Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Well Trompe My Oeil: Bags To Make You Look Twice

The minute I saw this season's "Shadow" Birkin from Hermès, I thought, that one makes sense. Because as surreal as its embossed horizontal locking straps may be, they seem far less fiddly than the traditional arrangement of leaving the real, "working" ones open to dangle.

This bag got me wondering. Was it the first true example of the trompe-l'oeil bag genre?

The answer: Nope, not at all. There is a longstanding tradition of design houses issuing handbags under faux pretenses.

Some nice vintage examples:

This YSL tote

A lovely Roberta di Camerino velvet number (she made these a trademark)

A more recent Marc Jacobs example of a cleverly stitched clutch.

So who knows what creativity lurks in the minds of luxe bag designers? Not only the Shadow knows.

(top photo from, by Toby McFarlan Pond)


  1. The Hermes publicity machine just sent me an invitation to preview the new Birkin Bag book. Sounds kind of cool. I like this shadow bag, though not a huge fan of bags that cost more than my rent, but they are aesthetically compelling. I LOVE YOU CHRISTA. You have become a very sweet friend and I want very much to meet you.
    Love, Fluff

  2. Agreed--I'd love to charge one to my Shadow Visa.

    Thanks for the love, Fluff, very likewise! Tea at the Wolseley is on me . . . xx