The exhibition will be opened by: Mirjana Menković, PhD, Acting Director of the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade.
Curator of the exhibition: Draginja Maskareli, senior curator MAA
Organized by the Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade
The emancipation of women in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries left a significant imprint on the development of bags that we use and know today. A more significant participation of women in the business world and their increasing mobility gave rise to bags of large sizes and various types, ranging from business and travel bags, to day-to-day handbags and elegant evening bags.
A bag is the only fashion item in which the outer and the inner sides are equally important. It becomes a projection of a personality through the way in which it is used and gets its full meaning only when it’s filled with objects.
The thematic exhibition Bags seeks to assemble in a single place the bags from the holdings of the Museum of Applied Art, which have become museum pieces, as well as those privately owned by museum audience, most of which have still retained their original function. At the exhibition, the history bags as fashion and clothing items in Serbia, from the 19th century to the present, is shown through eighty-four selected bags organized in three segments: Bags: The Museum, Bags: Vintage and Modern and Bags: Men’s Corner.
The first segment of the exhibition, Bags: The Museum, presents thirty-four bags from the holdings of the Museum’s departments of Textile and Costume and Metal and Jewellery. These are bags of various types and purposes from the 19th and the early decades of the 20th century: coin purses, workbags for handwork accessories, handbags, evening bags and theatre purses. The exhibited items reflect the development of bags in Serbia, offering an insight into a variety of materials and manufacturing techniques, such as metal mesh, beads, leather, crochet or embroidery in half cross-stitch.
The second segment of the exhibition, titled Bags: Vintage and Modern, relies on temporary acquisitions – loans, collected in a campaign jointly organized by the Museum, the organization Destination Office and the design studio De:Work, and initiated through social networks at the beginning of February 2015 by inviting interested individuals to submit by e-mail photos and information about interesting bags that they wore or kept in their wardrobes but which they were willing to lend for the exhibition. The submitted items include a wide variety of bags – both those kept in families for several generations or purchased as antiques and vintage accessories, and those purchased over the past few years. Seeking to make the exhibition representative of as many different periods, materials, trends and bag types as possible, forty-five of 146 submitted bags spanning the period from the early 20th century to the present, have been selected for display within the second segment. All of the submitted bags are used for interaction with the audience by means of virtual exhibitions of bags set up on social network profiles on Tumblr and Pinterest.
Although bags are nowadays considered to be prevailingly women’s accessories, until the 17th century, they were mostly worn by men, at the waist or over the shoulder. The third segment of the exhibition, Bags: Men’s Corner, seeks to illustrate the development and role of men’s bags in the history of clothing. Four different men’s bags from the second half of the 20th century, collected during the campaign, are displayed within this section.
Upon invitation of the Museum, the campaign was also joined by many public figures: actress Svetlana Bojković, opera singer Jadranka Jovanović, writer and journalist Vesna Radusinović, fashion designer Aleksandar Joksimović and others.