The bag for a woman is much more than a simple accessory, it contains everything we need, it keeps our secrets, it represents a part of ourselves, it defines and embellishes ourselves.
Designers from all over the world combine colors, designs, different materials proposing constantly updated models…it’s about fashion.
Generally, the creation of a model rather than another has much deeper origins than the “taste of the designer”. It is often a combination of many factors in every culture which influence designers: the needs of women, the available materials in the area, the culture, the social structure, even the climate throughout history have influenced the design of the bags.
The evolution of the bag has brought to light clutch bags, handbags, shoulder bags, shopping bags, different colors and materials, today for every occasion it is important to choose the right bag; this is why every woman’s wardrobe often contains an indefinite number of purses.
Where did all this passion for the bag come from? Something which became so essential for us women.
The bag was born as a male accessory.
Some of you will surely be surprised, but it is the truth.
The purse has a very ancient history even if it is not well documented, most likely its origins are even dating back to prehistoric times. There are those who claim that it was born with money, it was assumed it was a comfortable and portable bag for purely male use.
In ancient Greek civilization the currency was widespread and perhaps it is no coincidence that the root of the word purse derives from the Greek word “byrsa” which means leather. Increasing the circulation of money began to spread rapidly and were born variants that we know with the Latin names: the “zone” to wear in the belt, the “crumena” to put on the shoulder, the “manticula” that was held in hand.
The first true testimony of a purse having the role of fashion accessory dates back to medieval times, when the noblewomen began to embellish those simple bags with elegant embroidery and jewelry, especially to accentuate their social status and to reflect the comfort and wealth that was being lived.
Generally, these purses were tied and worn to the belt to hold all the things that the ladies needed.
In the following centuries little has been seen for women’s bags, since they wore very large and voluminous clothes made up of numerous layers and several pockets where they could store everything they needed, which therefore stopped the evolution of our much-loved bag.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries pockets were created for women. Large pockets separated by clothes that were tied under the skirt. The inside of the pockets was very similar to that of our current purses and it was used to store everything women needed. You can see these ancient pockets by visiting the V Museum in London. The pockets contained: perfume, handkerchiefs and keys just like a normal handbag.
Around the nineteenth century the “reticule” became widespread and became a fashionable symbol, a small handbag decorated inside which one could store a few essential objects because of the very limited dimensions. The fashion at that time provided for the use of thin-waisted dresses and for this reason the pockets had been the undisputed protagonists of the previous century could no longer be applied.
The term of bag was first coined at the beginning of the 20th century, but was initially used to refer to men’s leather bags.
In 1920 the first real women’s bag was born.
As time went by women began to move more and more independently, the purse became a real symbol of female emancipation and above all with the growth of women’s activities. Women began to go out and travel alone accompanied by this new status symbol that allowed them to move around the world bringing with them everything they needed, autonomous and without the help of a companion, who unlike previous eras used to accompany them.