Article: Bags From The Christmas Movies
Bags From The Christmas Movies
When it's cold and dark by 4.30 pm, we take it as a sign to snuggle down with a movie. We’ve reached December, and that means Christmas films!
We’ve hunkered down at home with some of our favourite Christmas movies. As always, we’ve kept a sharp eye on the clothes, particularly the handbags on display, and what they say about the characters carrying them.
So, without further ado, welcome to bags on film, the Christmas edition.
White Christmas (1954)
Kicking things off with a true classic, 1954’s White Christmas. Starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as the ex-servicemen turned song-and-dance men who encounter Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen’s sister act, White Christmas is a feast for the eyes and ears.
The fashions are as fabulous as the joyous musical numbers, and the sisters have a gorgeous array of handbags and luggage.
We first see the sisters getting ready, then performing ‘Sisters’ in matching blue outfits and huge feathered fans. Once changed into evening clothes, each carries a bedazzled clutch bag in a shade that perfectly compliments her dress - white for Betty (Clooney) and pale pink for Judy (Vera-Ellen).
When Phil (Kaye) gives the men’s train tickets to the ladies to prolong their time together and play matchmaker, they emerge from the carriage with only one simple black handbag between them. This reinforces their song lyrics about never being separated. Betty, as the older sister, is in charge of the bag, but it is Judy who, together with Phil, is planning the future.
Once the decision is made for the men to accompany the ladies to Vermont rather than head on to New York as planned, we are treated to some seriously stylish luggage. While Betty carries a large grey baguette bag along with her suitcases, Judy has a matching set of what looks like Jaguar or leopard skin/fur bags.
We don’t advocate the use of fur at Sophie Summer, but in the context of the film’s 1954 setting, the bags again hint that Judy may be the younger sister, but she is the bolder and perhaps wilder of the pair.
The film ends with the happy foursome wearing the iconic red velvet Santa outfits shown on the movie poster. As in previous period pieces, the accessories here are large fluffy white muffs. Muffs acted as a cross between mittens and a handbag, often incorporating space for a compact, a small amount of money and lipstick. They aren't traditional handbags, but they’re too fabulously festive not to mention!
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Starring Mara Wilson as Susan Walker and Richard Attenborough (as possibly the best Santa ever seen on screen), Miracle on 34th Street is a 1994 remake of the 1947 tale.
Everyone is well dressed in this movie, albeit some of the outfits are very of the time. From Susan’s adorable tartan ensembles to Bryan (Dylan McDermott)'s three-piece suits it is evident that these people are well off.
Susan’s mother Dorey (Elizabeth Perkins), always looks immaculate, with smokey bronzed eyeshadow, skirt suits and impeccable long coat and crossbody bag combinations.
The first is a navy coat with a small camel leather crossbody bag and perfectly matching gloves. The gold tassel on the front of the bag adds a playful yet lux touch.
Later, we see this combination reversed, navy bag and gloves, camel coat.
Camel is timeless and the Wicker Wings Kuai crossbody handbag in camel vegetable-tanned leather is ideal for smart sophisticated women of the 2020s.
When we meet her Dorey is in control, perfectly presented but a tad uptight. She doesn’t allow her young daughter to believe in Father Christmas and keeps Bryan at arm’s length.
At the end of the film, she has embraced the Christmas spirit, and Bryan, at least enough to go along with an unplanned spur-of-the-moment wedding!
This softening and acceptance of the magic of Christmas is reflected in her choice of deep green bag, gloves and matching scarf. Green is also the colour of new life signalling Susan’s Christmas gift that is ‘on the way’ a baby brother.
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Bridget Jones’s Diary may not be a traditional Christmas movie, but it spans almost a year, beginning on New Year’s Eve and ending close to Christmas. As such, it has become associated with the festive period. From Mark Darcy’s ‘terrible’ Christmas jumper and tie to Bridget’s red Christmas pyjamas there is plenty of festive fashion on display.
We accompany Bridget to her mother’s annual turkey curry buffet New Year’s Eve party, where she arrives at her parent’s house with mismatched bags.
We learn that Bridget ‘works’ in publishing, and carries a bag big enough to take home book samples and the materials necessary for the press releases Daniel Cleaver is so dismissive of. It is dark, large and rather nondescript, possibly hinting at how Bridget sees herself.
In contrast, Shaz’s bag is bright red, large and leather. It is the bag of a woman who likes to swear and draw attention to herself.
Bridget’s mother ‘a relic’ has a small handbag in the same shade as her skirt suits. This matchy-matchy ‘queen mother’ look was very popular with ladies of her generation.
But back to Bridget. She is about to travel light (passport, Bridget, and pants!) when her friends surprise her with a trip to Paris until she gets a better offer from a certain Mr Darcy.
With her job at the TV station promising to take her to many exciting places, we think a bucket bag may be the best option for Bridget going forward. The CHILA BAGS handwoven Toyko Gold bucket is large enough to carry a dictaphone, notepad, ‘ciggies’, and more, leaving Bridget hands-free to climb a fire pole or tackle any challenge.
The Holiday (2006)
The main protagonists of The Holiday are gorgeous 30-something women with proper adult jobs and messy personal lives.
Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet), a wedding columnist, is in unrequited love with her heartless colleague, who uses her for validation and notes on his book. Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) is a film trailer editor who has just kicked out her unfaithful boyfriend and realised she probably never loved him. In desperation, they decide to swap houses and lives for two weeks over Christmas.
Both are literally weighed down by excess baggage at different points in the film.
Iris takes her work home (or rather Jasper’s ) in multiple big black bags overflowing with papers.
But meeting Miles (Jack Black) and Arthur (Eli Wallach) helps her let go of Jasper, and when we next see her with a bag in the video shop, it is tiny, delicately tucked under her arm. She is still wearing a scarf, but now it is slim and decorative rather than to keep her warm - she's lost the excess baggage and doesn’t need a comforter.
The ILHA Francesa rattan handbag would bridge the gap between Iris’ Surrey-based reality and newfound LA confidence, allowing her to carry her essentials without being weighed down.
Amanda is forced to drag her heavy luggage up the lengthy pathway in the snow, in heels (impressive) to Iris’s picturesque cottage. Overwhelmed with the dramatic differences in how Iris lives (and driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road) Amanda treats herself to a bottle or two of wine and a stunning selection of party food.
Like Amanda’s gigantic LA house, her handbag is aggressively big and white with a large shiny buckle.
But her relationship with Graham (Jude Law) opens her up and wears down her hard edges.
We think Amanda would love the Juanma Tassel Tote. It's still large enough to carry whatever she needs but softer and slightly more playful than her leather tote. Perfect for a soon-to-be stepmum.
Tote bags are a big thing in the film. Maggie, the actress, carries a brown squashy studded leather tote, which is beautiful like her, but, perhaps also only on the surface.
We hope you have enjoyed this festive edition of bags from the movies and maybe even got some ideas for your Christmas style.
We’re signing off for the year now, but we’re excited to bring you lots more in 2024. Including a mega clearance sale in January, so keep your eyes peeled.
In the meantime, there is still time to purchase that unique gift for someone special or even treat yourself! Check out our current collection of ethically made handbags.
We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Sophie Summer.