Sunday, 14 July 2013

Caught By The Bag Bug

 Just when I thought my on-off relationship with them is over, they just keep turning up at my doorstep like estranged friends and lovers. These ones landed on my work desk--popped up is the more appropriate action--and they literally did.

A theatre actor colleague who works part-time with me also moonlights as an illustrator for a publishing company. He was given this book as something he may want to give as a present to his boss, says the publisher. Perhaps because his mother is my namesake, that makes me the boss.

But seriously, he thought I might like it. He was wrong. I loved it! It's the little details that make this nifty book amusing. Some women regress to infantile stupefaction when their favourite toys are waved at them, much like a child gawking and squealing with delight upon seeing an overhead mobile.

photo credit:
MsMadge's first encounter with the allure of handbags came with her first glimpse of a pastel-coloured cow soft toy hanging from a mobile. It taught her how to stretch out her short limbs to grab what she wanted.
photo credit:

And if her tiny little hands didn't manage to pull one off the mobile, MsMadge turned into a bawling little monster.

Coffee table books about handbags and accessories litter bookshops, so publishers have to vie for fashion accessory lovers' short and divided attention. This one tickles that childlike thrill we love getting stirred every now and then, flicking through pages and photos as if I've never seen, held or owned some of the bags before.

What's not to love? Wait till they pop up!

I'm sorry but can somebody tell me who Ali Carlisle is?

A preview of what to see

Agree? It's shoes for me rather than perfume.

A spread on the short timeline of the history of bags. I wrote a more detailed piece on this on my recent visit to the Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam which you can read here and here.

The first pop-up! Not the best photo, so let me tell you a little something about it. It's a pastiche of a portmanteau or holdall. The first half of the 20th century saw people travelling more, so a portmanteau had pockets for rail tickets, and tiny metal locks and keys.

This page tells us of different types of materials used other than leather, from silk and velvet, woven straw and wood covered with fabric, lucite and vinyl to suede and denim. The page on the right is interesting because when the wheel is turned as instructed, the bag shapes are featured in various materials. Let's give it a go.

Turn 1

Turn 2

Turn 3

Turn 4. My favourite as I love the clutch on the left in black satin.

Back to the original page

Pop-up 2! A hexagonal evening bag from the 1940s made of steel with a coiled handle. Quoted on the side is David Brown who I assume was Sir David Brown, an English entrepreneur who once owned the automobile manufacturer Aston Martin. He said, "Never be the first to arrive at a party or the last to go home and never never be both."

Quirky evening bags say NO to hefty totes. My favourite is that wedding dress-shaped fabric evening bag by Lulu Guinness made in 2004. If you can't wear it, carry it.

From 'swete-bags' to hold perfumed herbs to mask the undesirable odour of medieval urban life, the handbag has evolved from being purely functional to excessively impractical. Some 'It' bags fall into the latter category. Say what?! An 'It' bag, coined of course by the fashion industry "think tanks", is a status symbol bag the price of which apparently requires a 2nd mortgage, and that tells the world you've arrived. The book further says it must be luxurious, beautifully made and ultra expensive. The last description is true, the middle one debatable, and the first one is subjective.

Herm├Ęs Kelly bag on the left. Fendi B. bag on the right.

Flip open the cards and you'll see from left to right: Prada Fairy bag, Dior Saddle bag, Chloe Paddington bag, and Luella Giselle bag. Fashionistas must have been trained in the language of the business while learning to speak by being shown these photo cards. First word is Prada instead of da da.

More It bags: Marc Jacobs Stam bag and YSL (Just Saint Laurent to you and me now) Muse bag.

The list of It bags won't be complete without Chanel's 2.55 handbag. Named after the release date, February 1955, a new version with a different clasp was launched in 2005 to mark its 50th anniversary. The double chain long shoulder strap was very unusual for handbag shapes at the time. Gabrielle Chanel wanted a bag for modern women that would allow them to free their hands.

This one needs no introduction. If you don't know what it is, this page's open for Q&A.

This is something that Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone's character in Clueless) would have an app for had iPads come into vogue during her time. Look at the chart if you can't decide. These are your day options for each day of the week. Sunday not included. Even fashionistas need a break from the all-consuming intellectual challenge of sartorial decisions.

Lift the cards for your night options from Monday to Wednesday. Vivienne Westwood declares on the side, "When in doubt, overdress." She must always be in doubt.

The picks from Thursday to Saturday nights.

Rana, which means frog in Spanish and Latin, is the name of the this bag designed by Marc Jacobs. The evening pouch is made of kangaroo skin and adorned with an antique frog bearing crystal eyes.

Sonia Rykiel once said the above. Sometimes, a bag has more charm and personality than the owner.

The pull-out tab displays some novelty bags. The cat has been let out of the bag.

"You carry a bag as badge of you are." -Lulu Guinness and her flowerpot bag

Reusable slogan bags is an update on what's on your mind. It's like a tweet on a bag without the ridiculous hundredfold hashtags.

How handy it would be to fish out a smile from your makeup bag, thrown in with your mints and lip gloss?

A free bag hook!

The unwrapped free magnetic bag hook. I need a couple of this.

The magnetic bag hook unfurled. Got plenty of room, so get that bag you've been eyeing by hook or by crook!

Many thanks to Chris for this lovely gift! 

For more photos of bags and purses, please click on Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam Part I and Part II.


  1. Very entertaining - both your post and that lovely book! A great gift, delightful and charming, I'd play with it for hours.

    1. Thank you Sulky! I'm still playing with it.
      Someone has already asked me if there's a pop-up Kama Sutra book. If there was, I would've gotten my hands on it a long time ago :D

  2. Amazing book!!!!!
    Great post..... I am bag-addict!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Have a great start of the week my dear friend!

    1. Thank you as always Paola! I can tell you're a bag addict. Your collection is amazing and can fill up a museum :D
      Have a a great week ahead also.

  3. I'm so sorry I have been away for so long, but I really appreciate you checking back at my blog. I've stopped sulking and brushed myself off now!

    Now why don't I get gifts like this ha ha. I'm all about the bags, if i can't hang them in my room, the next best thing is to read about them and gawp at the images in a fabulous book!

    Happy Monday (I think?) xx

    1. No worries, and thank you for dropping by!

      I know, I was so surprised! I think my colleague wanted me to give him more working hours, thus the gift :) Seriously he's just a lovely person to work with.

      Having a very hot Monday. Can't complain though. Have a lovely week ahead of you! xx

  4. People will start carrying this instead! Will save loads of money carrying 50 bags in one.:)

    1. The pop-ups are closed at the bottom, and they're a good size. Can actually work as evening bags. Can use them in fact. And I just might for a laugh. Will just stay away from water :)

  5. what a cute book! perfect for the coffee table :) & i love how it's a pop up book! i love those bag hooks. i have one, it's not magnetic, but it's great for restaurants or at the bar :)

    1. Thanks Phoebe! It's very cute indeed. Love the pop-ups too. I've never had a bag hook, so I'm gonna try this in restaurants and bars like you do. Maybe for my coat too! :)

  6. How incredible! I love the book and adore bag as well, so I think it's perfect. I love pop-ups, my sister makes them for gifts and I always love them. Such a cute post Ms.adge. Enjoy your day dear. xx/Madison

    1. I think the book is on sale in Amazon. Oh wow, you and your sister are so talented :D Can't make my own pop-ups--can only rip them off book pages. Haha.
      Thank you so much Madison! Have a lovely day too x


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