the more you know the less you need

the more you know the less you need

Lighten Up

Lighten Up

Purse Blog recently asked its readers how they knew when a handbag was THE ONE (post here).

Buying a bag is a big investment, and no matter how carefully you consider and choose, you really don’t know if the model you’ve been lusting over will be a long-term love or not until you actually use it. What you once thought was your Holy Grail Handbag, can turn out to be an expensive mistake. Instagram and YouTube are breeding grounds for bag envy and obsession.

Image via Purse Blog
Image via Purse Blog

However, a handbag is a personal thingas much an emotional decision as a practical oneand, in the end, the only opinion that really matters is your own.

I think you’ve found The One when you adore everything about the bag (no if only’s); carrying it makes you feel fabulous; and ultimately, when you want it in other sizes and colours.

I have two The Ones—the Whitney, by MaxMara; and the Boogie Bag by Céline . The score:

  • 8 Whitney (Update: now 9
  • 4 Boogie

Including this very rare crocodile Boogie which is ultra-elegant.


Architectural and structured, the Whitney tote comes in three sizes (large, medium, and mini) and many shades. Introduced in 2015 to celebrate the opening of the new Whitney Museum of American Art in downtown New York City, the bagand the buildingwere designed by architect Renzo Piano. The steel grey, limited edition Whitney handbag (mine here) echos the metal façade of the exterior of the building.

Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Karin Jobst
Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Karin Jobst

One year later, Max Mara and Renzo Piano Building Workshop collaborated again to produce an Anniversary Edition handbag. The design pays homage to Whitney founder and style icon, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1912).

…she cultivated a life in the arts, both as a patron and a sculptor.  She founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1931, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art turned down her offer of seven hundred American paintings from her collection in 1929.

The World of Gloria Vanderbilt, Wendy Goodman

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney by Smithsonian Institution, via Flickr
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney by Smithsonian Institution, via Flickr


The extraordinarily re-imagined version was inspired by a quintessential image of Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, dressed in an original outfit by  Léon Bakst , costume designer of the Ballets Russes.



Mrs. Whitney is depicted in a 1914 sketch by John Singer Sargent wearing this iconic outfit: a pair of harem pants and an ivory tunic with a jet black beaded pattern of flowers and leaves.

 John Singer Sargent, 1914
John Singer Sargent, 1914

It was one of her favourite outfits and she can be seen wearing it in a number of other artworks, including a photograph by Baron Adolph de Meyer and a painting by Robert Winthrop Chanler. 

Baron Adolph de Meyer
Baron Adolph de Meyer, published in American Vogue, January 15, 1913
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney by Adolf de Meyer ca 1913
Adolf de Meyer ca 1913
Howard Gardiner Cushing, ‘Portrait of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’ in Leon Bakst costume.
Howard Gardiner Cushing, ‘Portrait of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’ 

In honour of Mrs. Whitney, the Whitney Bag Anniversary Edition incorporates two decorative motifs within two different handbag renditions. The leaf and flower are reproduced using a special relief technique that was applied to the original Whitney Bag design. 

Image via MaxMara
Image via MaxMara

Two motifs: one unifying colour: a refined pearl shade reminiscent of the long pearl necklace Gertrude is wearing in the portrait by Baron Adolph de Meyer.

~ The Whitney

Baron De Meyer
Baron de Meyer


Crafted in Italy, only 400 Anniversary Bags in each style were released. Unsurprisingly, the limited edition bags sold out.

The Whitney handbag melds art, architecture, and fashion.


The Whitney—even the 8th—is still The One.


MaxMara Limited Edition Anniversary Bag purchased from TheRealReal; MaxMara Whitney here;  Whitney Museum of Modern Art; Quotehere;  The World of Gloria VanderbiltAmazon

Céline Crocodile Boogie Bag purchased from Vestiaire Collective


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