Unforgettable, that’s what you are …

ESSE founder and purse collector extraordinaire Anita Davis sees purses as a representation and extension of a woman. After 25 years of collecting bags, she has too many favorites to pick just one – she loves them all and loves what they represent. Photo by Nancy Nolan

ESSE founder and purse collector extraordinaire Anita Davis sees purses as a representation and extension of a woman. After 25 years of collecting bags, she has too many favorites to pick just one – she loves them all and loves what they represent. Photo by Nancy Nolan

When it comes to love, you always remember the one that got away – unless you’re lucky enough still to have the love of your life on your arm.

Either way, you remember it well, that special bag that carried you through life as you carried it on your shoulder or in your hand.

With that image in mind, a few ESSE staffers reminisce about love affairs with their darling companions.

“My favorite bag is actually a 29-inch by 22-inch black portfolio case that was provided to all the students at the Art Institute of Seattle. It came with a starter kit of art supplies needed for the required classes. I’ll never forget the excitement and joy I felt when I first got it. I actually remember having butterflies in my stomach when I first unzipped it.

“As a struggling poor art student, I had no car and had to use public transportation. I walked just about everywhere I went, and if you know anything about Seattle there are many steep hills (almost as bad as San Francisco). I had to carry this bag everywhere I went strapped over my shoulder in lots of rain, snow, sleet and very strong winds. And, let me tell you, when this bag caught a gust of wind, sometimes I would be thrown back a few steps. It was quite a sight to see.

“I still have and use this bag today. Though worn and battered it reminds me of all the hard work, determination and wonderful memories I have of living in Seattle.”

— Steven Otis, art director

“I had a hand-me-down caramel-colored nylon Espirit messenger bag that was my all-time favorite bag. I wore it so long and hard that I had to repair it three or four times, and my daughter carried it for a long time after I’d finally let it go.

“It was just a perfect bag, in a perfect color.”

— Lara Kahler, museum store manager

“My grandmother had a Dolce & Gabbana purse that I wanted immediately when I saw it. I told her every time I saw her that I wanted it when she was through with it. I think I waited five years to get that purse. By then, it was all tattered and beaten.

“I used it until it completely fell apart. I would still carry that purse if it was alive.”

— Morgan Hill, museum store shop girl

“I adored the frilly, feminine Easter purses I had as a little girl. And my red-plaid book satchel in early elementary school – very Sally Draper, for you Mad Men fans – was the love of my life for a while. But my favorite bag to this day is an army-green military-style canvas shoulder bag that I bought at a luggage shop in the mid-1970s.

“Very unfeminine, highly functional, slightly counter-culture and laden with memories. I wore it out, but I’d buy a replica in a heartbeat.”

 — Laura Cartwright Hardy, wordsmith

How about you? Please tell us about the bags that make your heartbeats quicken. Are you still together? If not, how or why did you part?

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