Timeless Treasures, ah the vintage bag, the ultimate status symbol. These bags ooze class and individual personal style.
What a magical thrill to go rummaging through thrift stores (namely the once AMAZING Steinberg & Tolkien on The King's Road, London, which I will get to later!) only to find an amazing vintage bag! I have done this in the past and
still ressurrect these awesome wondrous wonders for special nights out. There is one fabby advantage for collecting these heirlooms and that is, to pass them on to your daughters or in my case my lucky God-Child! Your children will thank you for them.......in
time! My tip here would be to NEVER throw out a handbag you spent good money on, store it away and someone will definitely thank you for it in 20 years time! What an enviable collection of exquisite bags you will have to share.
The 1950's was a golden age in handbag design, an Age of Elegance, there was so many new styles, sophisticated or chunky - you name it! very decorated baskets and boxes with unusual materials like straw, metal, wood. Bags with short handles
ruled the day in the 50's (always love to see these in old movies) and envelope styles and clutches for evening wear.
There were even some styles with detachable watches, clip on umbrellas and even then a battery run light to see inside!
- (no iphones back then, OF COURSE!)
Often these treasures can show up in Christie's or Sothebys but be prepared to delve deep into your purses!
or you could try flea markets, and thrift shops too, these thrift shop finds are for a fraction
of the price of their worth and are truly such exciting pulse-quickening purchases that can definitely keep you smiling all day long!
Also in the 1950's Bakelite and Lucite box bags made by American manufacturers in New York and
Florida were really sought after.
Bakelite & Lucite bags were sometimes carved, and made with jewels, painted or embedded with glitter, and some very chunky ones too, these chunky ones are the more
valuable and especially if the original maker's label is still intact inside the bag. They cost then about $50 and in the fifties, this was a fortune, still today these are highly sought-after items among collectors of vintage bags/accessories and I feel sure
collectors are still thrilled to bag such a find.
I happen to own one of the amaZing chain mail metallic bags that were popular in the 50's, these metal mesh bags were revived from the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth
centuries. They were made of tiny metal discs that created an overall chain mail effect. The American firm Whiting and Davis made the very best of these, signing their bags on the clasps. Of course many copies and similar bags to be found of this style
but not many originals. A truly elevating experience for handbag lovers, if you ever come upon one of those authentic lucky thrifty finds!
Steinberg & Tolkien - Kings Road, London
I feel this is worthy of a mention and of some interest to vintage lovers world-wide.
Sadly this London landmark, home to the city's largest vintage clothing collection, closed down on 24th September 2007. A favourite of designers, celebrities
and fashion editors, it was a real mixed bag, offering clothes from 1890 to 1990, with prices swerving from £10 to a few thousand for clothes, costume jewellery and a large couture collection. Anne Steinberg and Tracy Tolkien, a mother-and-daughter team,
give the shop its famous doubled-barreled name. Ossie Clarke was among the celebrity shoppers - there were rails dedicated to him - and the dressing up box feel of the place appealed to present day designers too; Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and John
Galliano were just a few. A sad day indeed when the store closed down. Every self respecting fashionista knew about this great shop on the King's Road, London} - which was a cave of treasures if ever there was one. I still pull out a 1920's black
satin & lace full length formal skirt I found there in 2005 and I just adore it.
In the 1950's The Hermes Kelly bag was a 1950's high-class classic. Hermes Kelly bags were made mostly of calf-skin but they were
also available in ostrich, lizard, and crocodile. It was inspired, like the Chanel 2.55 by the equestrian world as a fashionable take on the traditional saddlebag used for riding. The design dated back to the 1930's even and was known then as the "sac
haut courroies". When Grace Kelly appeared in Life Magazine in 1956 carrying a large version of the Hermes classic, reportedly to hide her pregnant tummy, the bag was then renamed the "Kelly bag". Vintage examples command serious prices at auctions,
while finding a bargain in a flea market for one of these, is next to impossible and would be like winning the vintage jackpot! These bags with their handmade, handstitched, super high quality, will always be a sound investment, even when purchased for a high
price at a top retail store.
Closer to home, the oldest thrift store in Dublin today is Jenny Vander now on Drury Street, Dublin, moved from Georges Arcade, go have a rummage, you are sure to find something
I hope you enjoyed going back in time with me in this old blog!
"Elegance is the only beauty that never fades"