It would take a very secure guy, to be caught dead entering a museum with that name over its entrance. However, the self-proclaimed world’s first official handbag museum, is actually an exquisite exhibition with more of historical contextual emphasis, rather a gaudy display of excessive luxury.
The museum houses more than 300 European pieces in its permanent collection over two floors and reserves the top floor for special exhibitions.
Built over three years, the building itself cost US$3.53 million while another US$1.59 million was spent on securing pieces for the collection.
The captions are a delight to read. Here’s an example: “Sweetmeat Purse, English, c1590, silk and metal damask, metal braid, silk cord and floss.
The third floor, where the museum begins, is an extremely modern display of avant-garde installations intermixed with iconic handbags.
The fourth floor is a history lesson, featuring British “reticules” from the 1820s, to “miser’s purses” and European women’s first “work bags” that take a decided turn for the ugly as they become more utilitarian, rather than decorative.
The basement and the first and second floors house a café, a museum gift shop, a multi-brand shop and Simone’s own bag shop, as well as a DIY shop where customers can try their hand at making their own bags, and a massive leather shop for those who wish to buy original materials, including real alligator swatches priced around ₩1,250,000 (US$1,100).