Leonardo da Vinci is known as an artist, inventor, cartographer, scientist, engineer, anatomist, botanist, writer, and mathematician. Add fashion designer to that list. About 400 years before it become trendy for fashion houses like Bally, Dior, and Louis Vuitton to commission artists to create handbags, Leonardo sketched his own. Although the design, made in 1497, was first published in 1978 by leading Leonardo scholar Carlo Pedretti, who discovered it among the tens of thousands of drawings in da Vinci's 12-volume “Atlantic Codex,” the image remained in obscurity until recently, when Agnese Sabato and Alessandro Vezzosi, director of Museo Ideale (located in Vinci Itali, Leonardo’s birthplace), reassembled the fragmented drawings.
"Leonardo designed several fashion accessories, but this bag is pretty unique, " Vezzosi told Discovery News. "It blends beauty and functionality in a very harmonious way." Florentine fashion house Gherardini (founded by a family said to have Mona Lisa in their bloodline) have recreated the handbag, dubbed the "Pretiosa di Leonardo" (pretiosa used to mean "precious" in Italian), crafting it in fine leather. The reproduction will make its debut on January 10 in conjunction with the Florence fashion trade show Pitti W.
"It's a very chic handbag, very modern in its vintage concept. It is also very functional and capable. Indeed, it embodies the best Florentine tradition of leather work," Lorenzo Braccialini, marketing director of Braccialini, Gherardini’s holding company, told Discovery News.
After its premiere, the "Pretiosa" will be displayed along with drawings, a mechanical drum, and a clock by the Renaissance master at an exhibition curated by Vezzosi and displayed at
the 16th-century l'Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (January 11 to 13).