A Museum of Handbags
A new museum of handbags opened in Seoul, South Korea in July 2012 in a building shaped like a handbag: yes, handbags in a handbag. Officially called the Simone Handbag Museum, this new cultural institution was created by Kenny Park, the CEO of Simone Handbags and was developed and curated by Judith Clark, a professor from the London School of Fashion. Pulling in talent as well as collection pieces from across the globe to be gathered in the Gangnam district of Seoul, it is fair to say that expectations are very high for this new museum. The Simone Handbag Museum is much more than just a collection of ‘it-bags’ from across the world, it is a reflection of the growth of the Asian fashion market as well as the integration of fashion into cultural history all over the world.
Location, Location, Location
It should be no surprise to anyone that follows Asian fashion and Korean affairs that this new museum was erected in the Gangnam district of Seoul. Over the past 20 years, this district of Seoul has come to be one of the most dynamic and affluent areas in all of Asia. While many businesses recognize the power of this district, recent developments like the pop craze of ‘gangnam style’ and the revival of Seoul’s fashion week in November 2012 are putting Seoul and the Gangnam district on the fashion and cultural map. The location of the Simone Handbag Museum reiterates this trend that Seoul is shaping up to be next place to find modern trends, runway fashion and luxury couture.
The Handbag and its History
When it comes to what’s inside the museum, the collection is so much more than just a public showroom for the latest designs from Gucci, Prada, and Fendi. This collection contains pieces from all over from world from 1600 to present that are important to the design and artistic developments of the iconic accessory. Many design museums seek to do the same thing, and the new handbag museum is no exception to this: they all seek to help people gain a deeper understanding of the subject at hand so that the present and future can learn from the innovations of the past. Judith Clark, the developer and curator has said that the museum will also act as “an archive that will benefit future generations of design students in Seoul”. However, more than just a tool for design students, the museum also seeks to shine light on the history of women, women’s role’s in society, and fashion.
The Simone Handbag Museum not only fulfills the museums objective of being “a historical collection of international significance”, but it is also an example of the best of Korean modern architectural design. Whether you see the new museum as a catalyst or reflection of recent developments in the Asian fashion and culture world, it is undeniably an important development for the city of Seoul.