By Elly van Zutphen

Jubileum tassen- en schoenenontwerpster Hester van Eeghen

Anniversary of bag and shoe designer Hester van Eeghen

Have you ever been in a bag yourself? Now you can experience that because you can step into a giant bag through the front pocket and travel through the wonderful world of Hester van Eeghen. From November 10, 2018, to February 25, 2019, both the design and the interior of the bag are central during the exhibition ‘The bag as theater’ in the Museum of bags and purses. All because of the 30-year anniversary of bag and shoe designer Hester van Eeghen.

Jubileum tassen- en schoenenontwerpster Hester van Eeghen

Pop-up book

It is not only an exhibition to celebrate this anniversary. Together with the famous American pop-up artist David Carter, Hester created the pop-up book ‘One Thousand and One Handbags’. A masterly book that shows the passion of Hester on 8 double pages – from birth to farewell to life through ingenious pop-ups.


It started with small pieces of leather

“My love for bags and shoes is in my DNA,” says Hester. “As a child, I was fascinated by my mother’s shoes, my grandmother’s bags and I could not walk through a shop window without studying the bags and shoes that were displayed. During my studies, I made all my own designs. It started with stitching together small pieces of leather. I made bags and I sold them on Queen’s Day. That was my first success. It only really started after a trip to India, a gift from my parents. I had leather goods made on the basis of my drawings and there was a lot of interest in that.

Jubileum tassen- en schoenenontwerpster Hester van Eeghen

Hesters brother visited her at that time in her student room, which was fully packed with bags. It was time for a store and shortly afterlong after he came up with Hartenstraat nr. 1 in Amsterdam.

Origami as an example

Hester: “That became my first store and I will never leave! The second building where I mainly sell bags is in the same street at number 37. Meanwhile, I get my leather from Italy, where my bags are produced. I am still a bit of a nineteenth-century type. I want to distinguish, using the most beautiful leather and not make a mass product. My predilection for Japanese Origami art can be found in my designs. I make all prototypes myself, first from paper and then the leather follows. Every model that is taken into production is executed in four colors. Two steady colors and two dangerous colors. The funny thing is that the color in which the prototype is executed always sells the best “.

Jubileum tassen- en schoenenontwerpster Hester van Eeghen

Oprah also owns a Van Eeghen

The bags from Hester end up all over the world. She visits fairs annually. In France, Germany and in N.Y. Americans also love her designs. With some pride she shows the bag that Oprah Winfrey bought. “Americans love color, they love surprises. I notice that in the store, but also when I am there. I see the bag as a prop, a bag is something personal, it gets a soul by using it and is often a reflection of the user.”

Jubileum tassen- en schoenenontwerpster Hester van Eeghen

Her bags are represented in various museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she met pop-up artist David Carter. For her first book of Hester, he designed the pop-up in the middle of the book. Hester: “Then we thought that a book with multiple pop-ups would be great. That has now succeeded for my 30-year jubilee! David told me “You do the telling and I do the cutting.” I have uncovered my soul and illustrated all the qualities that are important to me in life. ”


During the exhibition in the Museum of bags and purses, the visitor can answer a few questions after the tour at the psychological scales and thus receive a personal character description. And you can see here the most remarkable designs of the past thirty years.

Jubileum tassen- en schoenenontwerpster Hester van Eeghen

The pop-up book One Thousand and One Handbags by Idea Books
ISBN 9780997785531