HANDBAG HISTORY

Vintage editorial for the iconic Chanel 2.55 bag
Vintage editorial for the iconic Chanel 2.55 bag

The handbag is much more than a functional alternative to the pocket. In the course of time it has become a design object in its own right, a signature mascot for the major French couture houses (surpassing the role of perfume as a brand identity) and a powerful symbol of growing female independence.

A survey has found that an American woman owns an average of six handbags. A quick survey will show that these women are the exception rather than the norm – and that there are collectors out there who own so many bags they can’t possibly hope to use them all, even if she used a different bag every day for six months.

Regardless of how many bags you own, I’m sure you will find this history illuminating.

PRE-1890  |  1890s–1920s  |  1930s–1940s  |  1950s–1960s  |  1970s–PRESENT