, and eyeglasses case can fit in a Balenciaga Flap Bag

The Flap bag weighs ~384 grams when empty, this bag measures 11″ W x 7″ H x 4.5″ D.

Balenciaga Hobo

Only released for two seasons, S/S 2002 (Second Season) and F/W (Third Season) 2002, this bag had an impossibly short lifespan.

The Balenciaga Hobo is the bag that Kate Moss has probably worn the most — even more than her Le Dix Flat Brass First and more than her Black 2003/4 City bag.

Kate Moss wearing the Balenciaga hobo

In its limited run, the Balenciaga Hobo was only released with flat brass hardware, in both lambskin (Second Season) and moto-tough (Third Season) leather.

With my (almost) concerning compulsive collecting habit, I am lucky enough to have both.

This is how the Second Season Balenciaga Hobo looks on…

How a Balenciaga Hobo looks on a 5'5.75" woman

This bag fits a very decent amount, however because it’s so rare I don’t want to risk hurting it by overloading it.

Showing what can fit in a Balenciaga Hobo; essentials pouch, eyeglasses case, iPad, and a hardcover book

The Second Season Balenciaga Hobo weighs ~256 grams when empty and measures around 14” W x 13” H.

Balenciaga Besace Bag

The differences are close to nothing for the Besace and the Hobo.

It’s basically only semantics at this point.

The Besace has a weight distributor on its strap.

Balenciaga Hobo vs Besace size comparison. The strap on the Hobo is much shorter.

See how much shorter the strap on the Hobo (left) is?

… and the strap is much longer, which means that you can wear it crossbody.

This is how a Third Season Black Monk leather Besace bag looks on:

How a Balenciaga Besace bag looks like on a 5'5.75" woman

Similar to the Balenciaga Hobo, it also fits just about everything, but because it has a weight distributor and that Monk leather is a little hardier, I feel OK putting a 13” laptop in it:

A hardcover book, iPad, Laptop, and essentials pouch fit in a Balenciaga Besace bag

The Balenciaga Besace bag in Monk weighs ~515 grams empty vs. in chèvre, it weighs ~405 grams when empty — it is the same size as the Hobo.

Balenciaga City

While it’s not the First, the City (now re-released for the umpteenth time by an incredibly questionable “creative” director) was my first Balenciaga bag…

Mary-Kate Olsen, Naomi Campbell, and Kate Moss carrying Balenciaga City bag

Mary-Kate Olsen with her infamous Fall/Winter 2004 Pistachio City bag; Naomi Campbell adoringly looking a Mother (Pat McGrath) with her Spring/Summer 2005 Sky Blue City; Kate Moss with her Black City (unclear if it’s from Spring/Summer 2003, Fall/Winter 2003 or Spring/Summer 2004 – the only three seasons that were produced with Pewter Hardware… my gut says F/W 03, fwiw)

… and the one that has been on perpetual loan to me from my sister, who was cashing cheques while I was an unemployed high school student.

She had a job (also 3 years older than me) and was able to buy this Balenciaga City bag for herself in 2007.

Me? I’m the remora to her great white shark who picks up her leftovers when she’s done with them.

This is what a Balenciaga Classic City bag looks like on:

Showing how a Balenciaga City bag looks like when carried by a 5'5.75" woman

It’s an A+ bag, especially now that tablets are a thing, that I used as a “school bag” in college.

Basically, a Balenciaga City can fit an essentials pouch, eyeglasses case, iPad, 13” laptop… or just a very decent amount:

Showing that an iPad, laptop, essentials pouch, and eyeglasses case can fit in a Balenciaga City bag

The original Balenciaga City bag weighs ~777 grams when empty and it measures 15” W x 10” H x 5.5” D.

Balenciaga Weekender Bag

The Balenciaga Weekender was introduced in Spring Summer 2003.

Mine is from Spring Summer 2004, in… Seafoam!

Incredibly rare, with a little wear, this Weekender makes any weekend getaway even more dreamy.

While there is no shoulder strap, it can fit over your shoulder (especially if it’s older and the handles are a little more relaxed) or you can hand carry it…

Showing how the Balenciaga looks on a 5'5.75" woman

As you can imagine, a Balenciaga Weekender fits everything and the kitchen sink.

I like using it as my “personal item” when flying.

It fits everything that won’t fit in my rolling suitcase (i.e., dirty laundry, laptop, iPad, essentials pouch, book, and an eyeglasses case):

Demonstrating what can fit in a Balenciaga Weekender bag, laundry, laptop, iPad, book, essentials bag

The Balenciaga Weekender weighs ~820 grams when empty and roughly measures 19” W x 16” H x 7.5” D.

As these bags are a lil old and rare, I remove the front tassels so they don’t catch on something and tear, and am now considering putting it in its dust bag when the bag goes under my seat or in the overhead bin.

Balenciaga Trousse de Maquillage and Flat Clutch

Spring Summer 2003 was the first year that the Trousse de Maquillage, or makeup bag (MUB), was added to the Balenciaga bag lineup.

This Balenciaga Makeup Bag is from SS 2004, in Mystery Green, and can easily be worn as a clutch:

Showing how a Balenciaga Makeup Bag looks on a 5'5.75" woman

The Balenciaga Makeup Bag fits a decent amount, but definitely has its limits:

Showing what fits in a Balenciaga Makeup Bag; wallet, hand sanitizer, iPhone, etc.

FWIW, it weighs ~135 gram when empty and measures 8” W x 5.5” H x 1.75” D.

At the same time, there was also the Flat Clutch.

My Flat Clutch is Blue Jean (official colour name is actually “Blue,” but the Balenciaga community creates pet names for the colours) from Fall Winter 2003 and is easily in my Top 3 of my collection.

Showing how the Balenciaga Flat Clutch looks like on a 5'5.75" woman

Like it says on the tin, the Flat Clutch is indeed flat.

… but, don’t let its size fool you — it fits more than the Balenciaga MUB.

Demonstrating what can fit in a 2003 Blue Jean Balenciaga Flat Clutch; eyeglasses case, iPhone, bandaids, wallet, etc.

The Flat clutch weighs ~185 grams when empty and is 11” W x 8.5” H.

Aging really is a privilege.

… and being able to have disposable income to acquire past things you loved is even more of a privilege.

Instead of pretending that I was born in 1997, I guess I should just embrace the fact that I got to live through the Golden Era of Nicolas’ Balenciaga.

Because, you know what?

They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.

You can find “vintage” Balenciaga bags from The Real Real or Vesitiaire Collective.
Note: Both places sometimes incorrectly identify the style of bag prior to listing them — and of course, there are still fakes of the older bags, so beware.

Note: newinspired uses affiliate links which costs you nothing… but means a lot to me. When you use these links, the money newinspired earns gets reinvested in blog content. Absolutely nothing on newinspired is “gifted” or sponsored, I purchase each item with my own money. Affiliate commissions are used to purchase new items to honestly & thoroughly review. If you found this review helpful, consider using them to support newinspired.

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