'The bag as theatre' by Hester van Eeghen

An ongoing exhibition that will run until 17 march 2019
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EVERY DAY 10:00 - 17:00

‘The Bag as Theatre’ is full of surprises: it addresses both the design and what goes on inside the bag.

Over the last 30 years, leading Dutch designer Hester van Eeghen has created more than 600 objects ranging from trolleys to evening bags and from colourful high heels to briefcases. She is now celebrating her 30th anniversary as a designer with a pop-up book entitled One Thousand and One Handbags and the ongoing exhibition entitled ‘The Bag as Theatre’ which opened on 10 November 2018 in the Museum of Bags and Purses.

Just like her highly admired bags, this interactive exhibition is also full of surprises. ‘The Bag as Theatre’ addresses both the design of bags and what goes on inside them. While viewing the exhibition, you take a journey through the ‘theatre of bags’: stepping into a bag stimulates all your senses. Observing a bag’s contents, smelling it and touching it makes us realise we are carrying around more than we think on our arm.


‘What does a bag say about ourselves?’ This is a question that fascinates Hester van Eeghen.

To answer it, she created an interactive bag scanner especially for this exhibition. By placing a bag in the scanner and answering certain questions, the bag scanner will determine the owner’s character.


Pink bag behind curtain
Display with bags by Hester van Eeghen

Icons – 30 years as a designer

Hester van Eeghen designs bags with character and meaning. Her bags transcend transient fashion trends; instead, they are practical works of art. By now, dozens of her designs have achieved an iconic status and some of her bags are even included in museum collections. This exhibition displays 10 iconic designs created by Hester van Eeghen over the last 30 years. Iconic for various reasons: because only one of them was ever produced, because it has been included in the collection for so long, or because it is so striking and more emotionally evocative than other designs.


About Hester van Eeghen

Hester van Eeghen designs bags with a unique signature. Each of her bags displays truly original ideas – both inside and outside – and can always be recognised as hers. In addition to their beautiful leathers, use of colour and fine finishing, origami also plays an important role in her designs. This can be seen in many of her designs: they can be folded inward or outward, expanded from two to three dimensions, turned inside out, and carried on not just one but on two sides. Hester van Eeghen started out as a designer working on her own but after 30 years runs a company with 18 employees.

The ongoing interactive exhibition, ‘The Bag as Theatre’, marks the 30th anniversary of Hester van Eeghen as a designer and runs through 17 March 2019 in the Museum of Bags and Purses.
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What people are saying

I would recommend a stopover for any fan of purses!
One woman's acquiring a handbag led to a huge collection. Margaret Thatcher, Liz Taylor and Hilary Clinton's bags are all here.
"Loved this museum!"
Really gorgeous handbags with explanations. Fab restaurant there too and a tea shop.
"Spectacular place"

Discover items in this collection