Bags: Inside Out Exhibition

With Lockdowns coming and going and this year ending in ‘tiers’ we at ‘The Print Affair’ wanted to bring you something lovely to enjoy. An exhibition just opened and on until the 12th September 2021 ‘Bags: Inside out’ is a must see for anyone with a slight interest in fashion, textiles and an appreciation for craftmanship! Until we are able to see it in the flesh; here are some gorgeous images from the new V and A exhibition.

Bags: Inside Out is the UK’s most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the ultimate accessory. With an exclusive look inside the world of the factory and atelier, this exhibition explores our longstanding fascination with the bag, from designer handbags to despatch boxes, vanity cases to military rucksacks.

Featuring around 300 objects, varying in scale from tiny purses held on a fingertip to luxurious travel trunks, the exhibition explores the function, status and craftsmanship of these highly covetable objects from the 16th century to today.

Function and practicality; objects designed to hold our belongings. From holiday outfits to confidential documents.

Sketches, samples and prototypes from international fashion houses and the UK luxury brand Mulberry show the innovative early stages of the design process.

Surrealism; Thom Browne’s handbag in the form of his dog Hector and a Chanel bag transformed into a milk carton will explore the surrealism and humour evoked through accessories.

Left to right: Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union wear Thom Browne outside the Thom Browne show on June 25, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Melodie Jeng, Getty Images); Model with Lait de Coco Evening Bag, Karl Lagerfeld, 2014 © Jason Lloyd Evans

Identity and celebrity culture; the role of the bag amongst the political and societal elite. Featuring a Hermès ‘Kelly’ named in honour of Grace Kelly and a ‘Lady Dior’ handbag named after Princess Diana. 

Left to right: Grace Kelly’s departure from Hollywood (Photo by Allan Grant The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images); Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton ‘Monogram Miroir’ gold speedy handbags in Sydney, Australia 2006. Photo by PhotoNews International Inc, Getty Images

Fendi Baguette bag worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City, 2000, Italy. Image courtesy of Fendi

Messages; The use of bags as a blank canvas for slogans, personal statements and political messages and their role as a public platform to share beliefs and convictions.

1.’I’m NOT a Plastic bag’ tote bag, Anya Hindmarch and We Are What We Do, 2007, London, England. Museum no. T.176-2019. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 2.Tracy Emin

Sponsored by Mulberry

Mulberry is very pleased to be the sponsor of Bags: Inside Out. This wonderful exhibition from the V&A celebrates the unique status of bags in our lives, diving into the history of these objects as both cultural phenomena and iconic pieces of design.

The vibrant floral print was inspired by the opulence of chinoiserie and a 20th century furnishing fabric from the V&A’s archive. Our creative team used this motif to animate some of our most iconic silhouettes, creating a timeless accessories collection that is steeped in design history.

Take a look behind-the-scenes at Mulberry with Development Team Leader, Alice Gouldbourne to discover more about the precision and technical skill required to produce each one of their iconic bags.

Images and information all from: Mulberry V&A · Making Bags V&A · Bags: Inside Out (

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