Sisterhood of The Traveling Handbags
All the funs in a vintage bag
A new bag is kind of like all the best parts of New Years Eve: purportedly exciting, inarguably fresh and pleasantly rejuvenating when considering the boundless places you’ll carry it (and oh the places you two will go!). It’s representative of the act of leaving tired baggage behind like an overripe year and replacing bygones with the promise of a new, unwritten and therefore highly lucrative beginning.
The most worthwhile of new bags, however, are typically those that are actually old — the ones that once belonged to someone else, that lived through a life of possible anguish and, depending on the state of the bag, hopefully far more glee. They’re the ones that are only new subjectively, because for the first time, one of its kind is yours. But that’s not to discredit who loved them prior: those who cared for them, carried them, and declared them a treasure.
It may seem hyperbolic to view a purse as something more than its intended employment. Surely one could argue that a bag — three letters, one purpose: to hold your crap — possesses no more meaning within its leather or fabric or sequined margins than that of a tissue box, or a thimble. But that is exactly where we beg to differ. A bag contains just as many memories as a journal.
Finding this bag isn’t easy. As was the case with Goldilocks and her failed attempts at finding the perfect meal and bed, when looking for a handbag you’re left to sift through a full lot. Sometimes the bag is too big or too small. Sometimes the handle is too short, the color might be wrong, the fabric isn’t exactly what you hoped it would be and while you’re ready to commit, really, you don’t want to settle.
So you wait. You wait until that special moment finds you. That moment when your heart flutters, nothing else matters and you just know you’ve found each other.
Such was the case, at least for us, last week when we went to LXR & Co’s Pop Up shop in SoHo. On a marginal, not quite urgent search for the bag, fate hit us over the head in primary colors that told a tale of the most recent leg of Louis Vuitton’s renaissance.
The crayon box of Vuitton bags sat royally in all their colored glory. They were the doctor’s bags of Marc Jacobs’ imagination, saturated tree bark-embossed leather and structured to make plausible the understanding that these bags, under several different reigns of ownership, would holster more lives — and stories — than cats do.
We, of course, just couldn’t help wonder: where had these bags been before?
Maybe in Paris. Individually under the ownership of four different, impossibly chic French women with messy bangs and an endless supply of perfect black jeans. Maybe the green one had belonged to a woman whose husband left her for another man. Could it have been that the red one was once what held together the life of a burlesque dancer from Deauville? And then what if the yellow one lived far across the Seine, in a felt bag, having never been used until the moment she was first picked up in this very Pop Up?
Or maybe the red and blue were being timeshared: split between two friends on different continents (or, you know, boroughs) who shared stories of their lives using the purses to display their victories, dalliances, battle wounds, and most importantly, unwavering amicability for one another.
Or maybe they just were. And now, finally, they could start their lives as brand new individuals, commanding the right attention, emblematizing all that which was and would be chic again — successfully moonlighting as the spectacularly ironic lead roles in the hands of two New Yorkers.
-Written by Leandra Medine and Amelia Diamond