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Last summer I journeyed to Amsterdam to visit the world’s largest handbag museum, Tassenmuseum Hendrikje. The museum originated with the personal handbag collection of Hendrikje and Heinz Ivo. In 1996, the couple put their unique handbags on display in their home in Amstelveen and opened it to anyone who admired them. The collection eventually required more space and was relocated to a seventeenth century canal house in Amsterdam. There are currently over five thousand pieces on display, including historical and celebrity bags, clothing, and fashion accessories. The oldest bag in the museum dates back to the sixteenth century and was originally designed for a man. Constructed of goatskin, it contains eighteen compartments- some of which are secret.

During my visit, there was a fascinating art exhibit of bag concepts created by students from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. The students were asked to design what they thought handbags would look like in the future. When I first heard about this exhibit and contemplated the idea, my imagination carried me to visions of...

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What’s the big deal about handbags, and why are they so popular? Handbags were originally designed for men and women to carry personal items before the invention of pockets and have been around for centuries. Grace Kelly once used a Hermes handbag to hide her pregnancy from the public. The bag, subsequently known as “The Kelly Bag”, became a sensation among the world’s elite. Jackie Kennedy was often photographed carrying her favorite Gucci handbags. Gucci eventually named one of its handbags after her. Expensive handbags have become status symbols of success and achievement and are at the top of the list for requested gift items.

Handbags are so much more than decorative eye candy for the arms. Handbags are our helpers. Those of us who are moms and dads need more than the two hands we were given, as we are not just carrying items for ourselves but also for our children. In our growing world of technology, many of us carry our office with us every day. We need to transport our files and equipment, and we rely on bags to help us do these things....

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We previously shared the stories of two young women in our Atlanta community, Mel Boteri and Emilee Riley, who showed tremendous courage in their endeavors. We wish them continued success.

Belle Marisse would like to spotlight positive and inspirational stories of women in our communities who inspire other women. Is there a woman in your life who has gone above and beyond to help others? Do you know someone who has had to overcome a great deal of adversity to achieve success? We want to hear from you! We periodically will be sharing stories on our blog of exceptional individuals who have shown exemplary character, determination, and perseverance in overcoming obstacles to become strong and successful. Belle Marisse would like to honor and share the stories of those women who inspire others and who are role models for women everywhere.

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