The Tassen Museum of Bags and Purses

The Tassen Museum of Bags and Purses

Toronto might have a shoe museum, but Amsterdam has a little museum dedicated entirely to handbags. The Tassen Museum of Bags and Purses is a must-see for anyone who is interested in fashion history or hoards all of the latest it-bags.

It houses the world’s largest collection of bags – with 4000 pieces. But even if bags aren’t your thing, you can enjoy the stunning decor of this updated canal house originally built in 1664.

I fell in love with many pieces, and my camera phone went a little bit nuts taking pictures of the collections.

A silk-embroidered clutch from the early 1920s.

This shell and enamel handbag from the height of the Art Deco era was stunning. It was my favourite piece in the museum by far.

The leopard skin bag (1940s), sunnies, scarf and Schiaperelli catalogue epitomize an era of glamour and luxury.

I would die for this set of travelling luggage.

They had many vintage exotic bags, including the armadillo above.

Of course, they had to have one of the most famous (and probably the first) it-bag. The Hermes Kelly. This one was in immaculate condition!

The museum had a lot of quirky and unusual character bags. I love this Moschino tote!

And of course, there were a couple items for the cat lady in every woman.

This Judith Leiber crystal bag was named “Socks” after President Clinton’s cat.

This is the Judith Leiber cupcake bag Charlotte’s daughter Lilly wore in the Sex and the City movie. I was obsessed with the handbag, and found a cupcake for prom.

Another Leiber creation. I love this Diet Coke can, it is an ironic statement of capitalism and our society’s obsession with being thin.

This was a stunning expression of nature. I think it’s so creative.

The museum had an excellent permanent collection of bags from the 18th and 19th Century, right when the handbag started to emerge as a functional status symbol. The curation was excellent and profiled the progression of the handbag and categorized them according to material. From tortoiseshell to ivory to lace, these historical handbags are truly timeless.

This beaded bag was hand-knitted. In the 19th Century, beaded bags were a symbol of wealth, until weaving techniques allowed them to be manufactured on a mass scale in Czech Republic and Germany, using beautiful Bavarian crystal beads.

The museum had a little section devoted to Free Masons. Strangely, the descriptive poster was gone – the society must be behind this mystery!

These mother-of-pearl, shell, acetate and plastic bags were all so beautiful. I can picture them slung on the wrist of a beautiful 50’s housewife.

Dutch designs depicting Amsterdam and Paris.

Minimalism. Issey Miyake’s corrugated tote from 2010.

One of my dreams is to own a vintage Louis Vuitton trunk. The wear of the canvas are memories of life, travel and love.

This post was so long, but I had to share my favourite pieces and my experience. I easily got lost in this wonderful little museum… It was definitely my dream accessory closet.


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  1. May 26, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    I love the bags… Thanks for sharing with us…

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