From Chanel’s ode to supermarket chic to Carrie Bradshaw’s most beloved accessory – a new exhibition shines the spotlight on the most iconic handbags
Saddle bags, microscopic bags, football bags (but make it fashion à la Rihanna), bowling bags: 2019 was a big year for statement arm candy. So, we’re, ahem, totes delighted with the news that the V&A will host an entire exhibition dedicated entirely to our favourite accessory - exploring the function, status and craftsmanship of the most iconic handbags in history.
Opening April 2020, Bags: Inside Out will include around 300 designer handbags, despatch boxes, vanity cases, purses, totes and clutches. Some of BURO.’s highlights to be featured in the exhibition (below) include the trademark Fendi Baguette carried by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex And The City, a gold Louis Vuitton Monogram Miroir Speedy bag by Marc Jacobs (favoured by Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian), the Lady Dior bag named after Princess Diana and the Hermès Kelly, named in honour of Grace Kelly.
Split into three parts, the first section of the exhibition, entitled ‘Function’, will examine bags as practical objects designed to hold our belongings. ‘Status and Identity’ will spotlight the central role of the bag in pop culture, from the rise of the ‘It bag’ phenomenon of the late 90s and early 00s to bags as a blank canvas for slogans, personal statements and political messaging (see Anya Hindmarch’s ‘I am NOT a Plastic Bag’ tote). The final section will look at the Design and Making process from sketch to sample, sewing to selling. Mulberry, who are sponsoring the exhibition, will highlight the innovative early processes that go into the making of a designer handbag.
“These portable, yet functional accessories have long fascinated men and women with their dual nature that combines private and public,” Lucia Savi, curator of Bags: Inside Out at the V&A, said. “By exploring their continuing importance in our lives and as part of the history of design the exhibition highlights the V&A’s mission to illuminate the past and inspire designers of the future.”
Bags: Inside Out, sponsored by Mulberry, runs from 25 April 2020– 31 January 2021. Tickets will be available to buy early 2020.
The bags from fashion’s past we’re still swooning over
CHANEL’S SUPERMARKET CHIC
Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Lait de Coco evening bag AW/14, Paris (c) Victoria and Albert Museum
Fendi Baguette bag worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City, 2000, Italy. Image courtesy of Fendi
Gianni Versace, Safety-pin handbag, SS/94, Italy (c) Victoria and Albert Museum
Anya Hindmarch and We Are What We Do, 'I'm NOT a Plastic bag' tote bag, 2007, London (c) Victoria and Albert Museum
Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, Speedy handbag, A/W06, Paris (c) Victoria and Albert Museum