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Afternoon Bag Porn: 9 Purses To Drool Over From the New Simone Handbag Museum

All images from the book <strong>Handbags: The Making of a Museum</strong>, courtesy of Yale University Press
All images from the book Handbags: The Making of a Museum, courtesy of Yale University Press

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After shoes went ahead and got themselves a documentary, bags had to do something to keep up. Next month, the Simone Handbag Museum, the world's first museum dedicated to bags, will open in Seoul, South Korea, and it will span a whopping 500 years of purses. From antiques to modern marvels by the likes of Michael Kors, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Rebecca Minkoff, and Tory Burch, visitors are about to get an eyeful. And if you, like us, will be nowhere near Seoul this summer, fortunately there's an equally lust-worthy museum catalogue to go along with. Yale University Press shared a handful of images from the Handbags: The Making of a Museum with us. Enjoy below:

Handbag, Moschino, Italian, 2012, Leather and metal
"Franco Moschino launched Moschino Couture! in 1983 and made Surrealism, overt glamour and irony his fashion signatures. Since his premature death at age 44, the house has retained this legacy. This ‘Olivia Spectator’ bag has overtones of a school satchel and a masculine briefcase, but its contrasting leathers and bold metal hardware render it altogether glamorous."

Tote, Céline, French, 2012, Leather
"In 2008 British art-school trained Phoebe Philo took the design helm at the Parisian fashion house Céline (established 1946). Under her direction, Céline is once again a leading international fashion label. This tote emblazoned with a gold foil design of a mustang car exemplifies Philo’s fashion aesthetic of understated, functional, luxurious products with a masculine twist."

Handbag, Salvatore Ferragamo, Italian, c.2011, Plastic coated canvas and metal
"The Florentine fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo is best known for the innovation, craftsmanship and glamour of its shoes. Established in 1927, the company has diversified in recent years. As this amusing handbag indicates, the company is able to recognize its heritage while still appealing to a modern consumer."

Handbag, Hermès, French, 1998, Alligator skin and metal
"This ‘Birkin’ bag was named after the actress and singer Jane Birkin for whom it was initially made as a leather weekend bag. It is offered in a variety of sizes, colours and materials, including custom specifications such as the addition of diamonds to the hardware. Skilled craftsmen construct each bag, which takes about forty-eight hours to complete."

Vanity case, Louis Vuitton, French, 1969, Leather and metal
"This vanity case belonged to the Duchess of Windsor. Previously an American socialite, Wallis Simpson married Edward VIII in 1937 after his abdication from the British throne. On a faux tortoise-shell label, alongside the Louis Vuitton number 876026, is engraved ‘The Duchess of Windsor, 4 rue du Champ d'Entrainement, Paris 16ieme, France’."

Purse, French, c1900–25, Glass enamel, leather, and silver
"Ajoure metalwork, guilloche engraving and yellow glass enamelling decorate this purse. Ajoure metalwork is cut into lace-like floral patterns, rather than built up as in filigree work. The tiny interlocking lines of guilloche engraving have appeared on metals since the eighteenth century. Here the engraving is covered by glass enamel to create the smooth and lustrous finish popularized by Peter Carl Fabergé, the nineteenth-century Russian jeweller famous for his enamelled eggs."

Workbag, British, 1860–65, Leather, brass, porcelain, and silk lining
"This ingenious workbag is both practical and attractive. It opens by pressing a simple porcelain button set into a solid brass plate. Both of the circular ends also open, with one containing a number of compartments and the other a mirror. The main body of the bag is horizontally hinged and opens to reveal a lining in green silk moiré."

Reticule, French, c1850, Glass beads, cotton knit and cord
"Sablé, which translates as sand, is the finest of all beadwork. Up to 1,000 beads can be found in a 2.5 cm square of sablé work. Ingenious ways for threading had to be devised using horse or human hair, because the holes of the beads are so small that metal needles are unable to pass through them."

Purse, British, 1825–29, Silk crochet and metal
"This exquisitely crafted purse is constructed from metal rings covered with a dark red silk crochet. To access or add to the bag’s contents the gold-coloured ring at the neck of the purse passes over the two metal bars, which then separate to create an opening."


Sweetmeat purse, English, c1580, Silk satin, silk, gold and silver thread, and silver spangles
"The embroidered flowers, animals and insects on this purse echo the fashions worn by English nobility between 1560 and 1610. Men and women alike wore bodices heavily decorated with embroidery in silk, gold and silver thread, as well as spangles, which were then known as ‘Os’. Motifs were taken from popular texts, such as Claude Paradin’s Devises Heroiques (1557) and Thomas Trevelyon’s Miscellany (1608)."

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