I think my fixations at the purse museum are pretty predictable to be honest; I homed in on the luggage/travel-related paraphernalia, and the borrowed exoticisms and souvenirs. Neither of the types of (very much NOT high-end) purse that I tend to collect were presented in the collection, but the themes were there. First of all, luggage nostalgia:
Vintage leather suitcases, complete with brass keys and other people’s initials, are stacked above her wardrobe. “I don’t know any of these people,” she said, “but I love the idea of their stories, of the lives we might have witnessed but didn’t.”And that is part of the real and potential further resonance of this collection. The impact of Schiaparelli's SS Normandie clutch lies not just in the astonishing translation of a monumental ship's prow into a personal accessory, with all the surrealist wit, marketing precision and wider design shifts that entails, but in the simple caption that tells us that one was handed to every first class passenger on the maiden voyage.
A bag is often most magnetic when it is not an empty vessel, but a vehicle for a bundle of personal histories, aspirations and nostalgic obsessions.
To be continued...