100 Years of L.L. Bean: Designers Inspired by the Outfitter (Photos)

The classics that have inspired other designers—from the Manolo Blahnik Bean Boot to the Hermès tote bag.

L.L. Bean (2); Courtesy Foster Huntington; pursepage.com

As the Maine outfitter celebrates its centennial, a look back at some classics that have inspired other designers—from the Manolo Blahnik Bean Boot to the Hermès tote bag.

L.L. Bean; Courtesy Foster Huntington

Bean Boot (Manolo Blahnik)

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, L.L. Bean has sent its Bootmobile on a road trip across America. The campy car is modeled, of course, on the iconic Maine Hunting Shoe, which has been worn by Ernest Hemingway and every preppy in the Northeast for generations. In 1994, the Bean Boot got a very fancy upgrade when shoe designer Manolo Blahnik reinterpreted the rubber-and-leather classic—and gave it a spiked heel. Blahnik’s boot was included in an exhibit on sporting clothes at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology last year, and blogger Foster Huntington even discovered them in L.L. Bean’s own archives when he made a pilgrimage to Freeport, Maine, in 2009.

L.L. Bean; toryburch.com

Norwegian Sweater (Tory Burch)

Having graduated from the Agnes Irwin School on Philadelphia’s Main Line, designer Tory Burch was steeped in the preppy tradition of L.L. Bean, and still adores its classic tote. And Burch’s fashions have been known to take their inspiration from Bean—from her duck boots to the Wilma cardigan, which is a boho reinterpretation of Bean’s Norwegian sweater.

L.L. Bean; pursepage.com

Canvas Tote (Hermès)

Created in 1944, the L.L. Bean Tote has long been a favorite of beachgoers and celebrities, from Reese Witherspoon to Julia Roberts to Suri Cruise herself. And its simple, elegant design has inspired many designers and fashion houses, including Hermès, which re-did the tote in its signature orange.

L.L. Bean; matchesfashion.com

Guide Shirt/Stag Jacket (Dolce & Gabbana)

Having a bold shirt or jacket to stand out in the woods makes good sense if you’re a Maine guide and need to avoid hunters. But in the urban jungle, the red-and-black check—particularly as it is updated by Dolce & Gabbana—is just about looking good.

L.L. Bean; openingceremony.us

Blucher (Yuki Matsuda)

In 1936, 24 years after he created the duck boot, Leon Leonwood Bean introduced the blucher and patterned it after an Indian moccasin. The laid-back shoe has inspired everyone from Quoddy—another Maine institution—to Yuki Matsuda, whose Yuketen label created a pair of suede bluchers for Opening Ceremony.

L.L. Bean; matchesfashion.com

Chamois Shirt (Marc Jacobs)

First introduced in 1933, the Bean chamois shirt is a cozy staple whether you live in Portland, Maine, or Portlandia. And the flannel favorite has been reimagined by many designers, including Marc Jacobs.

L.L. Bean; jcrew.com

Fisherman’s Sweater (J.Crew)

Admittedly, L.L. Bean didn’t invent the fisherman’s sweater (or Aran sweater)—but they did make it famous. So much so that Bean’s preppy clothing cousin, J. Crew, offers its own spin on the Irish yarn.

L.L.Bean; barneys.com

Leather Duffel (Barneys)

Considered an L.L. Bean signature, the leather duffel was introduced in 1933 and recently redone as Bean’s Vacation Bag. And for nearly 10 times the cost, Barneys offers a nearly identical version.

L.L. Bean; quicksilver.com

Barn Jacket (Quiksilver)

What designer doesn’t do a barn jacket modeled after L.L. Bean’s iconic field coat? First sold in 1924, and intended for hunters in the Maine woods, the jacket has been reinterpreted by every preppy clothing line from Ralph Lauren to Lands End to J.Crew. There’s even one for the surf/snowboard set from Quiksilver.

L.L. Bean; neimanmarcus.com

Over the Arm Bag (Gucci)

The tote with the circular opening, Bean’s Over the Arm Bag was created in 1957 and has several modern descendants, including Gucci’s leather-top handle bag, which runs a modest $2,400 more.