It's In the Bag: What Purses Reveal---and Conceal

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9780061137488: It's In the Bag: What Purses Reveal---and Conceal
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The time is perfect for a short, smart purse book. The "good bag" has nudged out shoes, jeans, and jewelry as the must–have fashion possession. Despite price hikes –– $1,445 for a Prada bowler bag that once cost $940 –– the craze for high–end purses helps fuel the booming luxury–goods market and, via knock–offs, hugely influences the $6 billion–a–year mainstream handbag industry. But purse mania isn't just an outgrowth of a strong luxury–goods market –– human thoughts, feelings, and dreams are involved, too. As Nadia, a high–powered interior designer says, "My cell and my big Tod's purse –– that is my life."

In IT'S IN THE BAG, noted journalist Winifred Gallagher explains it what means for a purse to be a life. This cultural history of the handbag borrows from psychology (Freud noted that sometimes a purse is a vagina –– which is perhaps why the first "handbags" were carried by men!), sociology (a purse as a "status symbol") and even economics (Why have prices gotten so steep?). Researched and erudite yet always fun, Winifred Gallagher offers in IT'S IN THE BAG a charming theory of modern identity as seen through one of our keenest obsessions.

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About the Author:

Winifred Gallagher is the author of House Thinking, Just the Way You Are (a New York Times Notable Book), Working on God, and Spiritual Genius. She has written for numerous publications, including Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. She lives in Manhattan and Dubois, Wyoming.

From Publishers Weekly:

Like a trendy Chloe clutch, this slim volume on the quintessential women's accessory has detail aplenty but little depth. While author Gallagher (House Thinking: A Room-by-Room Look at How We Live) touches on a range of topics-including history, design and designers, the business of bags and personal style-she misses a number of opportunities to "consider one seemingly simple everyday object's complex meanings." For example, her chapter on handbag business looks at Ellen Goldstein-Lynch, founder of the accessories design department at the Fashion Institute of Technology; one-woman handbag company Helen Mariën; and perennial favorite Kate Spade. Nowhere, however, does she examine the manufacturing process of large name brands like Louis Vuitton and Fendi, and she barely acknowledges the flourishing counterfeit market, no doubt a concern for the $6 billion industry-not to mention readers, for whom a knockoff Bottega is as least as intriguing (if not more so) than the out-of-reach $2,600 original. Her final chapter, which examines the purse habits of a handful of celebrities and bag connoisseurs, is entertaining but, tellingly, fails to consider the average woman. Though decidedly "not a shopper's guide," Gallagher's lack of rigor makes this light volume a perfect supplement to your latest issue of Lucky.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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