It keeps one in a continual state of inelegance.” Thank you Jane Austen for succinctly and genteelly describing the summer misery.
Thank goodness for Tuesday and Wednesday, which isn’t something that I say very often. We’ve been having the hellacious heat along with a lot of the rest of the country. Last Friday, my car read 102°F at 4:30 in the afternoon and I believed it! Kathy and I were hoping to get together to make some felted animals and eat Indian food, but neither of those options seem sensible outside in the heat. But early this week, it rained and cooled off, for a couple of days, and I wanted to go outside and do a happy dance like a little kid. It’s such a relief to be able to go outside without burning your feet, sweating when you just open the door, and not have to water your outdoor potted plants twice a day. The heat is back, but it isn’t going to be as terrible as last week, so I feel like it’s more normal hot-July than welcome to Death Valley.
I will do another of my multi-part A Century of Bags at the end of the post, covering the 1930s. But first, on with the finds!
The Summer Intern spotted this first:
Yes, he is so bored that he tags along, without the lure of lunch, just to have something to do. Pity the poor 20-year-old responsible kid that has to hang out with us! He still helps us, too! After we had a good laugh of the duck-lipped goldfish we realized that it was a) glass, and b) a bank! I’m not sure what might cause that expression: swallowing coins, seeing a streaker, contemplating going home with a three-year-old? Those eyes are definitely in oogah territory.
This is made from clay. We have questions:
First off, it looks like it’s from the Flintstone school of pottery. The second pertinent question is WTH? Why does this exist? The lid was taped on, but really how useful is this for storage? Even more astonishing, is that it was gone this week. Maybe it ran away with the fish.
Wow, how long have these lamps been hanging around?
I think of this cupid and gold design as brothel elegance. It looks “classy” to cowboys out punching cows and each other, but the rest of us kind of cringe when we see it. I would expect to see them in a sexy boudoir, as kind of a wink-wink thing, or for reals in a Trump Tower foyer on a marble console table.
We realize that not everyone likes squirrels as much as we do:
But, golly this artist really doesn’t like them at all! The poor thing on the right has zombie squirrel eyes; it’s kind of frightening! Where in your house would you hang this? It might work in your guest room if you are of the opinion that guests and garbage stink after three days. You probably shouldn’t hang it in view of an outside window because squirrels are smart enough to know when they’ve been dissed and would probably take appropriate action.
We especially like the fanciful Oaxacan wooden and painted animals:
The problem with this version is exactly what animal is being represented? At first we thought maybe lizard with the tail, but the head is wrong. It’s not a cat or dog; maybe a wolverine with those claws? We didn’t bring it home because we were worried about what it might do to our cute Oaxacan lizards, dogs, cats, deer, etc. that already live in our houses. This looks sort of devilish and possibly hungry.
I bought this a couple of weeks ago because it’s so weird:
It’s a vintage celluloid apple, that is the size of an apple. It has the cut-out window with two Japanese scenes that you can switch between by turning the stem. The rickshaw was loose, but I stuck it back on with superglue. I can’t find anything about it on the internet, and neither of us have ever come across one before. If you know anything about it, please add a comment to this post and enlighten us.
Well, that’s it for the regular stuff. Time for episode three of A Century of Bags:
We’re all the way to the decade of the 1930s, which was just about as opposite from the 1920s as you could get. There still was plenty going on in fashion, but it wasn’t as flamboyant as the previous decade. In fact, the chapter is titled, “Mature Sophistication Takes Over.” The fashions are described as languid, sophisticated; a more romantic style with longer daytime skirt lengths, and full-length dresses for the evening.
Women wore longer hair, plucked their eyebrows within an inch of their lives, and nail polish was mandatory for the fashionable. Female movie stars wore elegant clothes—think Marlene Deitrich, Greta Garbo, or Gloria Swanson. The rest of the population dressed a little more plainly. Clothes had to last for years and your look could be updated with a different hat, belt, jewelry, and of course, purse.
Handbags were still small and glittery, and cost was a concern with the world-wide depression going on. Bakelite came into its own as a cheaper material to create glamour. Crocodile, alligator, antelope, and elephant hides were used for day bags:
You can see the envelope clutch at the top of the page, which was still in style. At the left is a crocodile bag which is still probably around if it made it through WWII. The metal bag at the bottom is pretty cool. The author calls it a box bag and I love the interior compartments.
Women wore floral-print summer dresses in the daytime, often made from cotton or rayon which were easily washable. Crepe silk was also used. You could change your belt and jewelry and it would still look stylish for a couple of years. Evening wear was simpler and women carried fancier bags:
which could be sequined, beaded, or both to look splashier. Travel was becoming more common, and I really like the purse at the upper right shaped like the ocean liner, Normandie.
In the mid 1930s, after a exhibition in London, suddenly Surrealism was the popular movement in fashion, displacing Art Deco. Think Elsa Schiaparelli:
As the book says:
Although she pushed beyond the boundaries of convention in structure, decoration, and materials, she never sacrificed function or femininity either in her clothes or accessories, which proved to be the perfect vehicles for the distillation of her ingenious ideas.
Schiaparelli used unusual man-made materials, prints, and decorations in her fashions and she was wildly successful pretty much from the start.
Towards the end of the 1930s, straps on purses became fashionable again, even on evening bags. That changed the whole structure of purses as the frame had to accommodate chains or leather straps which hung from shoulders or arms. Finally, you didn’t have to juggle all of your belongings at cocktail parties, or dances.
Thanks for reading along. Hope you all are keeping safe and cool. Time for some backyard fun with a Slip ‘N Slide and a cold watermelon or Popsicle. Simple pleasures.