Saturday, June 30, 2007

1970s-Style Beaded Peacock Tote. Maker unknown. Linen-like textured fabric with painted on blue-green peacock and glued-on gold trim and sewn-on beads and rhinestones. Wooden handle. I’m calling it ‘70s style, because I’m not sure that it’s truly vintage, due to the “Made in China” tag on the inside. Also, it was in deceptively perfect condition when I picked it up at the Goodwill for six bucks. Still, I love the peacock motif. In fact, I have seven vintage chenille peacock bathrobes. Which is another story. And almost another blog. (Note: See comments below for this mystery bag's humble origins. Thank you, Sweetheartville!)

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Persian Lamb Muff Purse. Maker unknown. 1940s. Beautiful, soft black Persian lamb muff, lined in rayon, with carry strap—tucked inside—and fur-covered dingleballs hanging off the metal zipper. The zippered portion is why this counts as a purse. I have a small collection of muffs, a few of which have purse-like compartments. Even though it’s rather simple, I love this muff because I adore Persian lamb. In fact, I have four Persian lamb coats, which is utterly ridiculous since I live in Southern California and never get to wear them. Not that I’ll be out in my four-horse sleigh, carrying a muff any time soon, either…

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Armadillo Purse. Maker unknown. 1960s. Made from a genuine, once-living, poor, sweet little armadillo. Leather rope straps, green rhinestone eyes, goldtone closure with red enamel. I’d like to think that, prior to being made into a purse, he died a natural death—doing something brave—like rescuing a raccoon family from the path of a semi. The purse is in very poor condition and not useable, which is a bummer, because I would love to carry it around in my suburban universe, watching housewives recoil in horror. Ah, how I love life’s simple joys.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hand-painted Floral Trunk-Style Purse. Maker: Lily-Bet – Filbert Imports – of the Palm Beaches. 1960s. Adorable white vinyl box purse with hand-painted pink, green and blue floral design. Thick clear plastic handle and goldtone closure. The inside is lined in dramatic gold fabric with paisley-like swirls and gold trim, which does not match the flowery outside one bit, which makes me think the paint job might have been added later. No matter. Still cute. And roomy enough for a cell phone AND a lipstick, which a lot of box purses aren’t.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Plastic Sequined Poodle Purse. Maker: Claire Fashions. 1960s. Large, square, off-white nubby fabric handbag covered entirely in plastic—just like your grandma’s couch. Features a boy poodle and a girl poodle covered in blue and pink sequins, respectively. The boy is handing the girl a bouquet of flowers. How sweet! Gold “feet” at the bottom of the purse. Gold vinyl lining. Vinyl handles. Some water damage, which I’ve seen on a lot of laminated-type bags. In fact, I have TWO Claire Fashions poodle purses and both have similar wear and tear. The differences are in the shape and the poodles’ neckwear (pearls on the square bag; beads on the round). I know this is Vintage Purse (singular) a Day, but if you scroll down, you can see them plural. My dog Sirius likes the round version better. Maybe he thinks it’s a Frisbee.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

White Wicker Monkey Purse. Maker unknown. 1950s. Highly unusual wicker figural in monkey form, with brown bead eyes and red-painted eyelids. Latches at the back of the neck via white elastic connected to a large button-type disc, but the elastic is worn. Handle is a wicker ring around its neck that connects to a larger ring for carrying. I’ve seen other wicker monkeys and this one is different in that it’s larger than most. There were known makers of wicker bags, including Midas of Miami, but this has no tag, so I don't know its origins. A dealer once told me that wicker monkey purses were sold at Adventureland in Disneyland in the ‘50s, but I wasn’t around at the time. I wasn’t. Really. I was but a mere psychedelic effervescence in dear ol’ dad’s eye.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Needlepoint Handbag. Maker: Kurt Chambré. 1960s. Evening bag covered entirely in needlepoint; black background with flowers and leaves on both sides. Heavy gold damascene-style enclosure with goldtone chain. Black “feet” on the bottom. What’s most fascinating about this is that I inherited it from my grandma and I kept the contents intact! Here they are: Black satin change purse with 46 cents; three Riopan antacids, still wrapped in plastic; one goldtone ballpoint pen with George of California, Inc.—Blouses & Ladies Sportswear logo. I Googled the address and phone number. The phone number is no longer and the address shows up on the map, but there’s no business name. It’s near the L.A. Mart. A lot can happen in 40 years.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Plastic Handbag With Huldah Needlepoint. Maker unknown. 1960s. Big, bold plastic bag with sparkly gold threads showing through. Goldtone clasp and chain handle. In the center is a needlepoint Huldah lady. She has rhinestone eyes and there are six big faux pearls framing her image, and gold braid around the needlepoint portion. Jeffe Huldah (1901-2000) was an American artist from Dallas known for her 1940s impressionistic renderings of young women, which, today, you usually see as a framed print in a vintage shop or antique store. I have never seen another handbag featuring a Huldah lady. A crafty person may have taken the plain plastic purse and embellished it with the needlepoint. Brilliant!
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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wooden Purse with Flower Cart. 1960s. Maker unknown. Wooden box purse with woven straw-like texture glued to the outside edges. The weave has been painted to match the stain of the wood. Plastic handle and leather closure. The front has a lovely painted flower cart design, with glued-on dealybobs that include metal flowers and opalescent stones. Many of these bags were made by Gary Gail(s) of Dallas in the style of Enid Collins. I have a bunch of wooden box purses. They’re fun to carry as conversation pieces, but not real roomy and they do get heavy. However, if you’re attacked by a mugger, this kind of purse makes a great weapon.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Copper Beaded Evening Bag. 1940s. Maker: K&G Charlet, Paris & New York. Gorgeous purse with a hinged, clamshell-style opening, but made of soft satin fabric covered entirely in sparkling copper beads. Double fabric handles with beadwork on one side of each handle. The beads are set in a swirling pattern on the body of the purse. I believe they are glued and not sewn, but it must be some dang strong glue to have survived this long. I have always wanted a Charlet bag and this sweetie does not disappoint. The work that must have gone into it—someone surely sacrificed her eyesight!
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Sunday, June 17, 2007

White Box Bag with Three-Dimensional Roses. 1960s. Maker: Midas of Miami. White wicker with white seed beads glued on the top and front. The focal point is the 3-D pink velvet roses that are sprinkled with pink seed beads, making them look almost like cake decorations. Green velvet leafy accents and gold braid swirling stems. Handle is intertwined white and gold braid, and the purse is lined in pink satin. This stunning handbag is for the true girly-girl. That would be me. Except for my penchant for Doc Martens. Which would make me a girly-girl with big, ugly shoes. Wanna fight about it?
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Friday, June 15, 2007

Decopauge Gaming-Themed Wooden Box Purse. 1960s/70s. Maker: Annie Laurie Originals – Palm Beach. The title pretty much says it all, but here are a few more details: This wood purse has a laminated finish. The decorations almost look painted on, but you can feel them, giving the bag a 3-D effect. It’s octagonal—a really interesting shape—not counting the top, which features a plastic handle and roulette wheel. A large Jack of diamonds is on the front, along with tinier versions of the King and Queen of hearts. There are chess, checkers and backgammon pieces on the sides, and coins, dice and a teensy ten of diamonds playing card on the back. The quilty red lining is accented by shmancy ivory braid trim. It has some wear, which you can see in the photo, but it is a fabulous purse. I love casino-motif bags. Would like to have more. But there’s that whole paying-the-mortgage thing I have to worry about. Silly mortgage.
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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wicker Purse with Three-Dimensional Blue Roses. 1960s. Maker unknown, but it looks like a Midas of Miami bag. This little wicker white-painted box purse is just adorable, with its blue velvet roses, green velvet leaves, green velvet stems and gold braid. And, best of all, it matches one of my vintage sweaters, which also has three-dimensional blue velvet roses on it. O, what a lucky girl am I!
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wicker Parasol Purse. Circa 1950s. Maker unknown. This is one of the prize pieces in one of my sub-collections, wicker figurals. This is a parasol—or umbrella, if you prefer—and it’s a rather large piece, as you can see in the photo. The wooden handle and wicker body are painted white. The tip is goldtone metal. It has rubberized string latches on either side of the fold-down top, which cover the wicker body, which is also the compartment portion of the purse. You’d probably never know it was a purse until someone’s cell phone started ringing from inside of it. Not that there were cell phones in the ‘50s. Come on. I’m not THAT goofy. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Basket Purse with Paris Motif. Early 1970s. Sewing basket-style wicker bag with hinged wooden lid. Normally I don’t like anything that has to do with cigarettes, but this was created in an era when EVERYONE smoked and when smoking was COOL. The hand-applied figures include a giant cigarette with a plume of smoke, a Parisian young lady (with cleavage), lamppost, Eiffel Tower and stars. There are also some blue splotches under the lamppost, which I assume is representative of water. What’s interesting is that part of the design—the woman and the Eiffel Tower—feel like stickers, with the rest done in ink or paint. What’s even more interesting is that this purse once belonged to a young lady named Wendy (not me), who wrote her name on the inside of the lid. Hence, proving that Wendys have a very eclectic sense of fashion.
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Wooden Box Purse with Owl Motif. Very typical 1970s artsy-craftsy handmade box purse. The late ‘60s and early ‘70s were a time for owl, peacock and roadrunner motifs on purses as well as clothing and jewelry. I believe this was due to the influence of Enid Collins, who used a variety of fowl in her designs. There were decoupage kits available for purchase—I have one, complete, in the box, can o’ “Miracle Finish” (shellack) and all, which you’ll see another time. This one could have come from a kit, but it looks as if it were someone’s personal creation. Owls symbolize dread, knowledge, wisdom and spirituality, but I prefer to think that whoever made this purse just thought it was groovy, man.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Carousel Horse Purse. This is another in my collection of wild and spangly handbags made circa 1968 by someone who purchased a kit produced by General Crafts Corporation. I don’t use her too often because, even though I’ve seen a few hither and thither, the carousel horse is one of the rarer designs. However, several years ago, I did take her to a production of “Carousel” at a nearby university. My daughter, at that time in middle school, was playing one of Enoch and Carrie’s children. The kid was brilliant. And, of course, the purse was a big hit with theatre-goers.
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Friday, June 8, 2007

Fox and Grapes Handbag. 1960s. Maker: Midas of Miami. See yesterday's description, except for some color changes. Yes, I have two. Yes, yes, I know… I shall truly burn in hell. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Fox and Grapes Handbag. 1960s. Maker: Midas of Miami. Gorgeous red velvet on white wicker basket-style purse, featuring an adorable figural rendering of Aesop’s famous story “The Fox and the Grapes.” The fox is made of white felt with blue rhinestone eyes. The grapes are three-dimensional, possibly milk glass. Gold rickrack and goldtone metal leaves complete the design. Aesop’s tale is about how the fox can’t reach grapes hanging up high, so the fox says they’re probably sour anyway. This story led to the popular expression “sour grapes.” Which means it’s easy to despise what you can’t get. There’s much I can say here about coveting the unattainable, but, honestly, I don’t despise what I can’t have. I’ll just wait until I become a bazillionaire and buy all the purses I want. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Multi-colored Plastic Cord Purse. 1940s. Maker unknown, but some of these bags were made by the Plasticoil company. Many sellers and collectors refer to these as “Telephone Cord” or “Phone Cord” purses, but that's not accurate, since they were produced in an era before colorful phones were popular. My understanding is that, after World War II, some of the companies that produced wartime plastics were out of a job, so they started making these funky bags. I’ve seen them in white, ivory, brown, black, navy, and multi, in all sorts of shapes and conditions, with a variety of zipper pulls and closures. While I was researching these on the Web, I saw another one I just love. But I’m not going to buy it. I’m not. I’m not… oh, no… I feel myself weakening… weak... weaker...Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Gold Lamè Purse with Casino Matchbooks. Late 1960s-early 1970s. Maker: Faye Mell. Big, bold, make-a-statement handbag in shiny gold leather with a clear plastic insert in the front. Behind the insert: vintage matchbooks from Caesar’s Palace, Stardust Hotel and Casino, Dunes Las Vegas, Folies Bergere-Hotel Tropicana and another one, which doesn’t show a hotel, but a picture of a cactus next to the 18th hole of a golf course. In the center is fake money and miniature jack-queen-king of diamonds cards. Also has a blue plastic poker chip and multi-colored rhinestones.This is one swingin’ handbag, whether you’re a high-roller or a nickel-slot player. Me? I love three-card poker and that is one sweet hand.
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Monday, June 4, 2007

Costume Motif Quilted Fabric Bag. Maker: Delill. Probably from the 1960s*. Heavy goldtone damascene-like metal frame with metal flower closure. Goldtone metal chain. Quilty-soft fabric panels are stitched together, with one side featuring an artist’s rendering of late 19th century ladies and the words “Time of Foundations – Germany 1885” and “Period of Foundations – Germany 1882” at the bottom, which you can sort of see in the photo below. The other side (not shown) has quilted panels of women in Renaissance garb and the words “Italian Renaissance – About 1505” and “German Renaissance Dress for Ladys (sic) – about 1510.” Delill is mostly known for its mini-trunk hard-sided purses, but they also made some swell cloth bags, like this one. She looks a little scroungy because I use her. I can’t help myself. She’s just too cool to keep hidden in a closet.

*Note: I initially had this placed at the '70s, but another source says these bags are circa 1950s. I'm not so sure, but I did take into consideration the metal frame and the use of the costume print, which I've seen in box bags and mid-century art as well. So I compromised. The '60s it is.
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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Collins of Texas Poodle Bucket Bag. A duo of white-painted poodles on denim fabric with white vinyl trim, amber jewels, elongated white beads (for the flowers), rhinestones and a wooden bottom. Enid Collins was a purse-making genius and all-around artiste who opened her first shop in 1959. She sold her company in the ‘70s to the Tandy Corporation. Her whimsical bags are currently in huge demand by discerning collectors, especially if they’re a rare design and/or in mint condition. This little baby is one of the later Tandy creations, but I’ve never seen it anywhere else. The poodle motif in general is highly desirable among purse aficionados, but to be a poodle AND a Collins bag is downright drool-worthy.
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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Popsicle™ Stick Purse. Funky shape and sturdy plastic handle. Sticks are glued together and simple hardware is screwed in. Could have been made in the ‘40s with the groovy wooden, painted ‘shroom applied decades later, but suspect it to be from the late 1960s or early 1970s. This type of purse was originally a form of “prison art”—craft therapy for the incarcerated—but bored homemakers got into the act somewhere along the way. I’ve also heard it referred to as “folk art” and “tramp art.” I have a bunch of Popsicle™—or “craft”—stick purses in different shapes and sizes—with and without adornment. I like this one because it combines the elements of ice cream innocence with hallucinogenic fungi. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, June 1, 2007

Spanish Dancer Purse. Late 1960s. Made from a Jewel Tone Handbag kit produced by General Crafts Corporation. The kits originally sold for $10 to crafty housewives who would create their own “practical handbag of luxurious fabric in 3 fashionable colors—BLACK—OLIVE—NATURAL, superbly finished with harmonizing trim, genuine mahogany bottom and personal zipper pocket.” This enticing description is direct from “The New, Fabulous Jewel Tone Handbag” catalog, which was tucked inside each box, along with “exciting jewels, braids and sequins” to glue to the bare make-by-number-style purse. The Spanish Dancer is one of the rarer designs. I have two of ‘em. That is, I have tons of kit purses, but I have TWO Spanish Dancers. I’m such a handbag hog. I should be ashamed. I should be. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket