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GOLDSMITHS' FAIRAbove:The Tassen Museum,AmsterdamAbove left:KurtGeiger boots, 1969-1970Left:Pochette madefrom plastic beads,made for Saks FifthAvenue, Italy 1950sbought an early 19th-century Germaninlaid mother of pearl bag at an antiquedealer's in Norfolk - this first purchasenow has pride of place in the museum.The collection has grown in to acomplete survey of the history of thehandbag. One of the earliest pieces is a16th-century French goat leather bagmade for a man to wear on his belt. Thistype of bag was common throughoutthe 16th and 17th centuries, whenclothes had no inside pockets and abag was seen as a status symbol. Incontrast, the collection also featuresvery contemporary designs and bagsused by celebrities. One such exampleis an evening bag designed by GianniVersace for Madonna, for the premiereof the film Evitain London in 1997. Afavourite is the wonderfully over-the-top'cupcake' bag in the shape of a cupcake,but covered in Swarovski crystals, madefor movie Sex and the City.Bags have long been used tocommemorate historic occasions. TheTassen collection also features abeautiful leather clutch bag in the shapeof a luxury liner, given to all femalepassengers on the maiden voyage ofthe cruise ship Normandiein 1935.Many bags are objects of sheer beautyworthy of a place in any decorative artscollection: the Limoges factory wascommissioned to make the enamel oncopper portrait panels that decorate abridal bag made to commemorate themarriage of Louis XV to Polish PrincessMaria Leszczynska. The collection also shows the manydifferent materials used to make bagsdown the ages. It is a brilliant referencefor any student of product design ormaterials technology and the TassenMuseum runs an active learningprogramme. Materials range from strawand raffia through to silver chain mailand plastic; there is even a bag from2008 made from recycled crisp packets. 28NADFAS REVIEW / WINTER 2010www.nadfas.org.ukImages: © The Shoe Collection, Northampton Museums; The Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam; Wouter van der Tol; Leo Potma

NADFAS REVIEW / WINTER201029ESSENTIAL ACCESSORIESThe Lightbox has worked with theTassen Museum to bring the cream ofthe collection to the UK and theexhibition will provide a historical surveyof the development of the bag, withhistoric examples from the 17th and18th centuries up to present-daydesigner bags. The Lightbox likes to putits own stamp on any exhibition and soit will also feature the work of emergingUK fashion designers and a programmeof associated lectures, events and anextensive education programme. Obviously, the idea of the bag as anessential accessory through the agesbrings to mind that other vital accessorywhich has moved into the world of thefashion 'must-have', the shoe. A displayof shoes through the ages seemed anatural partner and The Lightboxcontacted Northampton Museum andArt Gallery who look after and curate thenational collection of shoes in the UK.The Shoe Collection at Northampton isthe largest collection of shoe heritage inthe world, containing more than 12,000items ranging from Ancient Egyptiansandals to contemporary design and isdesignated as being of national andinternational importance. Like the TassenMuseum, the Northampton collectionpresents a historical survey of theirspecialist subject, from medieval timesto present-day designer shoes, but alsolooks at shoes as symbols of socialchange. The collection's strength lies inits scope and range, includingeverything from fine historic footwear tobuttonhooks and shoelaces. It has anumber of shoes with historicalsignificance, such as Queen Victoria'swhite satin wedding shoes worn for herwedding to Prince Albert in 1840.Together, the bags and shoes on displaywill not only be a wonderful feast for theeye, but will also allow the visitor totrack social changes through theseessential accessories - how and whydid social changes affect the way peopledressed and what does the humble handbag and shoe tell us about history. Essential Accessories: A History of Handbags and Shoes, 29 March -17July, 2011, The Lightbox, Woking,Surrey. Entry free. The Lightbox'sFriends organisation will be arranging aprogramme of events alongside theexhibition. For details see: www.thelightbox.org.uk Tel 01483 737800Clockwise from top:Velvet reticuleembroidered withpearls and turquoise,France 1850-1870;Patent leather clutch,1980s; Clutch withmatching shoes, India1980s