With Bags in Bloom the Museum of Bags and Purses invites nature in both figuratively and literally. From wildflower to hothouse flower, from panorama to landscape. From exotic leaves to floral still lifes. From delicately embroidered pockets to ornate petit point handbags. From the intricacies of gros point to abstract botanical patterns. From Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami’s ‘Cherry Blossom’ bowling bag to a whimsical bag illustrated by James Jean for Prada.
Icon Bags in Bloom: Gucci Bamboo Bag
The Bamboo Bag is for Gucci what the Birkin bag is for Hermès: an icon. The bag can now be seen in the exhibition Bags in Bloom.
The most distinctive feature of this handbag is the curved bamboo handle, which has become a status symbol for many. Today, fashion connoisseurs will immediately recognise a bag with a bamboo handle as being part of one of the most luxurious Italian brands, but when the design was introduced in 1947, it was out of necessity. In the aftermath of the Second World War, materials were scarce, and Gucci took a chance in sourcing Japanese bamboo for their handles.
This gamble paid off. The enduring popularity of this handbag mirrors that of Italian fashion in general. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Italian fashion grew steadily in popularity, not least due to the country’s increasing popularity as a film location, with Rome as a particular favourite. Some of the most famous film stars of the era, including Elizabeth Taylor and Ingrid Bergman, were seen carrying a Bamboo Bag, and the rest was history. The handbag on display in the museum was produced in the 1960s.
Bags in Bloom is a sketch, a floral framework that brings together this seventeenth-century canal house built during the heyday of the floral still life, and an artistic selection of over a hundred bags. All of the bags on display, with their lifelike colours and astonishing details, are part of the museum’s own collection.
The exhibition Bags in Bloom is on display from 19 April until 31 August 2019.