Stored and Adored

Dedicated to Designer and Pre-Loved Bags

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Étienne Aigner/Aigner Munich Split

stored and adored designer bag blog
photo by fervent-adepte-de-la-mode / CC BY

Étienne Aigner (pronounced et-tee-an / on-yay) apprenticed with Christian Dior and Cristóbal Balenciaga before moving to New York to launch his own eponymous brand. In 1950, Étienne Aigner began producing antic red leather bags (which have now become the brand's signature colour) and in 1959 Aigner opened his first showroom in Manhattan, New York. Since then, the brand has grown into a worldwide success with major offices in Munich and New York. Currently, these offices are owned by different companies with their own e-commerce sites, and you can purchase different handbag designs from either site.

This split in the brand occurred in 1965, when Étienne Aigner met a german businessman who encouraged him to launch the brand in Munich. The European Aigner brand was renamed Aigner Munich, and is more sophisticated than the American equivalent, utilising Italian materials and craftsmanship. Typically, the bags sold Aigner Munich are considered better quality and command a higher price - they also have a better reputation as luxury commodities. In contrast, the American Étienne Aigner brand required a re-launch in 2012 to maintain the brand's popularity. Its new marketing positioned it as an affordable designer brand supplying classic pieces with a twist, and to my mind positioned Étienne Aigner in a similar bracket to Gerard Darel

storedandadored designer bag blog
photo by fervent-adepte-de-la-mode / CC BY

Aigner's designer bags have come a long way, and many of the vintage models have a very different style to the modern bags being sold in store today. The American Aigner seems to stock more slouchy and everyday designs, whilst the Aigner Munich has a greater focus on structured shapes. As much as I love many of the new designs being produced by both companies, I have a lot of love for the brand's original vintage pieces - especially in their traditional antic red leather. These bags have a lot of character, and they tend to wear really well. I recently bought a pre-loved 1980s Aigner bag and it's in fantastic condition, as though it was truly made to last a lifetime. I'm not sure if the new bags being produced today live up to the same level of quality.


If you have any first-hand experience with Aigner Munich or Étienne Aigner bags, then I'd love to hear from you in the comment section. And if you're looking to browse some pre-loved vintage Aigner bags then check out what's available in my online store Stored and Adored.

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