Introduction to Designer Handbags, Early to 19th Century
It is said that the evolution of handbag
style, goes hand in hand with the style consciousness of the women
using it. When the role of women in each society evolved, the handbag
as a utilitarian item has evolved and adapted to their changing circumstances.
The first emergence of the modern women's handbag was in the
beginning of the 20th century. But the first mention of a rudimentary
form of hand bag was from written literature from the 14th century,
even though it is believed that hieroglyphs of the Egyptian period
showed pouches carried around the waist. These were adorned with
Embroidery and jewels and were used to show status - the richer the
person; the more elaborate the bag in terms of jewels and designs.
In the 16th century, handbags were more of practicality with the
usage of everyday materials such as leather
of high quality with a drawstring fastener on top. Also during
this period, bags made of cloth were also used that were made larger
and used mostly by travelers and carried in a diagonal fashion across
the body. In the 17th century handbags came with more variety and
both fashionable women and men carried small purses with more complex shapes.
In the 18th century wearing a purse would ruin the look of the
clothing designs of these period so fashionable ladies started
carrying their handbags which were known as reticules. Women had a
different reticule for every occasion and each fashion designer had
arguments on the proper carrying of these purses. In most reticules
one would find face powder, rouge, a Chinese fan, visiting cards,
scent bottle, a card case, and smelling salts.
The term of "handbag"
first came into use in the early periods of 1900's and they were
generally referred to as hand-held luggage bags most usually carried
by men. These became an inspiration for new bags that became
popularized for women, including handbags
with complicated internal compartments, fasteners, and locks.