LIE SANG BONG ‘ACCORDION’ HANDBAG (2010)

The handbag is the most sculptural of fashion accessories. Unlike hats (which meld with the face) and shoes (which with any luck stay put on the feet), the handbag can just as often spotted alone, set down on a table or chair as it can be seen swinging from its owner’s arm.

Shape, structure and silhouette are thus key qualities of any handbag – from the hard-edge lozenge of Wilardy Rocket, to the more relaxed, melting shape of a Mulberry Alexa bag.

The shape of a bag can tell us something about the wearer, her personality and mood, and even the age in which she lives. Uptight style queens love hard-edged glamour, while laid-back bohemians prefer the unstructured and casual. Capacious bags are for hard times when we all have too much to do; small ones are more frivolous, free-spirited times when we are hardly out of our dancing shoes.

What then should we make of the Korean designer Lie Sang Bong’s Accordion Bag? With its high-concept form and sleek gothic looks, this bag makes a statement that is bold but complex. Dramatic. Exotic. Dystopian. We live, it seems, in a complex, fragmented age.