"Since its opening on the Place Vendôme in Paris in 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels has played a leading role in style and design innovation. Its timeless pieces have been worn by style icons including the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. This exhibition will explore the historical significance of the firm's contributions to jewelry design in the 20th century, including the establishment of Van Cleef & Arpels in New York with the advent of World War II. On view will be more than 350 works including jewels, timepieces, fashion accessories and objets d'art by Van Cleef & Arpels, many of which were created exclusively for the American market. The exhibition will examine the work through the lenses of innovation, transformation, nature as inspiration, exoticism, fashion and personalities, and will include design drawings from the Van Cleef & Arpels archives." (Smithsonian)
I love vintage album covers. I buy them simply because I love the cover. They have some fabulous vintage fashions & settings, and are almost always romantic. Oh, and the music is wonderful! Because that's why we buy an album, right?
I have an online colleague/mentor who is fortunate enough to be heading off to "The City of Love" soon so I thought I would begin a series of vintage album covers with this beauty:
Paris for Lovers featuring Eddie Barclay and his Orchestra
While I couldn't/wouldn't quite call this an "elegant" photograph in it's original state (or tasteful, even, in my opinion~~as you can see our Vintage Censorship police were on it!!), I COULD say it about that fabulous little purse she's clutching in her right hand. Look closer...
Please allow me to introduce you to "Le Minaudiere". (this one happens to be by Judith Leiber)
~~~Min·au·dière *~~ A small ornamental case for a woman's cosmetics, jewelry, or personal items that is often carried as a handbag.
The Parisian firm Van Cleef & Arpels is credited with the introduction of the minaudière ~~ a vanity case that would come to be synonymous with the Art Deco period. First created in 1930, it featured a compartmentalized interior & served as a multi~functional handbag, vanity case & purse. They were commonly outfitted with mirrors, lipstick holders, powder compacts, and a place for a key, coins, or even cigarettes.
(*You can click hereto learn how to pronounce it if, like me, you only dream that you can speak French!)
As the fashionable accessory took off and became the latest "MUST HAVE" for high society ladies, many other houses began offering their interpretation of "Le Minaudière". One such company, the D. Evans Case Co. of Massachusetts, began producing compacts in the 1920s and soon after began offering their own version of the minaudière for fashionable ladies of the day.
This lovely Art Deco Era Evans case is a perfect example of a Vintage Minaudière and it has just been put out on the floor of The Red Velvet Shoe...
While MANY fashionistas will have the "JL" version of the minaudière (for a mere $2,795.00 !!!) just because it was on the cover of a fashion magazine...
Only ONE will walk away with The Red Velvet Shoe's version of "Le Vintage Minaudière" ...and will still have enough cash to go out on the town and show it off!!
and after doing some research, found out it was created by a woman from Maine, who in the 1940s began creating whimsical & fun beach bags and totes for friends.
She came to be one of the largest handbag retailers in New England and is known in the designer purse world as "The Kate Spade of Her Day".
What a compliment!
Her name is
and the label you see above is one of the more coveted labels for vintage collectors and it's on my sweet, little vintage hat!
I loved this story, because there are so many of you who work so hard at designing, creating, sewing & fabricating such amazing treasures, and this is a real~life story of a woman who made it with her passion, her talent and her hard work. What an inspiration!
I spent almost two hours researching this label (another reason I am very slow about getting new items listed. Am thinking I should switch to a profession in vintage clothing/label research?) and sadly learned that the company closed just last year. It seemed to be another case of the old fashioned, small town merchant company swallowed up by pathetic consumerism of imported crappola from a giant discount chain store or two. . .
Another sad ending to an authentic Made In The USA label dating back to before World War II.