An irreplaceable attribute of femininity
A woman’s handbag is one of the most indispensable and distinctive accessories in the female fashion world. Regardless of shape, size or style, handbags have accompanied women for centuries, storing not only essential items, but also secrets, dreams and stories. So let’s trace the history of the women’s handbag to understand how it evolved and became an indispensable part of a woman’s closet.
Antiquity and the Middle Ages
The first references to women’s handbags date back to ancient civilizations. In ancient Egypt, women carried small purses shaped like pouches, made of natural materials such as animal skin or cloth. They were primarily practical, serving to carry cosmetics, perfumes, amulets and other essential items.
As time passed, handbags began to gain popularity in various cultures around the world. In ancient Rome, women carried handbags called “loculus,” made of silk or leather and hung from long straps. They were decorated with beautiful embroidery and ornaments.
In medieval times, women’s handbags took the form of bags, which were worn at the hip or hung from a belt. They were usually decorated with embroidery, gold threads or stones. An important issue regarding women’s handbags in those days was their social status. Rich women often had handbags made of luxurious materials and decorated with precious stones.
Renaissance and Baroque
During the Renaissance, women’s handbags gained in elegance and finesse. Noteworthy were handbags in the form of pouches or pouches to be held in the hand. They were often made of silk, and were decorated with gold threads and embroidery. In the Baroque, handbags took on more elaborate forms, with rich ornamentation and shapes inspired by architecture and nature.
19th and early 20th century
With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and social changes, women’s handbags began to evolve. Produced on a larger scale, they became more accessible to women from different social classes. In the 1920s, handbags grew in popularity with the development of a new lifestyle, full of energy and freedom, called Art Deco style. That’s when handbags with zippers also appeared, making them easier to use.
Modern and contemporary
In the 1950s and 1960s, women’s handbags were strongly associated with fashion icons such as Coco Chanel and Hermès. Designers introduced different styles of handbags, such as clutch bags, chain handbags and list purses. Handbags began to express individual style and taste.
Today, women’s handbags take countless forms, from shopper bags to shoulder bags, backpacks, clutch bags, trunks and bags. The materials they are made of have also evolved, from natural fabrics to leather to modern plastics. With the development of technology, smart bags are also appearing, equipped with built-in phone chargers or anti-theft systems.
The history of women’s handbags is a story not only of fashion, but also of women’s changing roles and aspirations. From the practical purses of ancient Egyptian women to modern designer handbags, this iconic part of a woman’s closet has invariably accompanied women, storing both their everyday items and personal memories. The women’s handbag is a sign of individuality, style and elegance, and its history is constantly evolving, along with the needs and changing world of women.