The bum bag (fanny pack or belt bag) is perhaps the least glamorous and most nerdy of all bag genres. It is forever doomed to be associated with bewildered-looking tourists or nylon-clad map-reading hikers – or so you might have thought.
It is a credit to the genius of British fashion’s grande dame, Vivienne Westwood (1941–), that, even at the height of the bum bag’s popularity in the mid-1990s, she was able at a stroke to sweep away all such negative connotations with her limited edition creation for Louis Vuitton.
It is something of a Westwoodian trademark that she can simultaneously cite, celebrate and subvert tradition in her work. With her Louis Vuitton bum bag – correctly worn at the rear – she alludes to the Victorian bustle, while also paying homage to the curves of the female body.
The piece de resistance, of course, was Westwood’s appropriation of Vuitton’s signature monogram canvas with its discreet mix of quatrefoils, flowers, and LV monograms. It was a textile shorthand for the bourgeois cosmopolitan refinement since the beginning of the century. The design was exactly a hundred years old, and Westwood blew it sky-high.