INSPIRED IN MILITARY KNAPSACKS, THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE OF CROSS-BODY BAGS IS TO ALLOW FOR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT. THEY CAN BE LARGE OR MINI, WITH STRONG AND RESISTANT HANDLES; BRIEFCASES, DRAWSTRING BAGS, YOU NAME IT.
They are functional and have secret, safe pockets. Their clasp, zip, and magnet closure keep your belongings safe at all times, without getting lost in the daily hustle and bustle.
Vintage cross-body bags come in various leathers and materials. Exotic skins were still used given their flexibility. Snakeskin, tortoise, crocodile, lizard, ostrich, and eel skin were hand-sewn, with rustic finishes. Patchwork was often used, since the pieces could be put together without following the pattern given by the animal’s shape and, thus, to cover a greater area. Exotic skins were frequently combined with traditional leathers such as cowhide, calfskin, and lambskin. Goatskin, for instance, is compact and nice to the touch, in addition to being very resistant. For that reason, it was used as a support to attach finer skins or to seal them with decorative trimmings. Straps were also made of traditional leather in order to avoid peeling caused by friction.
Upholstery and knitted fabrics were also very appropriate to make resistant handbags. Nylon, for many years considered low quality material, regained popularity in the 70’s for its modern and industrial qualities. The same happened with the plastic version of patent leather and with synthetic leathers, which allowed for colourful, light, and functional items. The Arts and Crafts movement resurfaced at this time. Designers were playing again with handmade decorations such as patterns, hand painted art, fringes, trimmings, studs, tassels…
Metal mesh was very expensive and heavy. This is why it is not very common to find cross-body bags made of mesh, unless they are miniatures. However, it may be included in small quantities as a mere ornament, just as beads and stones and intricate embroidery such as Petit Point.
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