History Of Bags: The Origin Of The Greatest Bags In History

Balenciaga - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Balenciaga & It’s evolution
Balenciaga Handbag

We often go to a bag shop to get bags that complement our clothes. However, we rarely wonder how the tradition of carrying handbags, purses or even wallets began when we shop for bags.

Handbags and purses have their ancestry in early pouches that were used to hold money, personal items, seeds, medicine, religious items and so much more.

Right from the earliest phase of civilization, people started using bags and purses on a daily basis. It wasn’t reserved for women; men used handbags as well. The main reason why bags and purses were prevalent was that clothes had not yet equipped with pockets.

We can know how the earliest bags looked from the paintings, tapestries, few archival handbags and prints found at the museum. These bags are extremely rare because they were often made out of perishable materials.

Purses and bags were made for several purposes and came in a conglomeration of designs. There were leather purses, pouches that had drawstring and bags with clasps. However, there were a few shoulder bags that were typically attached to the girdle of the owner.

It wasn’t until the 16th century that pockets of the were introduced. This eventually led to a decline in the number of men who used purses and bags. Men began to rely on their pockets to move personal items around. During the 17th century, men completely stopped using the bags and purses. Bags and purses became exclusively for women.

New designs began to emerge during the 16th century. Women began to wear their purses on a chatelaine. A chatelaine is a hook on which small utensils were attached. Things like knife cases, keys, scissors, and even sewing tools were kept on the chatelaine. This chatelaine was considered as a status symbol or jewelry because it was usually made with precious metals.

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With time, the adornments and design of the chatelaine advanced. At the genesis of the 20th century, however, the handbags finally replaced the chatelaine.

Through the 17-18 and the early part of the 19 centuries, most female clothing were made with one or two pockets. These clothes were made in such a way that women could easily keep personal effects right beneath their skirts without anyone noticing. These unique pockets were typically worn in pairs. One piece would hang from the right hip while the other would hang from the left hip.

These were eventually generally recognized as thigh pockets. These thigh pockets continued to trend for most of the 19th century.

With a new era, came new bags (1800 – 1900 A.D.)

The discovery of the legendary Roman city of Pompeii in the 18th century led to a proliferation of Roman and Grecian cultures. This included female fashion.

Apart from the discovery of Pompeii, the Classicism movement also had a serious influence on women’s fashion around the world. The method of designing dresses changed. The waistline was moved upwards, and dresses were made straight. Under these new dresses, there was no allowance for thigh bags.

Women began to put their personal effects inside reticules. This was the first ever handbag, and it was typically carried on a chain or cord. These reticules were 100% handmade from different types of fabric. In most cases, the women who used these reticules made them themselves.

During the industrial revolution in the 19th century, several manufacturing methods developed. Materials like papier-mâché, polished steel and iron emerged and were used for bag production bringing about the birth of modern designs and models of bags.

Advanced bags were invented for the 19th-century traveler. The invention of these new bags made travelling easier by railway and boat. The hand luggage used for railway travel were the forerunner of today’s handbags. Although these carrier bags were made for travel, it was also used for shopping.

Present day handbags (1900 A.D.)

Art and fashion movements came and left in a rapid alteration in the 20th century leading to the advancement of handbags. Women could easily buy handbags from any bag shop. Although the women emancipation had the greatest influence in the streamlining of handbags.

Day in day out, more women gained employment and their mobility greatly influenced their need for handbags. Before long, there were handbag wholesale shops at every city. These handbag wholesale shops usually had a bag lady who was responsible for guiding retailers on the latest trend. These retailers, in turn, sold these handbags in their handbag shops were any woman who shopped for bags could easily get them.

Different sorts or bags were made for different purposes to meet the growing needs of women around the world. Leather document cases were meant for going to work, and plastic daytime bags were made for walking and visiting. Also, elegant sparkling bags model, were used in the evenings; perhaps for an outing with a mate.

At the peak of the 20th century, branding became necessary. This was when the greatest bag designers began to emerge. They began to storm the world with their stunning, top notch, and unique bags. Manufacturers like; Gucci, Prada, Hermès and Louis Vuitton focused on leather ware.

The legendary fashion designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Dior, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Donna Karan elevated the status of handbags from just an optional aid, to an important accessory that was necessary to complete dressing.

Unlike in past centuries, designers no longer remain in one fashion for long, rather, they change from season to season, with each new design sending its predecessor out of the market.

An election for bag enthusiasts

So if someone was to ask you; which is the most powerful chic bag of the year 2016, what would you say?

This is no joke. Make a choice today and let the entire world hear your fashion voice. This is the latest era of all It bag. In the spirit of style and the spirit of fashion democracy. We are holding our chic bag election, and our aim is to crown the #ItBag2016. Your vote counts; which one of this stunning bags do you think deserve to be graced with the title?

We know it can be a rather difficult, considering the fact that all the legendary purse designers always have a way of capturing the heart of all bag lovers.

Before you go through our list and fling your vote, it’s important that you know the forerunners of the present generation with our convoy to chic bag history.

The idea of “having everything” and the substance that grant status will always be in flux. Some time ago in the bounteous twenties, the flapper coveted a fiber of pearls and the amazing digits of a definite bootlegger; the mink coat led the It bag matron of the fifties.

However, since the genesis of the nineties, (the revolution of fashion and the now booming luxury industry) the chicest bag has been the elegant arm candy. At one point, all It bags were described as that essential accessory that made a statement for you.

So if you were asked to choose, which would it be? Which bag would have the honor of being named the chicest bag in history? Note that it’s no one on our list is more superior than the other. All ten have a unique look. Bag and purse enthusiasts usually go for any of not all of these legendary bags.

So before you step into a bag store or place an order from any online handbag shop, make sure you know exactly what you want.

It’s time to cast the most important fashion vote of the year.

The 17 most powerful, chic purses in modern day(2016); study carefully and make your choice.

1. Gucci

Gucci - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Gucci & It’s evolution
Gucci Handbags

Name: Jackie

DOB: the 1950s

Namesake: In 1961, Gucci decided to rename the chic bag Jackie. The elegant bag was named after the beautiful fashion loving president’s wife who adored it.

Backstory: The It bag used to be unisex. In the year 1999, it was launched for the second time by Tom Ford, and re-launched by Frida Gianni as the New Jackie sometime in 2009.

2. Hermès

Hermes - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Hermes & It’s evolution
Hermes Handbags

Name: Birkin

DOB: in the year 1984

Namesake: Jane Birkin, an ever trendy English chanteuse and actress who happily exchanged well known Birkin Basket for the elegant coveted satchel.

Origins: Birkin sat adjacent to Hermès Jean Dumas during a trip, and their conversation made her realize her need for a spacious carrier. This need led to the creation of the Birkin, which bears some resemblance to the house’s HAC bag, which was originally created around the year 1900.

3. Prada

Prada - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Prada & It’s evolution
Prada Backpack

Name: Prada Backpack

DOB: in the year 1984

Designer name: Miuccia Prada

Facts: it was launched in the year 1984 in a classy “heavy weight nylon which was used mostly for military marquees,” Vogue later stated that the timeless piece advanced into its most ideal design in the year 1987.

Soundbite: “I always want to merge the new techniques and designs with the old.” Prada said in an interview with The New Yorker in the year 1990.

4. Christian Dior

Christian Dior - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Christian Dior & It’s evolution
Christian Dior Handbag

Name: Lady Dior

DOB: in the year 1995

Namesake: Princess Diana

Backstory: the chic and elegant Princess of Wales was given the beautiful cane-crafted handbag as a present from the wife of a one time French President, Bernadette Chirac.

5. Fendi

Fendi - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Fendi & It’s evolution
Fendi Handbag

Name: Baguette

DOB: in the year 1997

Designer: Silvia Fendi

Namesake: this is a delicate shoulder bag that derives its name from the French bread baguette and can be carried around just as easily as the French loaf.

Claim to fame: the bag had its breakthrough after it was glamorized in a movie.

Stats: it was rumored that more 100,000 pieces were sold in the debut year of Sex & the City.

Soundbite: “It was silly, It is the only bag that has ever handled like an actual garment.” Fendi said to Vogue

6. Balenciaga

Balenciaga - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Balenciaga & It’s evolution
Balenciaga Handbag

Name: The City

DOB: 2000

Purse designer name: Nicolas Ghesquière

History: In 2000, Nicolas introduced the bag. The bag was eventually followed months later by The City. After this was the elegant top handle bag that style enthusiasts like Kate Moss and Sienna Miller loved.

Soundbite: “It was indeed a new thing, but seemed new.” The designer stated in an interview.

7. Chanel

Chanel - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Chanel & It’s evolution
Chanel Handbag

Name: 2.55

DOB: born in February 1955; reawakened in 2005

Purse designer names: Coco Chanel & Karl Lagerfeld

Backstory: the name derives its origin from its date of creation . There is just as much myth about this chain-held bag as there is about Coco Chanel. The lining fabric is said to accurately emulate the school uniforms Coco used to wear at her Christian school. The uniform’s hidden pocket, is where many believe Coco stored love letters.

8. Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Louis Vuitton & It’s evolution
Louis Vuitton Bag

Name: The Graffiti

DOB: in the year 2000

Artist: Stephen Sprouse acting for Vuitton Louise

Soundbite: Marc Jacobs authorized Sprouse’s graffiti and described the bag’s style to Vogue as a reversed twist on snobbism.

9. Luella

Luella - Origin & History Of top handbag brand Luella & It’s evolution
Luella Handbag

Name: Gisele

DOB: in the year 2002

Purse designer names: Luella Bartley along side Stuart Vevers for the legendary Mulberry

Namesake: the tall, stunning Brazilian supermodel, that happily anchored Luella’s show graced the event with the elegant bag with beautiful love-shaped ornaments which were just as large as her coat dress was skimpy. The Gisele garnered attention for the brand, which soon after had another winning design with the Bayswater.

Sound bite: the funny thing is that the name “was actually a crazy accident,” Bartley said “The media went crazy, and since then the name Giselle stuck —I did not plan it, no one did. I had to literally write her an apology, explaining that I didn’t plan on using her name; and that it was all a coincidence. Personally I feel any model, would be pretty excited to have a top notch bag bearing her name.

10. Louis Vuitton

Name: The Murakami

DOB: in the year 2002

Artist: Takashi Louis Vuitton

Facts: Murakami was responsible for re-creating Louis Vuitton’s exclusive monogram in up to 33 diverse colors.

Backstory: thirteen models of the same kawaii bag were invited for the show in the same pattern of the Monogram Multicolored canvas.

Soundbite: Jacob described his alliance with Murakami as more or less “an exceptional merger of art and commerce.”

11. Chloé

Name: Paddington

DOB: in the year 2004

Designer: Phoebe Philo

Stats: This 3lb bag got its name from a major commercial area in London. Did you know that 8,000 bags made for spring in 2005 but all 8,000 sold out even before they could make it to bag stores.

12. Marc Jacobs

Name: Stam

DOB: in the year 2005

Designer: Marc Jacobs

Namesake: Stam Jessica is the model from Canada who was found at a pastry shop.

Stat: the demand for the quilt covered, chain-adorned bag was so fierce that the waiting lists had to be sealed.

Sound bite: “I had no clue that this project would be so successful,” the designer later said in an interview.

13. Proenza Schouler

Name: PS1

DOB: in the year 2008

Inventors: Jack McCullough & Lazaro Hernandez

Namesake: the logo was crafted from the brand and also the naming system public schools (New York City) which is quite suitable for the elegant bag.

14. Alexander Wang

Name: Coco ( Rocco FAF)

DOB: in the year 2009

Designer: Alexander Wang

Big debut: Bag enthusiast, Olsen Mary-Kate graced her dressing with the stud embellished bag before it appeared in any store.

15. Céline

Name: Luggage Tote Bag

DOB: in the year 2009

Designer: Phoebe Philo

Fans: Philophiles has made the top notch spacious, structured tote number one on every retailer’s wish list.

Soundbite: Philo said that she made the bag as a legitimate part of “a dresser, a virtual ABC of every outfit.” “I believe I design most things for the present,” The grip of my lucidity is responsible for my unique and impressive collections. “

16. Mulberry

Name: Alexa

DOB: in the year 2009

Designer: Emma Hill

Namesake: The bag actually got its name from celebrity, Alexa Chung.

Backstory: the designer said that she found inspiration in a magazine picture of Chung holding a Mulberry briefcase for men.

17. The Row

Name: Alligator Backpack

DOB: in the year 2011

Designers: the Olsen twins, Mary Kate and Ashley.

LORE: this one is a combination of functionality and luxury. This bag is made of the most superior grade skin you’ll find and is lined in leather. It made headlines because of its price tag; a whopping $34,000. Every one of the hand-crafted bag has an individual number.

The variation of handbag and purse designs by legendary purse designers keep getting bigger and even more unique. Current trends are in the direction of cloth and monogrammed bags. The impressive looking dog bags have also become popular among celebrities.

The 21st-century trend is not the initial backpack style and but more of oversized handbags. Most women are interested in more dashing handbags that can be used as briefcases, laptop cases, handbags, and even as a baby bag. The bigger bags meet all of these needs. They can accommodate all of the stuff you need. However, size doesn’t really matter in fashion as long as the accessories fit properly.

The downside of carrying a big bag is that these bags are usually heavily loaded. The weight can affect a woman’s back, her neck and even her shoulders.

Even though bags started as an aid to men and women, it eventually evolved and has practically become a fashion statement for every woman of style. An outfit is considered incomplete without a handbag, a purse or even a chic wallet. Use any one you like, the point is that it makes a statement.

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  1. This is such an interesting topic – one I have never thought of before. I used to have a bit of an obsession with buying bags while I lived overseas. I was near London so all of the brands were in my face and super tempting all the time. haha I really love the Gisele Luella bag you spoke of here!

  2. My favourite is the Gucci and the fendi bag. It is fascinating to see more about the history behind accessories like bags and how in some eras they were a symbol x

  3. I love your history of purses. Although being a guy, the only one on this list I could even see myself wearing and being able to hold my head up the next day would be the Prada bag. Does that make me the devil? I don’t know.

  4. The only iconic bag that comes to my mind is Mary Poppins bag! Oh to have a bag like that and for it to be lightweight too – dreaming 🙂

  5. Bag aren’t really something that I would spend a lot on, if it were shoes, I wouldn’t mind. I think these are all lovely though. I usually go for something that’s large enough to fit all the things that I need. I got used to getting huge bags when I had the twins.

  6. Balenciaga is more of my style. I really like that kind of bag. I think it’s awesome to learn more about the history of handbags though. I love something that’s functional and stylish!

  7. This is so interesting and fun to learn about. I buy Coach handbags when I want to reward myself but that’s the most extreme I’ll spend for one. I admire them from afar though ha.

  8. Invest in Hermes bags than in stocks because its value raise up easily and there is a rare chance of depreciating (unless its ruin).

  9. I just started collecting designer handbags two years ago and now I cannot even look at a fake one. It almost seems sacrilegious to call them bags.

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