When she was a child Ilene Hochberg Wood was given her first “little girl” purse – and the magic began. “I was entranced,” said the fashion authority and author, “and that’s when I began my personal journey.”
Wood now owns the largest private collection of handbags in America – 3,000 and growing. More than 400 of these exquisite pieces of art will be exhibited in three Bethlehem museums. She believes bags offer “a coded message.”The exhibit, PURSEonality, opens tomorrow and will continue through April 30. It features Wood’s signature collection of purses, clutches and handbags spanning three centuries. The multi-site exhibition basically traces the transformation of the handbag from its beginnings as a useful accessory to today’s fashion statement.