Why do we love handbags so much?

What sacrifices would you have to make to afford a Chloe Marcie Medium Satchel Bag, all butter-soft leather, and a hefty $2,788.00?

If you ate beans on toast for a month, could you stretch to Saint Laurent Monogram Satin Small Wallet-On-Chain Bag, Black $1,394.00

The It-Bag is the ultimate 21st- century object of desire, not just for supermodels and celebutantes, but for all of us.

These days many of us are prepared to spend more on a handbag than a holiday or even a car - and we want the rest of the world to know it. Come on you know who you are ;)

Clothes on the catwalk regularly take second place to this most covetable of accessories - a trend borne when Kate Moss starred in Longchamp's bag campaign, lying naked on a beach, except for her Longchamp handbag.

But why do women find bags so desirable? It's partly because they've become a unique outward statement of a woman's status, fashion savvy and earning power - and the rising popularity of handbags over the past 100 years has followed the increasing social independence of their owners.

Two hundred years ago, a woman's role was largely domestic and she would keep her belongings in a purse tucked into the folds of her clothes.

But as women started leaving the home, both for leisure and work, bags became a useful way of carrying their possessions.

Rail and sea travel caused an explosion in the popularity of fashionable luggage such as suitcases, dressing cases, hat and shoe boxes - out of which the modern leather handbag developed.

It's no accident that many of today's most luxurious handbag design houses, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Hermes, originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as travel became more common. Then, as women gained financial independence, so the handbag industry flourished out of all proportion to its humble origins.

But the way the right bag can make us feel goes far deeper than just being a way of carrying things around. Take the Marni Clutch for example. I love carrying this bag around. It's feels luxurious, captures attention where ever I take it, and the golden lambskin lining feels just like wearing sexy underwear! (Here take a peek of what the Marni clutch it looks like).

Marni Handbag Clutch


So there, the handbag is both revealing and concealing, it also represents something deeply private to its owner.

This stems largely from the fact that the handbag was originally developed from a silk purse or pocket worn next to the skin for safety. In times gone by pockets were classed almost as items of underwear - secret places hidden under sumptuous material and reached by a slit in the skirt.

These almost risque; connotations remained when the first prototype handbags were developed in the late 18th century in the form of reticules - exquisitely embroidered, handled pouches in damask, satin and velvet, in which a woman would could carry cosmetics, a fan for flirtation, smelling salts and cartes de visite, all without compromising the slim-line fit of the newly fashionable Empire-line dresses.

These days, although they no longer have a racy reputation, they have lost none of their sex appeal and this is probably because the bag remains an accessory that is still very closely associated with all of our most intimate possessions.

 A bag contains our survival kit for daily life in the urban jungle - from mobile phone, tampons, make-up, money and keys, to hair straighteners, laptops, chewing gum, condoms or a change of clothes.

Nikki Williams  Harvie Leather Pouch

As a result, its mystique remains intact: many men find the complexities of what women carry in a handbag thrillingly obscure and would never dare to invade its privacy.

Most women would feel naked without their handbags. And, as clothes become ever more streamlined and minimalist, it is in your choice of bag that you can make sure you stand out from the crowd.

What all of these "must-have" handbags share are clear, clean lines - nothing fussy or over-designed - and a combination of functionality and luxury, whether it's the soft quilting of the 2.55, the handcrafted stitching of the Kelly or the finest leather of the Roxanne. I have embodies this into my designs but also created a signature style of my own. The current collection of bags all feature knotted braided leather, a detail I absolutely love and know that it truly unique. You won't find a bag like the Marni or the Harvie anywhere else. 

Harvie Clutch Handbag Designer by Nikki Williams


I also believe that quality and craftsmanship are important. A bag needs to look as good decades later as it did the day it was first worn. That's why I search the globe for the best leathers I can find (you can read more about my search here). And, for a true bag-lover, that is almost beyond price.



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