Xerjoff Magazine

“It bags”, coveted objects of desire


“Bags: inside out” is the title of an exhibition held at Victoria and Albert Museum in London celebrating the world of “It bags” over a period of 500 years.

With movie theatres, theatres, art galleries and museums closed, this is really a hard time for the world of culture. Hoping that we can return to the normal life that we so much desire today as soon as possible, we want to present you an exhibition inaugurated last December (now temporarily closed) but that will run until 12th September 2021. We are talking about “Bags: inside out”, hosted by Victoria and Albert Museum in London (Cromwell Rd, London, SW7), an exhibition curated by Lucia Savi and dedicated to “It bags”, that is, those bags that according to a definition by Vogue are really hard to get and for this reason highly coveted.

Covering a period of 500 years, more than three hundred models of these objects of desire are displayed. The exhibition is structured in three sections. The first one, “Function”, explores the functional aspect of the bags and hosts the embroidered suitcase containing, back in 1500, the seal of Elisabeth 1st, but also the cotton bag where queen Mary of Teck used to put her gas mask during the second world war and Winston Churchill’s red briefcase. “Status and Identity”, the second section, shows how a bag can become a status symbol and, to this purpose, it shows pieces like “2.55” by Chanel, “Jackie” by Gucci or “Kelly” by Hermès. The last section, “Design and Making”, focuses on the different phases of a creative process, from the initial sketches to their concrete realisation. From Versace’s “safety pin” to the dachshund bag by Thom Browne up to the milk carton-shaped Chanel, this section is a hymn to creativity highlighting the playful and sometimes surrealist side that certain bags can express.

Above: A Chanel bag. Photo credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London.