Celebrating the most iconic handbags in recent fashion history

Arm candy.

[“][B]alls are to men, what purses are to women. It’s just a little bag, but we’d feel naked in public without it,” Carrie Bradshaw once said regarding her obsession with the ultimate outfit add-on. Whether you share the same vehement passion as the Sex and the City character or not, the covetable accessory’s enduring appeal over the years from top designers including Chanel, Gucci, Hermès is undeniably a street style fixture. And New York designer Monica Botkier has payed tribute to the ultimate cult arm candy – from Azzedine Alaia to Yves Saint Laurent – in a new book Handbags: A Love Story.

With more than two hundred stunning photographs and
illustrations, it is the definitive source on these accessories of obsessive, even irrational, the publication documents more than seventy of the most influential and aspirational bags from the last 75 years.

From left: Nylon backpack, Prada pictured in August 1989 Vogue (photo by Hans Feurer)

“Through interviews with designers, stylists, and fashion editors, handbags provides the insider story of each bag’s creation and examines how every one became mainstays in the dynamic world of fashion,” Botkier says. From Chanel’s soft, quilted 2.55 and Hermès’ Birkin to Marc Jacobs’ numerous collaborations for Louis Vuitton and Phoebe Philo’s suite of lust-worthy creations for Céline, this mega-volume is loaded with vintage bag inspiration…

Gallery

HANDBAGS: A LOVE STORY by Monica Botkier is published by HarperDesign, an imprint of HarperCollins, £65