Handbags have never been more important in fashion: the ‘must-have’ bag of the season is a much-lusted-after designer item that can make or break a fashion house. For women, the handbag is an intimate extension of the body, a kind of mobile home for all the items indispensable for daily life, and at the same time an indicator of her fashionability – be it Prada, Vuitton or Chanel. Here, Caroline Cox tells the intriguing story of the handbag, in fact a relatively recent phenomenon only in general use since the early twentieth century. She traces its development from its origins in the nineteenth century with reticules (essentially pockets with handles) and Louis Vuitton’s revolutionary Noe bag for the female traveller, via Art Deco clutch bags moulded in Bakelite and the Hermes Kelly bag endorsed by Princess Grace in the 1950s, right up to the accessory of the moment, the Mulberry Roxanne. Lavishly illustrated throughout with rare and striking images of bags historical and modern, and exquisitely designed, “Bags” will be the must-have book of the season.