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The Allure of Designer Handbags

- The Allure of Designer Handbags

What is the allure of authentic designer handbags? Farid Chenoune may have the answer and it definitely goes beyond fashion!

In fashion, it's the little things that mean a lot, says Farid Chenoune, who put together a book entitled "Carried Away - All About Bags" and an exhibit at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. "If you take a little object like this one (a handbag), you'll put together a lot of stories of what life is, what power is, religiosity, what men's and women's relationships are - and it's all fashion, too."

The importance of the purse extends beyond what we consider traditional authentic designer handbags, according to Chenoune. Purses are a part of our psyche and include bags holding knuckle bones depicted in Egyptian wall paintings dating from 430 B.C. The list also includes wizard's bags holding ingredients of power, doctor's bags, and religious bags. The similarity between a high end authentic designer bag and a satchel belonging to an African witch, he explains, is that both bags hold a secret and can represent power.

"What you put in your bag is very important to you. That makes a bag very personal, because in it you have a secret. A secret gives you some sort of power. Traditionally, for a woman, a bag holds the things you need for the day, but it's also your little beauty factory, which is very important to the identity of the woman" Chenoune says.

Of course, authentic designer handbags have been taken to new heights in the designer era, with top fashion companies adorning bags with logos and other signs of luxury, such as skins and fur. A recent auction at Doyle New York featured a black crocodile Hermès Birkin, customized with a clasp and lock featuring 14 carats of pave diamonds, that sold for $64,800. Whereas the inside of one's bag is supposed to be personal and intimate, the outside is a virtual advertisement of one's place in the world, Chenoune observes. This became emphasized at the end of the 18th century, when women shifted to the neoclassical style of dress, he explains. "The 'outside pocket' became the modern bag, and by 1920, it became a symbol of women's independence. It said she could go where she wanted to go, and didn't need a man because he held all the possessions," Chenoune said.

Designer Handbag by Carlos Falchi
Handbag by Carlos Falchi

Designer handbags run the gamut from the delicately beautiful Judith Leibner bag To the elegantly simple Fendi, but, regardless of it's size and shape, it's a little piece of luxury that is within reach of most women and shouts to the world that this woman knows quality!

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