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Collectable Names and Designs in Women's Handbags (Hardback)

Colour Books P&S History > Social History Photographic Books Women of History

By Tracy Martin
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 160
Illustrations: 150 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781781597453
Published: 9th September 2021



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Vintage and future accessories expert, Tracy Martin reveals what to spot when buying both vintage and modern handbags which are already desirable with collectors or have the potential to become sought after in the future. From the Victorian miser bag to 1950s Lucite and the op-art designs of the Sixties to bang up to date modern examples such as Lulu Guinness's iconic Lips clutch, Tracy recommends the most desirable for collector's of all budgets. Throughout the pages she shares her top tips on which designers to buy from the past, present and future, how to avoid getting caught out by fake or damaged bags and where is best to invest. Together with a detailed social history on the designers and their bags, this lavishly illustrated book is a must-own for all those passionate about handbags.

I'm interested in fashion and thoroughly enjoyed this book that made me discover some new to me designer and loved the descriptions of the different styles.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

I loved this little book! While it's got plenty of big names, there are also some really interesting designers and styles featured here that I had never heard of. I had no idea Judith Lieber came up with designs in her head to cope with life under the nazi regime.

NetGalley, Seher Mohsin

Tracy Martin has written a great book about handbags - the photos and advertising pictures are terrific and the book includes really interesting details about the history of women's handbags. The book also connects the handbags to overall fashion and accessories of the period. I never heard of Wilardy Originals before reading this book and really enjoyed the details and pictures of their Lucite bags.

NetGalley, Elizabeth Simpson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a FANTASTIC book- I wasn't expecting to be quite as much fun as it is! Martin does a wonderful job of looking at different trends in handbags, and doing a quick rundown of the history of handbags without getting too bogged down. It is a whirlwind history of handbags, but it highlights many designers/styles- some you expect, and some you don't expect at all. Excellent use of pictures!!

NetGalley, Jessica Storoschuk

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was entertaining, educational and well written! I loved learning about the history of handbags and how they evolved over time. I also loved learning about my favorite designer of handbags. There was not one dull moment in this book and I like the pictures throughout, it added depth and fun and it was fun to read on my new kindle.

Highly recommended for those in the handbag craze and also the skeptics that do not understand them. Also recommended for people who love the history of inventions of everyday objects. I am definitely getting this at publishing.

NetGalley, Lisa Konet

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I enjoy handbags. While I very generally know of handbag collecting I don't know much, so this was an interesting quick glimpse into what collectors might look for and why certain bags command such a premium.

NetGalley, Juliana Belizario

This was a fascinating book, and as someone who does love a good handbag, I had expected to enjoy it, but I really was surprised at just how interesting I found it.
Absolutely brimming with information about the history of the handbag, and let me tell you, some of the origins are very surprising. I loved all the factoids included too, but I won’t include them here so that it won’t spoil any potential enjoyment for other readers.

NetGalley, Pauline Knox

Tracy Martin's passion for collecting handbags shines through in this book, which is filled with gorgeous pictures.. She explores the history of handbags, including details about chatelaine bags and other early handbags, with fascinating chapters on the more modern decades. She tells you what to look out for when you decide which decade to collect, and writes about the histories of most of the large, glamorous brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Lulu Guiness.

There is also advice about where to buy, and how to look out for scams. There are plenty about! Information about prices is also included.

This is extremely useful for anyone wanting to start a collection of handbags.

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

If you have ever been interested in collecting purses, this book is the one for you. With an outstanding survey of handbags, mostly by decades, putting special attention to the most collectible manufacturers and designers. I certainly got plenty of great ideas from this book.

NetGalley, Janet Perry

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is an interesting and broad historical look at containers used to carry necessities. It's mostly, but not exclusively, about handbags/purses because the author does spend a bit of time talking about chatelaines, sweet bags (medieval bags with herbs and pomanders to ward off bad smells), even prehistorical versions (Ötzi had some very fashion forward bags with him when he met his fate in the Alps). Most of the chapters are arranged roughly chronologically and include the modern era from the turn of the 20th century to the modern day.

Many manufacturers are covered, and happily not *just* the big names, although they're there too of course. Some of the manufacturing history behind the production is also provided, and I found that more engaging than the bags themselves. I especially enjoyed reading the comprehensive entry on mesh and lucite bags.

This is not a price guide. The emphasis is more on history and manufacturing. There are some tips and hints on focusing on a period and building/curating a collection. I also liked that the author concentrated more on lesser known areas of handbag collecting, such as the lucite bags.

There are a fair number of photographs in the book, and most are in colour, but it's not a photography heavy coffee table type book. The iconic Hermés, Chanel, Gucci, and other heavy hitters are included (alongside some of the swoon-worthy prices they've fetched at auction), but it's really the quirky, ephemeral, and lesser known bags which kept me enthralled.

I do have a small collection of classic bags myself, mostly modern "popular" brands like Coach, Juicy Couture, and one Louis Vuitton bag, but this book has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities which are within my price range. I don't imagine I'll ever own a Hermes Birkin, but there are a load of drool-worthy pictures here to inspire readers' dreams.

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is both a history of handbags as well as a showcase for some stunning or unusual bags, many in the author's personal collection.

If you've ever been in the situation where you are running out of space to store your precious handbags...or you've been good and have saved your pennies for practical items, but enjoy looking at bags that cost someone else thousands to accumulate...this book might be exactly what you need.

Handbags you can enjoy looking at, but didn't spend half your salary to buy.

Thumbs up for an enjoyable read and lots of eye candy for the handbag lover.

NetGalley, Marie Raymond

About Tracy Martin

Prolific vintage fashion columnist (Collect It! magazine and Antiques & Collectables, amongst others), TV antiques expert (20th Century Roadshow, This Morning and BBC Flog it! amongst others), Tracy also regularly contributes to radio and print press with her knowledge of everything antique and collectable. Tracy's other books include Christmas Collectables, Collectable Names and Designs in Women's Fashion and Collectable Names and Designs in Women's Shoes, all of which are also published by Remember When.

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