Decorated handbags are nothing new; wonderful examples of this crafty form of entertainment can be found dating way back, with a proliferation of such objects in the mid-20th century. The work of artisans like Enid Collins of Texas (think glittery bejeweled wooden boxes and woven bags circa 1960’s) is in fact highly collectible. Because there was a time when my thrifting was so intense and the availability of really cool retro bags was plentiful, I’ve amassed a nice little collection. And, at some point, I started using them as little art canvases. The bag above was purchased in Columbus a couple of years ago, decorated as-is with shells etc. What I love about this one is that the shell purses are always very summery, white basket weave, very Florida! I had never seen one in black velvet. I added a few things to the front of this bag to give it even more edge; can you guess which objects? I call this one Summer Gothic.
I sold a ton of these vintage car emblem bags many years ago, but a few of them had to remain in the personal collection. The bag above is from that period, and was recently out for a spin to a very fancy Boston wedding. I absolutely love carrying this red velvet one. The bag itself is not really vintage, more late-model faux vintage, but it’s somehow perfect.
Here is another I just could not let go of, mind you, I don’t even know what an “Electra” (the car) looks like… but I know that a girl named Electra would carry this bag and be wearing the MOST chic LBD with a string of pearls.
The girl carrying this one is super tall and model-thin, with a HUGE afro, gorgeous brown skin, and legs up to there. She’s on her way to the disco. Sometimes I’m that girl. In my dreams!
This crafty girl wears broken babydoll dresses, big platform shoes and striped mismatched tights. I love the lucite ice-cube clasp on this little velvet bag, and the german glass glitter star acquired a nice patina in about a week of air-exposure. Lovely vintage millinery also.
I’ll leave you with this morbid little number, a Victorian mourning bag complete with vintage “Portland Casket Co.” metal label. Memento mori, people!
These images are up on flickr in their larger sizes, and check out the “embroidery mine” section over there for a few more recent bags created my mad moi.