The V&A Museum has released further details of its upcoming exhibition focusing on bags, with items including Margaret Thatcher's iconic grey Asprey handbag going on display.
While luxury leather goods brand Mulberry sponsors the exhibition, it's not all about high-end handbags. The exhibition focuses on our long-standing obsession with bags of all types, and Thatcher's arm candy isn't the only 'celebrity' item to feature in the exhibition.
Winston Churchill’s despatch box and a Queen Mary's second world war gas mask bag are among the historical items to ogle.
Of course, there's plenty for fashion fans to mull over too, including a Fendi 'Baguette' bag worn by fashion-forward actress Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City. Innovative designs from Mulberry and Karl Lagerfeld, a Hermès 'Kelly' named in honour of Grace Kelly and a 'Lady Dior' handbag named after Princess Diana all help to chart the rise of the 'It bag' phenomenon.
The exhibition is split into three sections — Function, Status & Identity, and Design and Making — covering the whole life span of a bag, from factory to shop, and from status symbol to practical item. Find out how the purpose of a bag — be it carrying make-up, confidential documents or holiday clothes — is reflected in its design.
There's also an insight into the design process of a bag, from sketch to sample. Discover how the different materials and skills from different parts of the world have influenced the style of individual fashion houses.
Thatcher's handbag is one of many items to portray the bag as symbol of power, while slogan bags such as Anya Hindmarch's 'I am NOT a Plastic Bag’ tote depict the use of bags as a blank canvas for sharing opinions.
The exhibition finishes with a look to the future, showcasing designers who are experimenting with innovative and environmentally sustainable materials. See a Stella McCartney backpack made from recycled ocean plastic waste and a bag crafted from decommissioned fire hoses by Elvis and Kresse.
The 300+ objects on display range in size from tiny fingertip purses to huge travel trunks, and in date from the 16th century to the present day.
Bags: Inside Out is at the V&A Museum, 25 April 2020-1 January 2021. Tickets, from £12, go on sale in early 2020.