Sunday, August 31, 2014

Amsterdam: Museum of Purses and Bags and Travel Bags Special Exhibit

Many women are crazy about bags and some would go to great lengths making a personal collection of luxury bags at home. I find this quite preposterous but that is just me. But yeah, whatever rocks our boat right.

I do like having nice, quality and sometimes expensive bags but it’s not something that occupies my mind the whole time. The whole idea behind collecting is just macabre actually. Because this means the person has an object of desire. When someone collects things, there is bound to be an emotional attachment (of course to varying degrees) and a sense of fulfillment in acquiring the object(s) and having these in a safe place. I find it daunting to be chained to this sentimental fascination with a material thing. But I have to admit that it did cross my mind to buy these luxurious babies.

Chanel 2.55 bag and Chanel No. 5 parfum. Coco Chanel was a kept woman, to two rich men who are friends (Balsan, a French ex-military and wealthy socialite and Capel, an English man with noble background), who both financed her business at different stages. It was Capel however who funded her growing business at Rue Cambon.

Museum of Purses and Bags
Website: Tassenmuseum | Museum of Purses and Bags

In April, Blondine, her mom and moi visited this museum in the centre of Amsterdam. Because this is a visit with three intentions, we first did the first two intentions based on accessibility: Barbie's 50th anniversary exhibit on the ground floor and the High Tea in the period room on the first floor. After this, we proceeded to visit the purse museum upstairs. The exhibit is located on the second floor and follows a chronological order, based on time and history. It is very interesting to learn how the purse evolved into the bag of today.

TRIVIA: Did you know that Coco Chanel first introduced the shoulder bag in the 1920s with the Chanel 2.55 bag? Before the introduction of this bag with a gold chain worn over the shoulder, all women carry their bags in their hands or arms. Chanel introduced a much more functional way of carrying a bag which paved way for ideas in design and function.

I learned the shoulder bag history from her biography film though and not from the museum.

A few celebrity and famous people’s bags were on exhibit such as the Philippine’s Imelda Marcos and her bag made from indigenous Filipino materials and Madonna’s green floral textile bag. The museum is not really big and I was expecting to see more bags really. I think the purse museum could make use of bag donations from filthy rich people, world famous celebrities and (luxury) bag designers themselves as well.

 This is a goat's leather belt pouch with iron frame and with 18 pockets some behind secret closures. This bag was worn on a belt. 16th century, France. Can you imagine 18 pockets? You really need to have good memory to remember which pocket you stored a particular coin.

This is the first messenger bag, which is meant to deliver post and whatnots.

Travelling leather bags and luggage. I see the popular doctor's bag in there as well.

These are small purses through history but they keep coming back in our generations today in much more modern designs and hardware. 

Imelda Marcos, the Philippine's First Lady during the Marcos regime. Everyone knows her for her thousands of pairs of shoes. But she was also a bag collector, er I mean hoarder.

Madonna's floral green bag. I tell you, I find this hideous. I hope she did not have matching shoes as well?

The iconic Dior handbag in the 1960s, France.

This is on the second floor of the museum and the staircase. It is a lovely period style house. To see the rest of interior of this museum, please click the Barbie and High Tea link above.

Special Exhibit: Travel Bags

There was also a special exhibition of travel bags and luggage featuring a few items owned by Prince Bernhard, the husband of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands (previously Queen Beatrix who abdicated the throne last year in favour for her eldest son, King Willem-Alexander).

Very funny as well to see how people travel back then with a whole cabinet! Louis Vuitton pioneered the luxury luggage cabinets, and you have the practical Samsonite later on emerging in the travel bags scene, which was really named after the strong man Samson in the Bible =)

TRIVIA: Did you know that back in 1800 only ONE PERCENT of the world population could travel as tourists?

Here are the rest of the FACTS and FIGURES regarding travel:

Farmers feared that the steam train would upset the cows and reduce milk production? OMG, haha! And in the future tourists will travel to outer space and stay in hotels beneath the sea. Well this is already done in our generation. We have had space tourists and hotels under the sea.

A rich man's vanity set luggage.

Some picnic stuff and the cabinet luggage by Louis Vuitton =)

More stuff here from Louis Vuitton.

This is a travel briefcase of Prince Bernhard, and that is him in the picture.

More travel bags from the Dutch royal family. I tell you life back then was so complicated.

Visit Period: April 2014
Destination: Amsterdam Centre (Amsterdam – North Holland), The Netherlands

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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