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Not only are we extremely close to opening our new space in
the Exchange District... we have moved our blog.

All the content from this blog has been moved to our new
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to ...

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

If Wishes Were Purses....

I'd look pretty fly!

Not too long ago I wrote of Bakelite King Matthew Burkholz and his heavenly boutique (known as Route 66) on Palm Canyon Drive and of lusting after his amazing collection of Lucite box purses. Sometimes, not always - but sometimes, you put something out there, "out into the ether" as Miss P is fond of saying, and it comes back to you.

Imagine my surprise and delight then when MM (our Vintage Santa) arrived on our doorstep with the most delightful Lucite box purse in hand. I have to add that the bag looks much better on me than it does on him, but its hard for it not to look incredible no matter who is carrying it. I haven't felt such a rush of excitement since a Christmas morning long ago when I last believed in the real Santa.

In spite of my suggesting it be gifted to myself as a belated birthday token (don't ask - it was months ago) MM steadfastly refused and so it is now on consignment at our House. And it is beautiful. Every now and again something truly rare finds its way to us. Every now and again we are able to caress and love it and care for it until it finds its way into a loving new home. In this case it will be on the arm of a discerning woman with impeccible taste and the wherewithal to spoil herself rotten.

Lucite, like many other materials which gained popularity in the Modern 50's, was developed and almost immediately put to good use as a building material during World War II. It wasn't until after the war that Lucite was used in the manufacture of handbags because the material was easy to work with and could be made in a wide array of colors both solid and opaque. The early manufacture of these bags involved master craftsmen working by hand. By the early 1960's the Lucite box purse rage was over. Newer, more modern materials and methods of manufacture made mass production of cheaper and more lightweight bags popular. Today they are incredibly collectible as they were only produced for a brief period of time and they are positively stunning in their design (they were once marketed as "sculpture you can wear"). Much like Vintage jewelry there are fairly significant variations in value. The purses created by big name designers of the time are coveted and fetch a price far more dear than the nameless bags. You will see them range in price from $200 to $600 and up. Some of the most popular and coveted designers are; Ascot, Patricia of Miami, Hardy, Kahn, Llewellyn, Wilardy and Rialto. Designer made bags were typically signed on the metal inside the bag or on a clear label. Many designer bags without their labels are floating around as the labels typically fell or wore off. If you are collecting Lucite box purses for their value, then you may want to avoid 'unsigned' bags, even if it is a well educated guess that it is a creation of a big name designer. If you are collecting for the sheer joy and love of it, then the former is of no consequence.

I haven't yet fully investigated the nooks and crannies of this bag in an attempt to establish its origins. The lovely weather has seen the House busy with many new and return customers and we have been hopping. One morning I will go in early, sit down with with our luscious box bag and a latte and see if it won't reveal some secrets.

Yes. I want it to come home with me. But I want mostly everything we bring in to come home with me. Besides, I have little room in my closet now for another bag, especially after treating myself to one from the Espe line. That, and it is keeping our gorgeous carved Bakelite bangle company until it finds a new home. Maybe they will be adopted together.


PS: We now have Matt's book in the store for you Bakelite junkies to peruse at your leisure when you are next in the House. It tells the stories of a number of avid Bakelite afficianados and features glorious photos of their amazing collections.

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