Monthly Archives: July 2012

In The Swim (1955)

Okay, okay, okay. I have a Pinterest account, right? And I see all the clever ideas and pretty things and want to repin this and that and the other. But I have this thing, this personal code of ethics, wherein I like to actually confirm the information in the caption before forwarding it on to my followers. Judging by the pins I find out have totally erroneous captions, I am in the minority in this way.

S’anyway.

I see this pin. It’s a scan of an old Maurice Handler swimsuit ad. Delightful, pretty swimsuits. But, as usual, the pin is lacking any useful caption and links to a Tumblr page with an equal dearth of detail. (Tumblr is even worse than Pinterest for the rapid-fire spread of misinformation. A total ABSENCE of information is better than WRONG information, though.) So I put on my Bunny Watson hat and start to do some sleuthing. Sleuth sleuth sleuth. I don’t find the specific ad that was pinned, but I do find the below ads, with very similar styles to those I was seeking, all scanned from the June 3, 1955 edition of the Lewiston (Maine) Evening Journal. Enjoy some fun in the sun!

Jantzen “Knit Chine,” 1955

“Vanishing Hips” by Catalina, 1955

Rose Marie Reid “Bloomer Beauty,” 1955

“Stage Business” by Maurice Handler, 1955

If you want to read the entire newspaper, you can find it archived here. Thanks, Google!

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Handbag Week! Day 5 (finally)

Our week of handbags continues, in chronological order. We lingered on the ’40s and ’50s this week, but today, our final day, the pace is back on track. Get ready for a whirlwind of purses bringing us up into the 2000s! Clicking on any image will bring up a somewhat larger view for detail study.

Evening bag with white and green rhinestones, Caméléon, 1960s

Bamboo handbag with textile interior, Italy, 1970s

Brass and velvet box bag, Lou Taylor, 1980s

Round two-tone leather shoulder bag, French Moon, 1996

Leather bucket bag with unique handle, Aisa Lafour, 2003

This wraps up our Handbag series, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’ll be back on Monday with…something!

CREDITS: Photography by Jenna Bascom and Ken Music Photography. All handbags shown here are from the collection of Tassenmuseum Hendrikje/Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam.

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Handbag Week! Day 4

Our week of handbags continues, in chronological order. Yesterday was all 1940s, all the time so if you know your decades, you realize that today we’re focusing on the 1950s. Clicking on any image will bring up a somewhat larger view for detail study.

I am intrigued by the shape of the bucket bag shown here, and found two online (here and here) at very reasonable prices.

The brass frame bag by Toro isn’t identified as such by the museum, but I’ve seen a few (very few) of these bags, one with the Toro hallmark, and the style, clasp, and handle are so unique that I think it’s a safe bet they’re all Toro bags. You can look for them, but you’ll be lucky to come across one. I found one of these “butterfly” models today in a store’s Sold archive, it went for $260. (Disclosure: I have a Toro of this shape in my unlisted inventory. I’ve had it for a while, actually. It would seem that I’m having a hard time parting with it.)

The Chanel bag is one you may recognize, because it’s still in production today as the Classic Flap Bag.

The telephone cord tote took me by surprise. Red and black phone cords? Without seeing the construction in person, I had this pegged as an ’80s creation. But no! To celebrate Western Electric’s then-new spiral telephone cord invention, some creative manufacturer used the all-new cords in an all-new way. Well done, anonymous artist!

CREDITS: Photography by Jenna Bascom and Ken Music Photography. All handbags shown here are from the collection of Tassenmuseum Hendrikje/Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam except for the Chanel bag, from the vast collection of Sandy Schreier.

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Handbag Week! Day 3

For those of you in the U.S.: Happy Independence Day! For everyone else: Happy random Wednesday!

Our week of handbags continues, in chronological order. Today is all 1940s, all the time. Clicking on any image will bring up a somewhat larger view for detail study.

Beaded handbag with plastic frame, United States, 1940s

Shoulder bag woven from banana leaves and embroidered with raffia, 1940s

Textured cordé handbag, United States, 1940s

Plaited handbag with matching shoe, Hawaii, c. 1945

Let’s talk about cordé for a minute. Advertised during the 1940s as the longest wearing of all handbag fabrics, this was an important selling point during WWII. While rationing in the U.S. wasn’t as restrictive as it was in Europe, manufacturers both here and abroad had to comply with strict limitations regarding the use of leather and metal. Cordé handbags were created by stitching geometric patterns of gimp braid to a fabric background. Clear or tortoise Lucite pulls or handles were often added to add a touch of glamour. The result was a beautiful handbag that would last for the duration, and beyond.

EDIT 7/5/2012: I found this beaded bag on Etsy today, it’s nearly identical to the beaded bag featured here.

CREDITS: Photography by Jenna Bascom and Ken Music Photography. All handbags shown here are from the collection of Tassenmuseum Hendrikje/Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam.

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Handbag Week! Day 2

Our week of handbags is progressing in chronological order; with today’s examples being manufactured between 1908 and 1939, although the iconic Kelly bag is still made (by hand) by Hermès to this day. And look, a nod to Olympic fever, in time for this year’s London games! Clicking on any image will bring up a somewhat larger view for detail study.

Silver and leather bag with decorative spider “spinning” an egraved web, Russia, 1908-1917

Beaded handbag made by a 14-year-old girl during the Amsterdam Olympic Games, 1928

Sac à dépêches, Hermès circa 1935 (this example from the late 20th C.)

Enameled minaudière with jeweled clasp that can be worn as a brooch, Asprey, 1939

About that Kelly bag: Introduced in 1935, Hermès’ “Sac à dépêches” is a true classic. Its nickname was adopted in 1956, when Grace Kelly was frequently photographed carrying hers. Popular history says that she used the sizable bag to conceal her pregnancy, but the photos below, taken before her marriage, show that the Sac à dépêches was already a staple in her wardrobe.

Grace Kelly: signing autographs, loading gowns into her car, announcing her engagement to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco.

CREDITS: Purse photography by Jenna Bascom and Ken Music Photography. Photos of Grace Kelly via LIFE magazine. All handbags shown here are from the collection of Tassenmuseum Hendrikje/Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam.

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Handbag Week! Day 1

I promised on the Tiddleywink fan page that I’d devote this week’s posts to the study of handbags, and I haven’t forgotten. My emphasis, because of my personal taste, will be on the 1940s and ’50s, but I will show a selection that spans over a century of style. However, again due to my personal tastes, they may all bear a resemblance to bags which could have been made in the ’40s and ’50s!

The week will progress in chronological order; with today’s examples being manufactured between 1810 and 1902. Clicking on any image will bring up a somewhat larger view for detail study.

Aren’t they all lovely? I’m particularly fond of the Clan Stewart tartan bag. Do you have a favorite shown here, or from this time period?

CREDITS: Photography by Jenna Bascom and Ken Music Photography. All handbags shown here are from the collection of Tassenmuseum Hendrikje/Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam.

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