27 June 2018


In Spotlight: Bags

Deutsches Ledermuseum, Offenbach/Main

– 3 February 2019



“Functional, decorative, fashionable” are the buzzwords for the bags selected to give insights into the historical archive as part of the new studio format of the Deutsches Ledermuseum’s “Im Fokus” exhibition.


The museum is proud of its extensive collection of over 30,000 artefacts drawn from many epochs and regions of leather culture on show in Offenbach/Main in a particularly international light. A historical summary of bag culture with exhibits from several eras is on offer in the “Im Fokus: Taschen. Funktional, schmückend, modisch” [In Spotlight: Bags. Functional, Decorative, Fashionable] exhibition.

At the beginning of its existence, the bag was used in a purely functional way – as a container – to transport raw materials and foodstuff. In the Middle Ages, leather pouches and belt bags were developed which were worn mainly by men. Further developments and modifications of the functions and subcategories of bags were strongly marked by fashionable influences, from which today’s models such as briefcases, sports bags, shoulder bags, and clutches evolved.


Amongst other things, “Im Fokus” will present a collection of evening bags, which, according to the museum, “is reserved for ladies only”. This statement clearly emphasises the social attitude towards bags of past fashions, which hopefully does not set the overall agenda, as the fashion influence of the present attaches particular importance to the neutrality of the product. As a result, models are arranged by colour and formally gender-specific lines, but it should be noted that the trend is moving in the direction of gender-neutral fashion and gender-independent use anyway. In this context, the selection of men’s handbags should be particularly noted. These demonstrate that in earlier times, for example around the French Revolution and in the 1970s, men used bags not only for their function but also as decorative items. The latest fashion in men’s bags is the Mutch, a portmanteau from “male” and “clutch”.


Nº 283
The Power of Design

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