From Winston Churchill’s red despatch box, to the Fendi bag worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City, the V&A’s new exhibition, Bags: Inside Out, gathers together an impressive collection of items in order to explore our longstanding fascination with the bag.
Spanning 400 years and 300 objects, the show seeks to showcase the function, status, and craftsmanship of the bag, while looking at everything from tiny purses to luxurious travel trunks.
The exhibition is split into three sections. Section one looks at the practical applications of the bag, from holding clothes to make up and even gas masks. Highlights from this section include an embroidered burse used by Queen Elizabeth I to protect the Great Seal of England, Winston Churchill’s red despatch box and a gas mask owned by HRH Queen Mary.
Section two of the exhibition explores the way bags have increasingly been used in celebrity culture and by the political and societal elite. Some of the objects on display in this section include a Hermès bag named in honour of Grace Kelly, and the first-ever made Hermès Birkin bag.
The final section of the exhibition looks at the manufacturing process involved in creating a bag, ‘from sketch to sample, sewing to selling’. This part of the exhibition will include a ‘maker’s table’ where visitors to the museum can observe bag making processes as close hand, while a series of sketches, samples and prototypes from international fashion houses illuminate the early stages of the design process.
The exhibition concludes by looking at how the designers of today are using environmentally sustainable materials to create fashion. The section will feature a backpack made from recycled ocean plastic waste by Stella McCartney and a bag crafted from decommissioned fire hoses by Elvis and Kresse.
Bags: Inside Out has been postponed due to the Coronavirus Crisis. More information about the event can be found here.
For information about other great exhibitions in London, please click here.