Thursday, October 27, 2011


Large Yellow Tote Style Purse with Owl. 1960s. Maker: Faye Mell Design, Fleurette Inc., Miami, Florida. Fabulous large mustard yellow woven fabric tote style handbag with inner kiss-lock pocket and twist closure. What makes it special, besides the great size, is the slightly-raised needlepoint owl on a branch, embellished with beads and sequins. Owls were popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s and, as fashionistas know, the owl motif has made a comeback in clothes, jewelry and home d├ęcor items. 

Naturally, I have a story to go with this purse. I was carrying it recently as I walked into a chi-chi vintage clothing store near Los Angeles. An employee remarked that they, too, have an owl purse. I looked at it and said, “Oh, it’s a Jolles.” The woman asked what I meant. I said, “The maker. It’s Jolles.” The woman looked at the tag for verification and sure enough, I was right. I told my daughter about it when I got home. She asked about the price of the Jolles bag. After I told her, she said, “They were asking THAT much for the purse and they didn’t even know the maker?”

Yep, if it had been just a bit less money, I would have that owl purse, too, and not just because it's a Jolles, but because it was awesome!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011


Woven Tote with Three-Dimensional Tree and Applique Butterflies. 1960s. Maker: JR, Specially Hand Made by Frances. Blue woven fabric tote by famous maker JR (Julius Resnick). Screwed-on plastic handles and inside zip pocket. It’s got a beautiful velvet hot pink and green floral tree and pink appliqued butterflies, with faux pearls, pink rhinestones and green velvet and gold trim.

This is my latest JR Florida acquisition. What’s interesting about it is the label inside; one of those “Specially Hand Made by” labels from the ‘60s with the name Frances. I don’t know if Frances worked for the JR company or she purchased a plain bag—which you can find online—and added the embellishments herself. Either way, it’s a lovely purse and I’ve never seen another like it.

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