The Embellished Handbag

A Celebration of 250 years of Fashion and Embroidery

‘The Embellished Handbag: A Celebration of 250 years of Fashion and Embroidery’

‘The Embellished Handbag’ is an international project in collaboration with renowned luxury accessory companies to design and produce thirteen unique bags to be auctioned for charity.

The private unveiling of the embellished bags was held at the Victoria and Albert museum in London on February 1st 2017 and they will be making appearances throughout 2017 at special VIP events before they are auctioned by Sotheby’s in December. Funds raised at the auction will be donated to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) and the H&L Prize for Embroidery. Both charities support a key Hand & Lock principle; the desire to encourage, support and mentor young and emerging craftspeople.

Embroidery as an expression of craft, creativity and collaboration is expressed beautifully on these one of a kind, uniquely embellished bags. Each one a is a fusion of the design aesthetic of Hand & Lock and the meticulous craftsmanship of each bag brand, and each bag tells a different story.

On their classic ‘1781 Woodland’, Asprey embraced true British heritage and chose intricate goldwork embroidery. Embracing the Oakleaf motif, a traditional symbol of England, they reflected upon the ancient traditions and iconography of London’s craft community.

The aesthetic of Alfie Douglas is clean and crisp minimalism, effortless looking but executed with great diligence and care. As such they chose a design that recreated the smooth finish of marble rendered in a host of complex embroidery techniques, silkshading, applique and flosswork. The finished embroidered bag is technically complex and yet gracefully simple.

Drawing inspiration from hundreds of sources, each of the thirteen bags has a unique visual identity drawing from the brand’s individual history.

Designer’s involved in the project include Agnes B, Alfie Douglas, Aspinal of London, Asprey, BVS Design, Globe Trotter, House of Holland, Jill Haber, Lost Property of London, Lulu Guinness, Patrick Cox, The Cambridge Satchel Company and Vivienne Westwood.

The bags in the Embellished Handbag project are available for press loans and VIP events. To find out more please contact

If you are interested in purchasing tickets to the gala dinner and charity auction in December please contact

Let Bidding Commence

The Online Auction for the Charity Dinner in aid of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and the Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery is now open

Go to Online Auction
LOST PROPERTY OF LONDON "MINI ELWIN" The Mini Elwin Embroidered Basket is a contemporary take on a LPOL classic bucket bag with Hand & Lock’s embellishments. LPOL’s logo, the magpie, inspired the embroidery in this collaboration. With monochrome geometric lines, and touches of cobalt and green, the hand embroidery sits beautifully with the vegetable-tanned liquorice black leather whilst the goldwork and silver plate work compliment the finely styled hardware.
ASPREY "THE 1781 WOODLAND" Asprey's iconic 1781 handbag with it’s heritage of hand craftsmanship, is epitomised with expanses of goldwork oak leaves and intricate acorns in this collaboration with Hand & Lock. Each detail has been carefully considered and the embroidery design perfectly complements the royal blue seta crocodile of the handbag. Asprey has a long history of using crocodile, a precious material carefully manipulated by Asprey’s artisans, true masters of their craft.
LULU GUINNESS "THE KISS" This bag is an ideal marriage of Lulu Guinness’ trademark red lipstick and Hand & Lock’s traditional use of military style embroidery known as goldwork. Embodying Lulu Guiness' famous pop art style, the design combines traditional techniques and modern glamour. The reverse of the bag features a phrase written by Lulu Guinness that has been transcribed in embroidery using goldwork with alternate strands of red and traditional gold bullion, a gracious nod to the brand’s quirkiness, in harmony with the red leather. A truly iconic embroidery technique and a truly iconic British bag.
HOUSE OF HOLLAND "SONIA" Inspired by it’s debut as a showpiece in the House of Holland AW16 RTW, this embellished bag features eclectic techniques of silk shading, goldwork and 3D bead work in bright colours to highlight the playful design.
AGNES B. "EVENING OVER NIGHT" -The embroidery is inspired by a photograph of Paris by night, taken in a car, by Agnès. The subtle colours and blurred effects of the lights in the photograph are translated in the embroidery using the traditional technique of silk shading.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD "TIGER" Based on the original Tiger bag from the 2001 Vivienne Westwood Collection, the elaborate tiger shape and detail of the bag is accentuated with traditional goldwork, tambour beading, and appliqued chiffon fabric. The highly textured bag uses a wide range of bullions in shades of gold, bronze and copper alongside antique gold and black silk thread. Traditional embroidery techniques applied to fabric from the original Gold Label collection makes this bag one of a kind and rich in heritage.
GLOBE-TROTTER "THE TRAVELER" Inspired by a true story of an air stewardess named Hilary, who adorned her Globe-Trotter bags with reminders of her travels around the world. The bag is embellished with hand embroidered artwork taking inspiration from the memorabilia featured on Hilary’s original bag. Each intricately embroidered badge has elements of goldwork and Swarovski crystals, incorporating contemporary colours to emphasise the beautiful features of the original bag.
The Cambridge Satchel Company "Poppy"
ASPINAL OF LONDON "ENGLISH GARDEN" Part of the Aspinal of London’s Shield Lock Family, the restyled Mayfair bag is a contemporary take on the vintage original. The Hand & Lock embroidery is based on an existing Aspinal design, featuring poppies and butterflies. The exquisite, appliqued motifs are embroidered using hand guided machine, silk shading embroidery to delicately embellish this classic design.
BVS DESIGN "GRAFTON" The embroidery on the bag features the majestic cheetah depicted in goldwork using graphite and grey colours. The image of the cheetah was chosen for the design to raise awareness of the cheetah’s threat of extinction, this is symbolised in the claws breaking through the material as a cry for attention to their predicament.
ALFIE DOUGLAS "MARBLE WONDER" Using ethically sourced, vegetable-tanned calfskin from Italy, Alfie Douglas creates a minimalistic, distinctive, and unisex style for this bag. The Hand & Lock embroidery reflects and evokes the feeling of marble using silk floss threads and appliqued silk.
JILL HABER "THE GUARDIAN" The bag is boldly embroidered in silk embroidery and the traditional goldwork technique. Jill Haber’s signature silhouette “Charles” is emblazoned with the Hamsa amulet. This motif symbolizes protection against evil, strength, good luck and power.
PATRICK COX "THE ROYAL SHOPPER" Patrick Cox's iconic trademark logo, the fleur-de-lis, is featured on this simple canvas tote bag, with traditional goldwork evoking a distinct sense of opulence. With the raw functionality of the bag and the contrastingly lavish logo, linked through history with Royalty, the design celebrates timeless style and craftsmanship.
The Embellished Handbags were exhibited for the first time at the Victoria and albert Museum in February 2017