Can Helen Mirren Make the Queen’s Handbag Famous?

Launer London Black "Traviata" Bag
Launer London Black “Traviata” Bag Photo: Selfridges

Queen Elizabeth II has been carrying a black leather “Traviata” handbag by English heritage label Launer London for the past 40 years. However, unlike other high-profile female political figures such as Hillary Rodham Clinton or Michelle Obama, her fondness for a brand doesn’t seem to have the power to make it a household name. In a New York Times piece today, Vanessa Friedman argues that could all change thanks to the bag’s major role in The Audience, Peter Morgan’s play about the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II carries a “Traviata” bag. Photo: Mark Cuthbert/Getty Images

Helen Mirren is currently starring in the Broadway production and Kristin Scott Thomas will lead a West End revival opening later this month; both actresses carry the black Launer bag onstage. Fittingly, because of the play, the brand has recently reissued the black edition of the $2,160 bag (it had been retired a few years back to make way for bright-colored ones). Will pop culture’s overwhelming power prevail here, making Launer’s “Traviata” the envy-inducing bag of the moment? Doubtful, but we’ll see.

Can Helen Mirren Make the Queen’s Purse Famous?