Historical information

The Kew Historical Society's Fashion & Design collection includes a small and representative collection of reticules, purses and handbags, purchased, inherited or collected by members of the Society. These items date from the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries, and conform to fashions and styles popular during the period of their use. Some of the items are handmade, while others are mass-produced commercial products. This handbag was donated by Dione McIntyre.


The McIntyre Collection of clothing and clothing accessories forms one of the largest single donations to our Fashion & Design collection. It includes clothing and clothing accessories worn by four women in the Cohen and McIntyre families across three generations. The items worn by Melbourne architect, and Kew resident, Dione McIntyre date from the 1960s and 1970s, and include evening wear, day wear, hats and shoes. As Dione McIntyre often accompanied her husband, fellow architect Peter McIntyre, to formal events, there are a number of pieces of evening wear among the items. The McIntyre Collection also includes items worn by women of an earlier generation: by Lilian Cohen, Dione McIntyre's mother, and by her mother-in-law, the wife of the architect Robert McIntyre. At the other end of the chronological spectrum are a number of outfits belonging to, worn and donated by Annie McIntyre. These include outfits created by notable late 20th century Australian and/or international fashion designers. The McIntyre Collection is significant historically and artistically as it includes examples of design that demonstrate changing tastes in fashion over an 80-year period. The collection is also significant in that it includes the work of a large number of Melbourne designers from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Physical description

Evening purse of gilded mesh with brass frame and chain handle. The base of the bag features a mesh fringe. The clasp includes a faceted red glass gem.