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The Marquise de Pompadour, Coco Chanel, Grace Kelly, Jane Birkin and many other iconic figures of their time had an interesting feature: they stood at the origins of the fashion for some things and accessories - and in particular, bags. The very ones that have been known to mankind since ancient times, when their appearance, perhaps, was also subject to some fashion trends - in imitation of the then celebrities.
What were the bags of the long past
It is not difficult to assume that objects in which it would be convenient to carry other objects should have appeared at the dawn of mankind. And the finds of archaeologists confirm this idea: the first bags were made no later than four and a half millennia ago.
Of course, then this thing had more functional meaning - but who knows? In any case, already in Ancient Egypt and other states of the ancient world, bags and handbags were made for the most high-ranking officials, and even for the pharaohs, not only drawings and bas-reliefs, but also the artifacts found in tombs themselves serve as confirmation.
Medieval men carried coins in leather pouches that they attached to their belts, while women hid such purses in the folds of their clothes, apparently to avoid being robbed on the city streets. These wallets were made of leather or burlap. The bags in which the prayer books were carried were embroidered with gold or silver threads.
At the time of the Renaissance, much more importance was attached to the appearance of bags, they were made from expensive fabrics - silk and velvet - and decorated with beads and precious stones.
French fashion for bags
Thanks to the tailors of the French king Louis XIV, men stopped carrying bags - instead, they used pockets that were first sewn for his Majesty's clothes - so the story goes. But from the life of French women, and Europeans in general, bags have not disappeared anywhere - on the contrary, they have become even more refined than before, gradually turning into objects of art - however, only among the upper classes, because ordering or buying such an accessory was not a pleasure from cheap.
In the 18th century, the contents of the bags were rather limited, and therefore the products themselves were small. In addition to coins, ladies' accessories necessary for the ball were also carried in the bag - perfume, a ball-book, a mirror, a snuff-box. Binoculars and a fan fell into the theatrical handbags. Of course, fashion could not but invade this area of human life, and one of its legislators was Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, the famous Marquise de Pompadour. In addition to the many things that bear her name to this day, she gave the world pompadour handbags, soft fabric bags tied with a drawstring.
But the real "bag boom" began after the French Revolution, when at the end of the 18th century everything changed in the state - including fashion for clothes and fashion for accessories. Dresses become tight-fitting, and in their folds it is no longer possible to hide the old type of handbags that were attached to the belt. The so-called "retikules" with a long silk cord became popular, they were put on the hand. Pretty soon the name turned into "reticule" - that is, "funny".
If earlier each bag was made by a master by hand, then from the middle of the 19th century factories for the production of bags began to appear. Among them are the legendary companies Hermes and Louis Vuitton. Now locks appear on the bags, replacing the previously used straps that tighten the edges of the bag, and already in the 20th century, in 1923, a convenient zipper closure was finally invented for the bag.
XX century: such different bags
Fashion in the XX century was influenced by various factors - primarily the First and Second World Wars, which shifted the emphasis from the aesthetic component of the appearance of bags to their functionality and practicality. At the same time, after the Second World War, fashion turned to the most feminine, luxurious items - among them were handbags, which now screamed with all their appearance about the carelessness of their owners and their desire to return to the pre-war lifestyle., already in vogue in the twenties and thirties. Clutches - small handbags-envelopes - were sewn from expensive and high-quality materials, and were worn clasped in the palm of the hand or held under the arm.
A real sensation was created in 1955 by the Chanel bag, which the Great Mademoiselle Coco sewed according to her own plan and for herself. This bag was equipped with a chain that could be thrown over the shoulder - quite a revolutionary move, because the previous models had to be held with your hands. Chanel's brainchild was named 2.55 - this did not hide a mysterious code, but meant only the month and year of creation - February 1955.
It is not surprising that the main engine of fashion and sales was the images of celebrities coming out in the press who preferred a particular model. The more charismatic and popular the owner was, the more attractive the bag itself acquired. This happened in 1956 with the one worn by the Princess of Monaco and the American actress Grace Kelly: a large Hermes bag that perfectly hid the signs of the princess's pregnancy. The bag instantly became famous, and this model is still called "Kelly" and sells for a very impressive amount.
Another famous bag from the same company was made for the actress. Jane Birkin, who is believed to have once flown in a plane next door to a Hermes executive. It was to him that Jane told about her difficulties with choosing a suitable leather bag for walking, which is why she had to use a wicker basket.