Exhibition On now until Sunday, 16 January 2022

Bags: Inside Out

★★★★★ – Totes fabulous

The Guardian

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
  • On now until Sunday, 16 January 2022

  • Gallery 40

  • £12.00

    Concessions apply.
    Members and children under 12 go free. Booking is essential.

    Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00 – 17:00.
    You are welcome to explore the permanent collection after visiting the exhibition.

From rucksacks to despatch boxes, Birkin bags to Louis Vuitton luggage, Bags: Inside Out explores the style, function, design and craftsmanship of the ultimate accessory.

Sponsored by

Mulberry is a British luxury lifestyle brand that was founded in 1971 in Somerset, where we continue manufacturing leather bags to this day. We employ a community of craftspeople across our two factories and are proud of the responsible approach we take in creating exceptional accessories that are truly made to last.

Exhibition Highlights

bag shaped like a green horse chestnut, with a brown conker-like pouch inside
Horse chestnut bag and purse, by Emily Jo Gibbs, 1996, UK. Museum no. T.531:1, 2-1996. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Red velvety pouch with sequin detailing and gold embroidery of the monarch's coat of arms (a lion and a dragon).
Burse for the Great Seal of England, 1558 – 1603, England. Museum no. T.40-1986. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Model with a white bag in the shape of a milk carton, saying 'Lait de Coco'. She tips it towards her mouth.
Model with Lait de Coco Evening Bag, Karl Lagerfeld, 2014. © Jason Lloyd Evans
Cream handbag with a rope handle, opened up. Contents include a fan, binoculars, a mirror, and a pen.
Lemière, opera bag and contents, about 1910, France. Museum no. T.219 to F-1965. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Worn square, red box with lock on the front. ER royal insignia and Winston Churchill's name on the top in gold writing
Despatch Box owned by Winston Churchill, by John Peck & Son, about 1921, England. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Purple sequin bag with glittery closure clasp
'Baguette' bag, by Fendi, 2000, Italy.
chatelaine
Chatelaine, 1863 – 1885, probably England. Museum no. M.32:1 to 13-1969. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Pentagonal orange purse with gold embroidery and yellow, orange, green and red tassels
Dowry bag (bhujki), mid 20th century, Sindh, Pakistan. Museum no. IS.21-1981. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Egg shaped bag
'Fabergé Egg', evening bag, by Judith Leiber, 1983, US. Museum no. T.511-1997. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Left: Black slightly shiny handbag with handle and silver closure. Right: Brown handbag with plaited handle and buckles
Mulberry 'Bayswater' and 'Alexa' bags from the private collections of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, 2003 and 2010, England. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Patchwork pink and floral suitcase, saying INTERNATIONAL WOMAN. ME EVERY TIME. Patchwork rosette on top right
Tracey Emin for Longchamp, International Woman suitcase, 2004. Museum no. T.30:1-2005. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. DACS
Blue backpack with a skull and crossbones patch, shark patch, palm tree and wave patch, and patch saying 'ALL IS LOVE'
‘Ocean Legend’ Falabella Go backpack, by Stella McCartney x Parley for the Oceans, Spring – Summer 2018, England. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
17th century purse in the shape of a frog
Frog purse, 17th century. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Events

Features

V&A shop

Bags: Inside Out exhibition tote bag

Bags: Inside Out exhibition tote bag

Our exhibition tote bag is fair trade, made from organic cotton and printed in the UK. The witty two-sided design features a handbag illustration, and the contents of the handbag on the other.

£10 Buy
Bags: Inside Out

Bags: Inside Out

Bags: Inside Out is a short history of bags, as told through 40 highlights from the V&A's spellbinding exhibition.

£10 Buy
Bags illustration Vogue print

Bags illustration Vogue print

An elegant handbag plays host to a colourful cloud of butterflies, taking flight and alighting on the magazine title in this Vogue cover, created by Eduardo Benito for the February 1924 issue

£10 Buy
Bags: Inside Out
Background image: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London