Monday, 16 March 2009

History In Your Hands

So many vintage bags still exist because their original owners loved and cherished them enough to look after them. In today's throw away society, we could all certainly learn from that. Buying a vintage bag not only offers the opportunity to have a 'one off' handbag but also gives you the chance to connect with social history. If only those bags could talk. What stories could they tell? It's quite a romantic daydream.

Think of all those wonderful evening bags from the 1920's and 30's, handmade and painstakingly beaded into intricate patterns with glass seed beads. They wouldn't have been cheap to buy, so only a well heeled lady would have owned one.

Imagine the parties that bag attended, the theatre, the opera. It might have witnessed a few clandestine dalliances in its time!

The make do and mend era of the war years of the 1940's had an influence too. Materials were in limited supply, so bags were repaired and embellished to change their look. If your handbag was a city dweller, it could have spent hours in air raid shelters. Think of the important documents and belonging that could have been stashed into it for safekeeping. It may have been a gift from a serviceman to his sweetheart for a night out dancing the Jitterbug.

A 1950's handbag may have listened to conversations of more conflict, including the Korean War and the Suez Crisis. Conversely, it may have witnessed its owner swooning at an early Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly concert. The bag would have also witnessed the increasing popularity of television sets in the home.

Was your bag being swung in the Sixties? Or was it more in tune with Flower Power? It would have seen the space race for the moon and a whole host of music icons starting their now long and successful careers.

To be honest, unless the handbag is a family heirloom, passed down through the generations, we really won't know the history of our vintage bag. We can only guess and daydream. That is half the fun though of owning such a great piece of social history and fashion statement of its time. Just make sure that you love it as much as someone else once did..

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