Purse is a Lifestyle

For most women, going out without a purse would be incomplete. Whether they are heading to college, the office or simply going out for groceries, a purse is a necessity. Every day society has becomes more complex now and the manufacturers have come to realize that we need more and more stuff aside from our wallets when we go out for an errand.


Handbags have their origins in early pouches used to carry seeds, religious items and medicine. In the 15th century, a purse was a traditional gift from a groom to his bride. The bags typically were elaborately embroidered with an illustration of a love story. By the late 18th century, women’s clothing was more form fitting and pockets ere not easily accommodated into the garment. Women began carrying small, often silk embroidered drawstring bags or purses called reticules, or ‘ridicules’.
The Victorian period brought a large variety of bags. Bags often were made t coordinate with the outfit and were now made of many different fabrics. By the mid 1800’s, bags changed from simply drawstring styles, to a popular flat style, that could be made in either a circular or square shape and was generally heavily decorated with beading and needlework. Patterns and directions for making these types of purses became popular in ladies magazines at that time.
By the early 20th century, women were carry bags every time they left home, even for short periods while hats were popular accessories that began to lose popularity by the early 20th century, handbags became increasingly popular. The success of the handbag has much to do with the fact that it has adapted to the needs of the time. Handbags held cigarettes, sunglasses rather than seeds and medicines. Years ago, it was ladylike to carry as little as possible. A small bag was typical. Today women are gone from home for longer periods of time, frequently working or if not, often with children along.

Handbag Designers and Companies

Coach began as a family run business in a Manhattan loft. The company started with just a handful of artisans who made high-quality leather goods. The founder of Coach was influenced and inspired by a baseball glove when which he knew got softer after use, thought he leather retained its beauty. The glove-tanned leather continues to be used by Coach. Coach began with twelve simple bag designs, focusing on classic designs for handbags. In 1988, Coach noticed a decline in sales as a more eclectic fabric and mixed material bag became popular. Coach at the time, was vowed by women as making more traditional and conservative design. In response, Coach made some changes to the design and began using more fabric and developed the signature “C” print.
That change as very successful and Coach continued to grow and develop new designs. The company has since expanded to include briefcases, planners, computer cases and a travel collection. In 1985, the Sara Lee Company purchased Coach and in 2000 the company went public. Coach has found that some of the expansion and newer designs have not been well received by some of the older loyal customers. A move back to the classic handbag began recently to address this concern.
Gucci Gucci began his leather goods company in Florence, Italy in 1921. He was very influenced by the years he spent working in England before returning to Florence to open his own company. His equestrian-inspired detailing such as the horse bit and stirrup motif came from the English influences and became a long time symbol for Gucci. The label was very successful.
In 1947, the company introduced the bamboo handle which has remained popular. In the 1950’s, the trademark green-red-green became very successful and remains one of the most familiar identifiers of the brand. Gucci expanded and Stores opened in Milan, NY, London, Palm Beach, Paris and Beverly Hills. In 1953, Guccio Gucci died in 1953, and his son’s Aldo, Vasco, Ugo and Rodolfo took over the business.
Some of the best known Gucci designs include the “Jackie O” Gucci shoulder bag. The Hobo bag became popular in the 1960’s with celebrities such as Liz Taylor and Peter Sellers wearing them. The classic Gucci moccasin with horse bit hardware became a part of the permanent collection at the Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art. The interlocking double G logo was adopted by Gucci in the 1960’s. In 1982 Gucci became a public limited company and in1995 Gucci became a fully public company. Gucci was named “European company of the year in 1998 by the European Business Press Federation.
Today, Guicci is recognized by a variety of details including, gold hardware for simple understated luxury, braided or chain straps for added distinction, accents such as tassels, charms, or studs, detachable shoulder straps. Flap or top closures with either zippers or magnets for security., a sturdy bottom feet to support larger bags, interior and exterior pockets and of course the signature interlocking double G logo.
Prada is an Italian company founded in 1913 by Mario Prada. His granddaughter, Miuccia inherits the company in 1978, at which time it was still a leather goods business. She has led the company to huge expansion. Prada has 14 locations in the U.S. Prada acquired Rome-based Fendi in the early 1990s.but later sold its shares to the Moet Hennesy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) Company.  Prada has developed a newer, slight more affordable line called, Mui Mui after Miuccia Prada which is targeted toward a younger market. Prada purses are know for their sturdy, functional, and yet fashionable design. Handbags often include leather, fur trim, gold and silver hardware, contrasting stitching, magnetic snap closures, zippered inner pockets and detachable identifications tags or key rings. Of course the Prada logo plates always displayed. Prada purses typically come in neutral colors that emphasize practicality. They occasionally offer bolder prints and patterns.
Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton began as a trunk manufacture in Paris in 1854,. Luggage continues t be a major market today for the company. The design is well known and recognized with the familiar beige and brown LV monogram. The Vuitton line gained international When Louis Vuitton died in 1892, his son, Georges, took over and expanded the company, developing, developing what is recognized as the first “designer label” on a product.
The company’s monogram canvas design was created in 1896 by Vuitton’s son Georges and was intended to prevent counterfeiting. However, , Louis Vuitton has become the most counterfeited brand in fashion history. It is estimated that just over 1% of all items with the Vuitton brand name on them, are actual Louis Vuitton’s. The rest are counterfeit.
What started as Vuitton’s luggage company has become a world leader in luxury goods. In 1936, after Georges died, his son, Gaston-Louis, took over the company. Vuitton merged with Moët-Hennessey in 1977 and became LVMH. Ten years later, in , 1987; LVMH bought Givenchy .In 1998 Vuitton joined with designer Mac Jacobs and expanded the company further into the high fashion market.
Fendi began as a leather and fur workshop established by Adele Casagrande in Rome, in 1918. When she married, she changed the company name to that of her husband. Fendi, like many of the luxury companies, has been a family run and owned business. Today, the company is run by the five daughters of the Fendi’s. They became involved with the business after the death of their father in 1954. The Fendi daughters moved the company from fur and leathers, to a high fashion profile. In 1999 Fendi was bought by Prada-LVMH. Over the decades the Fendi became more and more popular, and is now known worldwide. Fur continues to be a major market for Fendi.
Modern Day
Today, a woman without her handbag feels at a loss. A woman’s handbag continues to hold her own personal tastes and her secrets. Handbags are so personal, that it is clearly understood that one just does not look into another person’s handbag.The handbag, and the fact that male handbags never quite caught on, remains a huge difference between the sexes. Men continue to carry everything in their pockets, and men’s clothing, unlike women’s always has pockets. A man wearing a suit and overcoat can easily have ten pockets at his disposal while women in a suit and a jacket might have none, or only a couple shallow decorative pockets. Women need the handbag.

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