Is the Backpack Back… or Did it Never Really Leave?

Spacious and functional, plus très chic!

chanel 23p backpack

Image courtesy @chichi.husky1811

The backpack. The very name conjures images of schoolchildren en masse. Or hikers on a mount. It’s as notorious for its functionality as it is for its ubiquity. Although designers often include backpacks in their line-ups, the style sometimes is ignored and/or unappreciated.

After all, a backpack isn’t really a purse. It traverses a middle ground that makes it practical and versatile – not to mention, often, affordable too. But its omnipresence also makes it more difficult for brands to market as something truly “luxurious”. Thus, when purse-lovers have that “itch” for a new handbag, rarely do they turn to a backpack.

If we look beyond impulse, however, the appeal of the backpack is actually obvious and undeniable. Spacious, and often armed with multiple pockets and/or compartments, the rucksack (also called the knapsack) has been around in some form or another since 3,300 BC! Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, it underwent several transformations. It eventually earned its moniker, the backpack, during the First World War, as a utilitarian military carryall.

louis vuitton backpack

Image courtesy @decoranddesigner

Hence, given the rather humble origins, it’s easy to see why the backpack is more readily associated with function than form. And because it has traditionally come to represent utility over style, we often forget that Hermès, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton have their own takes on the backpack!

Before going full designer on this, let’s look at the specific advantages of the backpack over other styles. Apart from the functionality factor, consider the air of effortless chic. Just sling it on one shoulder and you’re on top of the style-game!

Realistically, nowadays, few of us can actually always carry a purse by the handle. That ladylike look may not work so well running from meeting to appointment, with or without kids in tow.

On the other hand, being hands-free can be the true luxury and the backpack does just that with a lot of gusto. Moreover, with the rise of androgynous fashion, the gender-transcending aesthetic of the backpack appeals to a large audience.

Furthermore, for those who lament back and shoulder issues, a backpack may be your saving grace. The weight of daily necessaries can be evenly distributed on both shoulders. Provided, of course, that you wear it on your back rather than doing the cool one-shoulder sling.

So, with that in mind, let us explore some of the most popular backpacks from our beloved designers!


With its storied history and functional roots, it’s likely no surprise that Hermès includes some gems in its backpack collection. Not only has its Kelly Ado (the “backpack version” of the Kelly) taken the world by storm on the shoulders of Stormi Webster, but the Birkin backpack for Spring 2022 has fans waiting with bated breath. Below, we take a look at some of the most popular backpack offerings from orangeland!

The Kelly Ado

The history of the Kelly Ado is long and illustrious, first designed by Rena Dumas and launched in 1996. At the time, there were two sizes- a larger top-handle edition and a smaller one without it. However, the bag was discontinued, and then relaunched in 2018 as the Kelly Ado II.

The current version is only available in the small size in the Retourné style, with a new pocket, allegedly for smartphones. Although it isn’t very spacious (the anticipated Birkin version below, is even smaller), straps come in two options, wool or leather.

Dimensions: 8.5” x 8.75” x 3.5”

mage Credit: @essenavl

HERMES <a href="">Gulliver Kelly Ado 20 PM Backpack Rouge H</a>

The “Birkin Backpack”

Seen on the runway, but not yet on the shelves, Hermès introduced a new model – the “Birkin backpack.” Even smaller than its Kelly Ado sister, it is designed with a rounded bottom, thicker hardware on the turn lock closure and possibly a single, sling-style flat woolen strap. Coming in two sizes, speculation around the newest Hermès backpack is endless!

Image Credit: @thebaghag

The Herbag à Dos

While much has been said about the Herbag, you may be surprised to hear that there is a backpack version – the Herbag à Dos. Interestingly, the original Herbag was discontinued sometime in the 2000s only to be in reintroduced in 2009 as the Herbag Zip, and followed by variations like the Herbag Cabine (meant for air travel) and the Herbag Weekend.

The backpack style, much like its sisters, incorporates a canvas body with Hunter cowhide top and straps, as well as the famous palladium plated Clou de Selle closure. Sturdy, easy to use, with unisex appeal, no wonder this one is popular. The retail price is around $3600.

Dimensions: 11.5” x 13.5” x 4.25”.

Read: Hermès 101: the Herbag

Image courtesy

The Flash Sailor Backpack

Made of Evergrain calfskin, the Flash Sailor is possibly the largest in the Hermès backpack family and appears in the men’s category. However, its sleek design is undoubtedly cool enough for anybody with a heavy load. First introduced in 2004, it features only one shoulder strap. Whether it should it technically be called a backpack or, alternatively, a sling, we’ll let you decide.

Dimensions: 11.4” x 17.7” x 6.3”

The Bridado Backpack

Hermès has another large backpack option called the Bridado. Created in around 2012, it comes in a range of “forever” colors. Design-wise, it’s simple and clean, with a tonal embossed “Hermès Sellier Paris” for embellishment. The drawstring closure doubles as the backpack’s straps.

Dimensions: 13.8” x 15.7” x 0.6”

Image Credit: Hermès


When it comes to Chanel backpacks, the variety is as confusing as the names themselves. Moreover, some of the most popular models are vintage (or what counts for vintage nowadays). For those looking backward, there’s that Kardashian-famed Graffiti Canvas Backpack from Spring 2014, the Nylon Doudune Backpack circa 2018, the 2017 Deauville Backpack version, the patent leather top-handle version from fall 2022 that fans are scrambling for, and the Ground Control Backpack (seriously, that’s a thing) from the house’s space-themed F/W17 show. And some lucky shoppers got this gem from the F/W 2022 runway.

Image Credit: Alessandro Lucioni, Armando Grillo /

And a somewhat similar caviar variation of the FW22 patent leather version with all-chain straps was one of the most popular backpacks of the Fall/Winter 2022.

Image Credit: Chanel

Here, however, we examine some of the brand’s most popular (and more commonly seen) editions.

The 22 Backpack

The newest release from the House of Chanel, the 22 (because it’s 2022) brings back the slouchy oversized style of the aughts. Hence, the backpack version of the 22 is possibly the largest the brand has come up with till date, even though reviews of this style are mixed.

Read: Everything You Need to Know About the Chanel 22 Bag

Dimensions – 14” x 16.5” x 3.5”

Image Credit: Chanel

Image Credit: Chanel

The Duma Backpack

This highly popular vintage backpack graced many a backside between 1991 to 1995, after which it was discontinued. Then, in a surprise move November 2021, Chanel relaunched the model in three highly coveted colors – white, red, and black. Chanel lovers simply couldn’t get their hands on this backpack quickly enough.

And truthfully, what’s not to love – it’s got all of the classic Chanel codes. No longer available on the Chanel site, you might get lucky with resellers, like Fashionphile… or maybe even get your hands on one of the vintage ones, although they will likely set you back a pretty penny, many selling for upwards of $7,000!

Dimensions: 7” x 7 “ x 4

Image Credit: @c.meow.k

chanel duma backpack

Image Credit: @solleeloquy

The Urban Spirit & the Aged Gabrielle Backpacks

Whether a shoulder bag, clutch, or backpack, Chanel is still Chanel. It shouldn’t be surprising then that backpacks are either inspired by or part of a collection of more traditional handbags.

Take for example the Urban Spirit backpack. With a more quintessentially Chanel vibe to it, this style from 2016 sports the CC turnlock, the quilted lambskin and a flap. Consider it an elongated backpack version of the Classic Flap especially if the Classic Flap isn’t quite for you.

Urban Spirit Dimensions: 7.75” x 10” x 4.75”

Image Credit: @aaanirac

And look at the Gabrielle backpack. It is – as the name would suggest – the backpack version of, well, the Gabrielle bag. But this bit of chicness from 2018 doesn’t compromise with style – featuring aged calfskin and a draw-chain bucket-style closure, it exudes the ultimate cool girl aesthetic!

Gabrielle Backpack Dimensions – 10.25” x 9” x 4”

Image Credit: @theblondmacaron

The Caviar CC Backpack

For many traditionalist Chanel-lovers, nothing beats vintage Chanel. This simple but nonetheless chic mini backpack from 1995 (back when minis weren’t even a thing!) speaks volumes about Karl Lagerfeld’s far-reaching vision in fashion.

Dimensions: 8.5” x 9.75” x 4.25”

Image Credit: @avintagehk

Louis Vuitton

Don’t we all love a bit of monogram on our arms at times? Or in this case, on our backs? Well, regardless of whether you’re into monogram canvas, reverse monogram, empreinte, epi, taurillon or even PVC, Louis Vuitton’s quite literally endless collection of backpacks is bound to have something for you. Don’t believe us? Take a look at these options.

The Palm Springs

The Palm Springs is a simple concept – a pretty straightforward backpack emblazoned all-over with LV monogram. Released first in 2016, this mini backpack practically kick-started the micro-backpack trend. Years later, its popularity continues with no signs of waning. So, if you’re looking for a wardrobe staple that will hold its value, this is undoubtedly the one to get.

Dimensions (mini): 5.75” x 8.25” x 3.25”

Dimensions (MM): 11” x 13.5” x 4”

Image Credit: Louis Vuitton

Image Credit: Louis Vuitton

The Montsouris Backpack

The original Montsouris was released in 1994, named after the iconic Montsouris Park in southern Paris. At that time, size options were mini and MM. Older versions included wider canvas straps, while newer editions switched to thinner Vachetta ones. The initial Montsouris, however, was eventually discontinued, and then replaced and redesigned in 2017.

Image Credit: @cuckoos_nest_cheltenham

Image Credit: @caligerl

Since then, the Montsouris is heavier on the monogram than leather. The original vachetta bottom was replaced by an all-coated canvas body. As an extra detail though, a leather hangtag featuring the LV logo in cutout now graces the backpack.

Currently, this one is available in three sizes – NM, BB and mini. If you’re a fan of the leather though, the newer empreinte editions should be right up your alley.

The Christopher Backpack

Launched around 2004-2005, the Christopher backpack is a mainstay of the Louis Vuitton men’s line. In fact, when introducing seasonal collections, Louis Vuitton often uses the Christopher. Not only did Virgil Abloh include a Christopher model in the PVC Prism range but also made the Epi version in collaboration with Supreme. It’s also one of the largest backpacks among the house’s offerings.

Dimensions (PM): 13” x 5” x 17.75”

Image Credit: @mattd74


You might be surprised to learn that Dior – famous for, among other things, the Lady Dior and Book Tote – also boasts a collection of backpacks. Unisex and displaying impeccable quality and craftsmanship, these range from leather saddle-style to the oblique jacquard and Toile de Jouy.

Large Gallop Backpack in Grained Calfskin

Image Credit: @sartorialphil

Dior Maxi Gallop Backpack $4,100

Dimensions: 13” x 18.5” x 5.5”

Rider Backpack in Dior Oblique Jacquard

Image Credit: @niki_christina_

Image Credit: @mrwhospain

Dimensions: 12” x 16.5” x 6”

Toile de Jouy Backpack

Image Credit: @kl__love

Dimensions: 13.5” x 12” x 4.5”

Clearly, backpacks are now pretty mainstream in the luxury market. No longer just functional utilitarian carryall, these sac-a-dos are fashion statements offered by all your favorite designers. And whether you like a logo, or bright or neutral hues, in almost any size, there’s an option. The question is whether you’ll be (back)packing one anytime soon. Let us know.

Published: March 28th, 2023
Updated: March 28th, 2023

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