Kate Spade: Contents

Kate Spade: Contents
Helen Gurley Brown
Polly A. Mellen
Kim Garner
Susan Morrison
A.M. Homes
Kitty D'Alessio
Mary Ellen Mark

It’s what’s inside that counts. Haven’t we always known that? And, yet, when we first came across Kate Spade’s 2000 coffee-table book Contents, we were shocked by just how much we could gather about a woman by the contents of her purse. (That's a certain sort of "inside," right?) Chalk it up to great market research on Spade’s part, but the book of intimate portraits of our female heroes (Polly Mellen, Mary Boone, Susan Morrison, etc) is as much of who’s-who as it is a guide to being a successful modern woman. Especially when it comes to personal maintenance. No matter how minimalist the woman, not a single handbag was free of a touch-up tool, be it Binaca or Chanel lipstick. And though the tome was published more than 13 years ago—when the Kate Spade Reena was THE accessory [Ed. note: Boxy bags are back, so consider breaking yours out?]—very few of the objects photographed would look out of place in our bags today (we’re kind of dying to try “The Minimalist’s Paella” recipe from the New York Times that Susan Morrison carries with her), save for the flip cell phones, the SPF count (50 is the new 8), and OK, maybe the Leonard Cohen VHS.

So, yes, we learned a lot from this limited-edition production, both when it first came out and when we re-discovered it just a few weeks ago—for example, Helen Gurley Brown took the bus. Here, we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite 'women of content,' and more importantly, what's in their bag(s).

000001: Helen Gurley Brown, Editor
USA Flag Estée Lauder Compact
Leopard print tissues
Fran Wilson Muted Brown Luxury Liner
Black Philip Kingsley comb
Gale Hayman Hot Coral Lipstick
Lancôme Flamelle Lipstick
Never in her handbag? “Pills.”

000003: Mary Boone, Gallerist
Chanel Intensity 3 Light Beige Double Perfection Makeup Compact SPF 8
Chanel Tawny Lipstick
Chanel Aqua Crayon Color Stick
Chanel Cognac Color Stick
Never in her handbag? “Clutter.”

000004: Polly Mellen, Stylist
Oral B Oral Hygiene implement
Goody comb
Louis Vuitton cosmetics case
Revlon nail file with tortoise handle
Medicated ChapStick
Binaca Peppermint Spray
YSL Gris Deco Nail Polish
NARS Triple X Lip Gloss
Never in her handbag? N/A

000016: Kim Garner, former Senior Vice President of marketing & artist development, Universal Republic Records
La Perla Body Silk Eau de Parfum
Stila Chinois Eyeshadow
Philosophy Sun Bronze
Philosophy Kiss Me Lip Balm
Goody Hair Brush
Sweet Breath Spearmint Concentrated Spray
Stila Mood Eyeshadow
Essie Pretty in Pink nail polish
Stila Convertible Color Compact
Stila Bouquet Eyeshadow
Lancôme Definicils Mascara
Bobbi Brown Navy Eyeshadow
Never in her handbag? “A gun.”

000025: Susan Morrison, Fashion editor for The New Yorker
Dermabelle Elisabeth of Hungary Moisturizer
Chanel Cocoa Lipstick
Trish McEvoy No. 40 Lip Color
Mustela Sunblock SPF 16
Mason Pearson Brush
Never in her handbag? “A mirror."

000030: A.M. Homes, Writer
Artificial Tears
Mason Pearson brush
Vitamin E Sunblock Lip Balm
Never in her handbag? “Mice.”

000031: Kitty D’Alessio, Fashion, retail, fragrance, and cosmetics consultant
Trish McEvoy “1” Compact Dual Powder
Round pink nail buffer
Black bobby pins
Round tortoise mirror
Mackenzies smelling salts
Purell Mini Sanitizer
Crabtree and Evelyn Citrus Lotion
Rembrandt Dazzling Breath Drops
Frédéric Fekkai Tortoise Brush
Estée Lauder Gemini Lucidity Compact
Trish McEvoy “2” Eye Pencil
Maybelline Gray Expert Eyes Pencil
Mini Toothrush
Butler Gum Toothpaste
Trish McEvoy Romantic Pink Lipstick
Trish McEvoy “17” Lip Pencil
Never in her handbag? “Personal financial papers.”

000046: Mary Ellen Mark, Photographer
White Tic-Tacs
Alexandre de Paris Brush
DeLuxe comb
Never in her handbag? N/A

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Chantel

    I love this!

  • Stacey Nishimoto

    this is so rad

  • ikillplants

    I know the "what's in your bag" feature has been done to death in books and magazines, but it seems like the quintessential thing for ITG. I mean, c'mon. It's like a Top Shelf, but on the go! Is this idea too generic to have wings? Puh-leeze?

    • unvanquished

      I totally agree. It is always one of my favorite things in magazines or on blogs.

    • mermaidsdream

      Thirded! I'd love to see this.

  • http://www.beautibop.com/ Rebecca

    Some of those ladies keep a lot of trash in their bags! haha. Now I don't feel so bad about all of my receipts!


  • CarolinaG

    Love your blog!

    I'm posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:


  • Brittany

    What a fantastic post. I would love to see a regular feature like this on ITG.

  • Ana

    man! those cellphones!

  • Lana

    I get so crazy about my own handbag when there are all of these little items floating about. I am all about multiple cases within a handbag. Cheers to organization.

  • Amber

    Yes, please! I have the "Things We Love" coffee table book and it is so fun to look at.

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Kate Spade
Kate Spade Contents
Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas Small Wapity Case Wristlet
Binaca Aeroblast 150 Breath Spray, Peppermint
kate spade new york
kate spade new york 'charlotte street – reena' shoulder bag Black
Lancome Le Lipstique Lip-Colouring Stick with Brush
Chanel Double Perfection Natural Matte Powder Makeup SPF 10
Chanel Aqua Crayon Lip Colour Stick
Goody Start. Style. Finish. Comb Value Pack
ChapStick Medicated Skin Protectant External Analgesic Lip Balm
La Laque Couture
NARS Lip Gloss Triple X
La Perla Body Silk
La Perla Body Silk: Velvet Body Lotion LOTION
stila eyeshadow compact Chinois
Goody Start. Style. Finish. Paddle Brush
Sweet Breath
Sweet Breath Drops, Breath Fresheners, Spearmint
Lancôme Definicils Waterproof High Definition Mascara
Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion
Broad Spectrum Mineral Sun Stick
Walgreens Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops
Banana Boat
Banana Boat Aloe Vera with Vitamin E Sunscreen Lip Balm
Tic Tac
Tic Tac Singles
Trish McEvoy
Trish McEvoy Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 15
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refereshing Gel – 8 fl oz (6 Pack)
Crabtree & Evelyn
Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange Body Lotion
Fekkai Classic Brush
Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder Limited Edition Zodiac Gemini Compact
Trish McEvoy
Trish McEvoy 'Classic' Eye Pencil
Trish McEvoy
Trish McEvoy Glaze Lip Color
Trish McEvoy
Trish McEvoy 'Essential' Lip Pencil