Beasty bags

Many purses have been made in the shape of animals: fishes, dogs, mice, cats and monkeys. Animals have also been an inspiration for purses, or their skin has been used to produce the handbag. Exotic animals, such as snakes, alligators, armadillos, lizards and ostriches were especially popular because of the unusual textures of their skins and hides. There are even handbags made from fish leather. Rays and sharks, for example, and even Nile perches found their way to ladies’ handbags.

In 2007 Lia Kroon and Janna Middendorp, known by the name of Anno’63, designed a purse made of cardboard, felt and peacock feathers. This is a contemporary version of the peacock purses from the Museum of Bags and Purses. Chanel released a fur handbag in 2007. In Indonesia a lizard purse was made not only from a lizard’s skin, but also its head showing. In the 1950s a similar purse was made from snake skin and the snake’s head.