How to spot a Fake Dior (Originial or Reissue) Saddle Bag

His first bag for the house, John Galliano designed the Dior Saddle in 1999, debuting it on his Spring/Summer 2000 (From article by Vogue) runway. After making an appearance under the arm of seemingly every early- ‘00s style setter (both fictional and real, Carrie Bradshaw carried a silk scarf version on her second date with Aidan in SATC, and Paris Hilton was photographed on the cover of every tabloid with one in white leather), it earned the highly coveted ‘IT bag’ title. 

Though the Dior Saddle Bag remained popular for many years, it officially fell out of style when Galliano was abruptly fired for making racist remarks at a Parisian bar in 2011. 

Years later, after Beyoncé was spotted carrying a vintage, tie-dyed Saddle, (From article by The PurseBlog) resellers could not keep the style in stock. Dior took notice and, for Fall/Winter 2018 (From article by Vogue), Maria Grazia Chiuri reintroduced the silhouette in a larger size and with a detachable crossbody strap and modified logo. 

Her rerelease immediately impacted the resale price of the Saddle Bag. While it could once be scored for as little as $150, it now sells for up to $3,500. As a result, the number of Saddle Bag counterfeits has also drastically increased. 

Now more than ever, secondhand shoppers need to be vigilant, so they do not get tricked into spending big money on a knockoff. 

Because Grazia Chiuri’s updates make the authentication process even a little more difficult, our Dior experts have listed 10 ways you can tell a Saddle Bag is fake – whether it is a Galliano original or Grazia Chiuri reissue. 

Photo by Peter White/Getty Images

Beyoncé Carrying Her Vintage Saddle Bag in 2014. Photo for The PurseBlog

1. The top of the bag forms a perfectly straight line. 

Though never confirmed by John Galliano, the Dior Saddle Bag is believed to be inspired by Helmut Newton’s Saddle I, Paris (1976). A sultry black-and-white photograph, it features a model posed on her hands and knees at the end of a bed, wearing riding boots and a saddle harnessed over her back. Since its debut in 2000, the Saddle Bag has been famous for its distinct, unconventional shape. Resembling the silhouette of an actual horse saddle, the top of an authentic Saddle Bag should be curved. Though Maria Grazia Chiuri enlarged her rerelease to fit our more modern accoutrements (specifically, the iPhone Plus), its top should still dip in the middle. 


2. The monogram does not look quite right. 

The Dior monogram was created by then-creative director Marc Bohan in 1967, but did not become iconic until the early- ‘00s, when John Galliano reintroduced it at the height of logomania. Originally known as the Diorissimo print, it features the brand name in a vertically staggered formation. On a real vintage Saddle Bag, each letter in the monogram should be bold and thick. 

When Maria Grazia Chiuri took the helm in 2016, she reinterpreted Dior’s monogram. Rebranding it as the Oblique logo (named after a jacket designed by the house’s founder Christian Dior), each letter should now be slimmer and more defined. On a real reissue Saddle Bag, the left leg of the ‘D’ should be thinner and the ‘r’ should be positioned closer to the ‘D,’ becoming a more integrated part of the logo. 

The monogram might be one of the most recognizable details on any Dior bag, but because it has changed over the years, it is one of the hardest to authenticate.

3. The edges of the bag are painted on. 

A testament to the house’s impeccable craftsmanship, the piping on a genuine vintage or reissue Dior Saddle Bag should be absolutely flawless. Sewn by hand and then hammered to the perfect shape, the piping should be thick and smooth. As it is so difficult to execute, many counterfeiters simply paint the edges of the bag to simulate real piping. When inspecting the piping on a Saddle Bag, be sure to check along its closure flap. This is where any shortcuts will be the most obvious. 


4. The connecting link between the ‘C’ and ‘D’ strap charms is not engraved. 

Old or new, every Dior Saddle features ‘C’ and ‘D’ letter charms on either side of its shoulder strap, giving the bag a jewelry-like look. The charms should be joined to each other by a wavy link, which is engraved with ‘Christian Dior’ on its backside. The letters ‘C’ in ‘Christian’ and ‘D’ in ‘Dior’ should be noticeably larger than the rest. 

5. The ‘D’ charm on the flap is too tall, thin, and light. 

Meant to look like the stirrup on a horse saddle, a gilded ‘D’ charm dangles from the flap of every Dior Saddle Bag. The ‘D’ should always feel weighty and substantial. However, depending on when the bag was released, it should look different. The ‘D’ on a Galliano-era Saddle Bag should have a ‘CD’ engraving on its left leg and very pointed serifs; whereas, the ‘D’ on a Grazia Chiuri-era Saddle Bag should not be engraved and should have bold, rounded serifs. 


6. The closure tab hangs free and loose from the body of the bag. 

On every Dior Saddle Bag, the closure tab is located to the right of the ‘D’ accent charm. It should sit fast against the front of the bag. On an authentic vintage Saddle, the tab should secure to the bag with velcro; while on an authentic reissue Saddle, it should secure to the bag with a hidden magnet. 

Photo by courtesy of Dior for The Cut

7. The opening is as long as the bag itself. 

Lift the Saddle Bag’s flap, and you will see the opening into its main interior compartment. No matter when the bag was produced, its opening should not extend all the way to both of its sides. There should always be some material between. 

Photo by Courtesy of Dior for The RealReal


8. The interior leather tag has sharp, square corners. 

Every legitimate Dior Saddle Bag should have a leather tag attached to its interior lining. Like on other Dior styles, the tag should be rectangular, but with soft, rounded corners. On pre-Grazia Chiuri Saddle Bags, the tag should be double-stitched in its top left and right corners, and if they feature gold hardware, the stitching should be bright yellow. 


9. The place of production is not indicated on the interior leather tag. 

On every true Dior Saddle Bag, the front of the interior tag should be embossed with a heat stamp, identifying: 

Christian Dior


In the newer Saddle Bag, the leather tag should include one additional line under ‘PARIS,’ indicating where the bag was produced: 


This information is not missing from the original Saddle Bag. It should just be located on the back of the interior leather tag, just above the bag’s date code, instead. 

10. The date code does not adhere to one of two formats. 

While no one knows exactly when Dior first started to use date codes, it is believed to be around 1997, as that is when they began to consistently appear on the house’s bags. From this point on, every authentic Dior bag (including the Saddle, which was designed by John Galliano two years later) should be marked with one. 

Because it is also owned by LVMH[AV1], Dior’s date codes follow roughly the same format as Louis Vuitton’s. In the following order, the date code on a Dior Saddle Bag should be comprised of: two numbers, a dash, two uppercase letters, a dash, and four numbers (##-##-####). Though it remains unclear what the first two numbers represent, the rest of the date code has been successfully decoded. The two letters are a factory code, narrowing down even more precisely where the bag was produced; the last four numbers are a date, telling exactly when (the first and third indicate the month, and the second and fourth indicate the year). 

Remember, there are only 12 months in a year. In a hurry and unaware of the configuration, counterfeiters often err, creating date codes with an incorrect number of months. 

Older Dior Saddle Bags can however follow a different format. Older versions of the bag will have two letters and four numbers separated by a space – not a dash (## ####).

If you come across more than one Dior Saddle Bag with the same date code, do not automatically assume one or all of them must be fake. Unlike serial numbers, date codes are not unique. Many Saddle Bags are produced in the same factory on the same month of the same year!

Photo by Courtesy of Dior for The RealReal

Photo by Courtesy of Dior for The RealReal

Written by Anna Villani
Anna Villani is a fashion writer based in Copenhagen
The people pictured are not associated with The Archive
or The Vintage Bar, and do not endorse the products shown.