It is no accident that they are called carpet bags. This travelling bag with short handles was originally made using the still usable remnants of old rugs. Hence their name and the characteristic floral pattern that typically adorns such bags.
Carpet bags became popular in the mid-19th century, in parallel to the rise of railway travel. This new class of rail passengers required luggage that was cheap and durable. Indeed, carpet bags were the first type of luggage to be mass-produced.
That is why we see a defiant Mary Poppins, in the film of the same name, carrying a carpet bag on the day of her arrival at the Banks’ house. And it’s easy to see why: in 1910s England, everyone owned one of these bags! Of course, what this bag made of carpet remnants contained was quite improbable: objects such as a floor lamp or a house plant. But this is the magic of cinema: making the fantastic real.
A century later, carpet bags continue to inspire both luxury brands (this brings to mind the Hysteria Bag by Gucci) as well as DIY devotees who love all that is retro. Whatever the case may be, these large, sturdy but delicately floral patterned bags will continue to be our trusted companions for years to come and carrying with them a story that is certainly interesting.
*Pictures by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art & Disney