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Swire Properties and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London Present Inaugural Asian Tour of Bags: Inside Out

20 Apr 2022

Swire Properties and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London Present Inaugural Asian Tour of Bags: Inside Out

  • First international tour of the V&A's critically-acclaimed exhibition, “Bags: Inside Out” as kick-off celebratory programme for Swire Properties’ 50th anniversary
  • The exhibition tour starts in Beijing’s Taikoo Li Sanlitun from 28 April to 27 May 2022 before travelling to Swire Properties’ landmark retail centres in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Hong Kong starting July 2022
  • Features over 240 objects that explore the function, status and craftsmanship of the ultimate accessory

#SwireProperties #vamuseum #bagsinsideout

Swire Properties partners with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A), the world’s leading museum of art and design and performance, to present the critically-acclaimed exhibition, Bags: Inside Out, to audiences in the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong. This is the exhibition’s first international appearance since its debut at the V&A in London in December 2020.

The first celebratory programme for Swire Properties’ 50th anniversary, the inaugural Asian tour will travel to five of Swire Properties’ retail centres spanning five cities in 2022 and 2023, including Taikoo Li Sanlitun in Beijing, Taikoo Li Qiantan in Shanghai, Taikoo Hui Guangzhou, Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu and Pacific Place in Hong Kong. The exhibition will be displayed in a museum-grade, purpose-built event space at each venue with free admission for the public.

“We’re delighted to launch Swire Properties’ year-long 50th anniversary festivities with an extensive tour of the Bags: Inside Out exhibition to all our landmark retail centres in the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong,” said Tim Blackburn, Chief Executive of Swire Properties.

“This inspirational V&A exhibition, which explores the intricate cultural nuances behind the art of bag designs, is part of our decades-long placemaking efforts to make the arts a part of everyday life. This is also an integral element to building vibrant communities filled with positive energy and creativity.”

Bags: Inside Out provides an unprecedented and comprehensive look at the ultimate accessory, featuring over 240 objects varying in scale from tiny purses held on a fingertip to suitcases carried on the road. Curated by Dr Lucia Savi, the thematic exhibition examines the worldwide heritage of these highly covetable objects from the 16th century to today. From designer handbags, vanity cases to utilitarian rucksacks, the exhibition explores the function, status and craftsmanship of bags, and people’s longstanding fascination with this global obsession. Often projecting bold statements to the outside world, whilst concealing treasured belongings within, bags prove to be complex possessions.

The final section of the exhibition, Collecting Bags, is co-curated by Swire Properties exclusively for the Chinese Mainland tour. This section features 10 bags from award-winning actress Tang Wei’s private collection, including bags featured in films, auditions and award ceremonies, as well as precious pieces she has owned since childhood, representing cherished moments in the star’s life and career.

Through this partnership, Swire Properties offers a unique opportunity for its audiences, inviting culture and fashion lovers to experience an international museum exhibition closer to home. Bespoke public programmes, activities and promotions including cultural, lifestyle, hospitality, shopping, dining experiences and more are tailored at each venue for local communities.

Bags: Inside Out at a glance

The first section of the exhibition on Function and Utility examines bags as practical objects designed to hold belongings. From holiday outfits to sewing kits, make-up to money and even love letters, the design and materials of bags often reflect their intended purpose as functional objects. Exhibits on show include an 18th century embroidered silk Girdle bag from China, an opera bag from France in 1910 and Vivien Leigh’s attaché case.

Entitled Status and Identity, the second exhibition section looks at the central role of bags in celebrity culture, as well as their notoriety amongst the political and social elite. Featuring a Hermès ‘Kelly’, in honour of Grace Kelly, and a ‘Lady Dior’, named after Princess Diana, the exhibition explores the powerful and influential world of celebrity endorsement and the ‘It bag’ phenomenon beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This section also sees bags used as a blank canvas for personal statements and a public platform to share beliefs. Visitors can have a closer look at handbags that have been worn by or associated with high profile figures including Alexa Chung, Princess Margaret, Jackie Kennedy, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, Mr Bags, Rihanna, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.

The third section looks at the Design and Making process from sketch to sample, sewing to selling. Objects on display include prototypes, design sketches and mood boards, lifting the lid on the ingenuity and craftsmanship employed by leading brands and fashion houses. Explored through the design process, this section also examines the experimental forms created by designers and artists alike, revealing the bag’s role as an object of whimsical subversion. Finally, a Makers’ Table allows visitors to get up close and personal with bag making processes and materials.

Featured international designers and fashion houses include Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Cartier, Celine, Chanel, Christian Dior, Fendi, Versace, Gucci, Hermès, Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Moynat, Off-White, Prada, Saint Laurent, Thom Browne, Tod's, Valextra and more.

Find out more at:

.'Fabergé Egg', evening bag, by Judith Leiber, 1983, US. Museum no. T.511-1997. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

.Lemière, opera bag and contents, about 1910, France. Museum no. T.219 to F-1965. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

.‘Sac Malette’ Bag, by Hermès, 1968, France. Museum no. T.167-2019. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

.'Baguette' worn by Carrie Bradshaw in ‘Sex and the City’ when mugged, by Fendi, 1997, Italy. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

.Letter case, c.1810, England. Museum no. T.18-2013. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

.'I'm not a plastic bag' tote bag, by Anya Hindmarch, 2007, UK. Museum no. T.176-2019 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London