It’s an almost impossible task to make something that appeals to both ardent feminist leanings and a woman’s softer side, but Deborah Lloyd, the Creative Director of kate spade new york, has managed it with a duo of limited-edition bags.

The work of Lillian Bassman, one of the most distinctive fashion photographers of the 20th century, is the sole inspiration behind these new bags that feature one of her most iconic black-and-white photo prints.

With pictures that belong distinctly to the era of Mad Men, both the Harmony tote ($970) and Little Gia Pouch ($200) slip snugly into the kate spade new york Fall collection, with their vintage theme and meticulously tailored silhouettes evoking the on-screen closets of Betty and Joan.

Having graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar in the 50’s, these dramatic monochromatic portraits, which are so full of expressionistic glamour, have found another medium to keep the Bassman sensibility alive.

Thanks to Lloyd, these visual time capsules can be carried around with you – in cowhide, no less.

The Lillian Bassman collection will be available at all kate spade boutiques end July 2011. kate spade new york is located at #01-23/24, Raffles City, Tel: 6338 0969, and Level 1, Takashimaya Department Store, Ngee Ann City, Tel: 6738 6587.