The Handbag: An Illustrated History (Hardcover)

An Illustrated History

By Caroline Cox

Harper Design, 9780061227387, 192pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2007



The handbag has never been more important in fashion than it is today. Whether Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or Chanel, the It bag of the season is a much-coveted designer item that indicates supreme style cachet—and for which the fashion-minded do not hesitate to spend.

In this lush volume, filled with a range of rich historical and contemporary images, fashion authority Caroline Cox explores the history of this must-have accessory, beginning with its development in the nineteenth century with the reticule—essentially a pocket with a handle—to the slouchy, greatly oversized bags popular today. In six chapters, each devoted to a decade, Cox not only highlights the most noteworthy bags in fashion design, but looks at their evolution within the social context of the day. Featured bags include Vuitton's revolutionary Noe bag for the female traveler, Art Deco clutch bags molded in Bakelite, the Hermès Kelly bag endorsed by Princess Grace of Monaco in the 1950s, and the It bag of the moment, the Marc Jacobs Stam. This book is a fascinating history of handbag design examined within the context of changing society and women's roles in it.

Filled with a collection of important handbags, diverse imagery, and a fun, informative text, this beautifully designed volume is a must-have for handbag aficionados and lovers of fashion alike.