March 11, 2012

all you need is a bag

The history of the awesome bag or "designer handbag" doesn't go that far back and as we know is "used, mainly by women, to hold personal items such as wallet/coins, keys, cosmetics, a hairbrush, pepper spray, cigarettes, contraceptives, mobile phone, etc" (as if we need Wiki to tell us this although I 've never carried pepper spray nor a hairbrush)

Hermés, Gucci and Louis Vuitton were known for their finely crafted leather bags before they were known for their clothes. Founded in the mid 19th century, Louis Vuitton began with trunks and other pieces of luggage. The handbag we obsess over today basically came into being after WWII.

Prior to that time, ladies of the nobility carried tiny velvet and silk bags or "reticules" because servants carried anything else they might have needed. On the lower end of the social ladder donkey carts were used. The evolution of the handbag over the decades kind of reflects the partial demolition of social barriers: as the role and importance of women in society grew (and still is growing) so did the size of the handbags. Bags should be big enough to hold anything you might need in case of emergency and if you need to leave town at a moment's notice. And here I'd like to inject the philosophy of "less is more" i.e. better to own one single lovely quality bag than five or six cheap ones. Enough of this throw-away crap. Save for an awesome bag. Possibly the main reason for the 'awesome' factor: you don't need a dressing room to try them on.

photo courtesy of Phil Oh at Paris Fashion Week 2012