From the earliest times to the star handbags of today, a sumptuous, highly visual celebration of the history of handbags in all their diversity and luxuryFrom the reticules of the 18th century through through the mesh bags and chatelaines of the l9th century to Japanese inr? in the 20th century, the history of the handbag is also the social history of the times in which these exquisite models were created. Every major couturier from the 1920s, from Paul Poiret to Chanel to Vionnet and Schiaparelli, has created handbags to go with their outfits, and this book showcases these creations with the fashion illustrations and fashion photographs of the time. Handbags have been inspired by real women--notably Grace Kelly and the Kelly bag, and by events in the world such as Schiaparelli's gas mask bag, and in more recent times tie-ins with stars and celebrities have grown every more important. Nowadays a handbag is the foundation of fashion fortunes, and certain models, such as the Hermes Birkin, are as famous in China as they are in the rue de la Paix. This lively and informative book features beautiful and rare illustrations spanning the centuries.