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A Bag Inspired by a Mythical Grecian Heroine

By Hillary Kang


Greek mythology has always been a rich source of inspiration for French fashion house Givenchy. Figures like Icarus and the Greek messenger goddess Iris — whose namesake was said to be founder Hubert de Givenchy’s favourite flower — have featured prominently in previous collections and pieces from the brand.

Perhaps the most iconic of these is the Antigona bag, named for the steadfast Greek heroine Antigone. First debuted by the house in 2010, the Antigona bag has been a staple of fashion acolytes since its inception. A reinterpretation of the quintessential carry-on, the Antigona was beloved for its metallic details and geometric, almost architectural structure. That the bag was also incredibly practical helped solidify its status as an It bag and in Givenchy’s own extensive mythos.


Givenchy’s current creative director Matthew M. Williams has now given the beloved bag a modern update. The reinterpreted range brings with it an array of different sizes and materials, and in line with Williams’ affinity for statement hardware, the new Antigona bags also feature numerous metallic accents, including a distinctive padlock detail inspired by Paris’ iconic love locks. Metal grommets and embossed leather also make an appearance on several pieces in the refreshed Antigona line, lending a refreshing edge on a traditionally understated silhouette.

And though the Antigona was initially conceived as a women’s bag, Williams has crafted the range with a distinctively genderless look in mind; in particular, the Antigona Soft — with its roomy confines and laidback yet structured exterior — makes for the perfect gym or weekender bag.


What remains consistent throughout the line is that same architectural structure that brought the Antigona so much praise at its debut, though that element is subverted in the Antigona Soft shopper tote, whose slouchy exterior and fluid lines lend a more languid look to the iconic shape.

Though the Antigona line comes in a range of timeless materials and shades — think smooth black leather and buttery neutrals — the line also comes in several more striking forms, including an arresting crocodile-embossed leather, and several bold shades like siren red and candy pink.


In Greek mythology, Antigone was a daring woman and devoted daughter of Oedipus. As the child of a stigmatised union between mother and son, Antigone was the recipient of great derision in her life, something that she took in her stride. When her father was exiled from Thebes, Antigone — ever the filial daughter — followed suit. Her unerring loyalty to her family would also be her undoing: After her brothers were killed and the king forbade them a proper burial, Antigone defied his authority and did just that, knowing that it would lead to her own death by live entombment. Her legend was established by famed Greek dramatist Sophocles in the eponymous play Antigone.

It is that sense of defiance in the face of insurmountable odds and staying true to one’s beliefs, that Givenchy draws on — not just for the Antigona line, but for its decades-long history of cutting-edge designs.