How did the humble bag move from functional object to coveted fashion accessory, bearing the names of French fashion models and Monégasque royalty? This new exhibition will weave together a story of design and craftsmanship through 300 objects dating from the 16th century to the modern day. We will see bags worn by both men and women; those designed to conceal items, to show off, to be dangled from fingers, and those designed to transport entire wardrobes. This rich sartorial history will reveal how bags have functioned as both a symbol of privacy and ostentation, adornment and utility.
Bethan Laura Wood with her collaboration with Valextra. Photo: Anthony Lycett
Highlights will include Margaret Thatcher's Asprey statement handbag, a sequined Fendi bag worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City and a selection of unusual inventions, designed for the woman about town. Look out for a 19th-century Chatelaine – a piece worn at the waist with an array of useful items attached. The one to be exhibited here has 13 accessories hanging from it, including thimbles and a magnifying glass.
This exhibition will also include pieces made by Karl Lagerfeld, Mulberry and Louis Vuitton, as well as a bag designed by Tracy Emin for Longchamp. The curators will also delve into the world of celebrity endorsement, featuring a Hermès Kelly named in honour of Grace Kelly and a Lady Dior handbag named after Princess Diana.
The show will finish with an eye to the future, exploring the work of designers experimenting with sustainable materials and fresh innovations, from Stella McCartney's backpack made from recycled ocean plastic, to a bag crafted from decommissioned fire hoses by Elvis and Kresse. We can't wait to see what surprises this exhibition has in store.
Tickets will be available early next year.
|What||Bags: Inside Out, V&A|
|Where||V&A, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
25 Apr 20 – 03 Jan 21, 10:00 AM – 5:45 PM
|Website||Click here for more information|