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Bags in all shapes
  • Bag made of textile, leather and felt, Exquisite J, Italy, 2004

    Animals have formed a source of fascination and inspiration to humans since time immemorial, which is why images of animals are so often used as adornment on bags, wallets and purses. Bags are also produced in the form of animals.  

  • Leather handbag, Annemarie of France, France, the 1940s (20th century)

    Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli caused a stir in the 1930s with her surrealistic fashion accessories and bags. From the 1940s, the designers Enid Collins and Anne-Marie of France started designing striking bags.

  • Leather handbag with a working telephone, Dallas Handbags, USA, the 1980s

    The telephone bag is the predecessor of the mobile phone. The difference is that the telephone bag has to be plugged into a telephone socket. A lot of zany bag models came out of the USA after the Second World War.

  • Clutch in the shape of a magazine, Hong Kong, the 1970s (20th Century)

    The clutch in the shape of a magazine was a real fashion hype in the 1970s. Today, the same types of clutches with images of modern-day magazines are being produced.

  • Evening bag, "Socks", Judith Leiber, USA, 1996

    'Socks' is named after the Clinton family’s cat. Judith Leiber was born in Budapest, where she studied bag making. In 1947 she emigrated with her American husband Gerson Leiber to the United States. In 1963 she founded the Judith Leiber Company, supported by her husband. The company was sold off in 1998. 

  • Evening bag adorned with crystals, "Diet Coke Can", Kathrine Baumann, USA, 2007

    ’If it makes you smile, it’s my bag,’ according to the designer Kathrine Baumann. In 1988 she launched the brand Kathrine Baumann Beverly Hills, known for its exclusive bags. She also designs richly imaginative minaudières, which are worn by celebrities on the red carpet, and which have given Kathrine the name of the 'Queen of Hollywood’s Red Carpet'. 

  • Embroidered evening bag, Gerard Tremolet, Studio Lesage, France, 1988

    This bag was designed by Studio Lesage. This most famed and oldest embroidery atelier in Paris has worked for many designers and fashion houses since 1858. In 2002 Studio Lesage was taken over by Chanel but it does not work exclusively for this fashion house.

  • Leather handbag with sunflower, Braccialini, Italy, 2009

    Italian designer Carla Braccialini started designing her exclusive leather bags in 1954. Her bags distinguish themselves through their creativity, form and colour. They radiate passion and personality as well as elegance and femininity.

  • Raffia handbag, embroidered, "Beach House", Beverly Feldman, USA, 2003

    The American Beverly Feldman designs unique, bright and breezy shoes and bags. Her collections are not based on fashion trends but are classic in design. She does not make articles for the masses. Her mantra is 'glamour and comfort for a reasonable price'.

  • Handbag made from braided plastic reed, USA, the 1950s

    For centuries now, natural products such as straw, reed and wood have been used to make implements or to decorate them. In the 1950s and ‘60s, bags and baskets made of plastic became fashionable as imitations of natural materials.

  • Leather handbag, Jan Jansen, Netherlands, 2007

    This handbag was donated by the shoe designer Jan Jansen on the occasion of the opening of the Museum of Bags and Purses on the Herengracht in 2007.

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The Museum of Bags and Purses is a private museum generating its own income through donations from the public. Please support the museum by donating or by becoming a friend.

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The collection

The museum shows the history of the Western ladies bag from the late Middle Ages to present day. The collection tells stories of social developments and styles in the applied arts and fashion through the centuries.

Timeline Highlights from the collection