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The History of Handbags & the Second World War

The History of Handbags & the Second World War

Handbags have a long and rich history, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. The first handbags were simple pouches made of animal hide and leaves. Egyptian hieroglyphics even record handbags afs far back as the 14th century. Men used them for carrying flint knives, but it wasn’t until the 1400s that handbags were considered a status symbol. During this time, women started adorning their handbags with jewellery and other accessories to make them more opulent.

Beaded Bags

Beadwork and faux corde bags have a long and colourful history in the history of handbags. As early as the 18th century, people began to create pretty fabric items as a form of leisure and decoration. During the Second World War, women made their own handbags by embellishing scraps with beads and costume jewellery. This craze for handbag customization continued into the twenty-first century and shows no signs of fading. Beadwork has been a common practice for thousands of years; the oldest woven baskets were created in Egypt, which is estimated to be over 10,000 years old.

The first beaded bag manufacturer was Lumy Hashimoto in Osaka. Its creations quickly became popular among young women in high society wearing Western clothes. These handbags were exported to the US and became popular among fashion-conscious women. Their Art Deco style patterns and imported beads made them a fashionable addition to both kimono and Western clothes. During the Second World War, the Japanese were not using beads for the majority of their clothing. However, in the 1960s, they started to use them for other purposes, such as decoration for their obi-dome cords and hairpins.

Before the Second World War, women were using large handbags to carry gas masks. This new fashion trend caught the attention of department stores, which started to produce designs made from oilcloth or leather substitutes. For example, the illustration above is from a 1940 edition of Nouveaute magazine. More information on gas mask handbags is available at the Imperial War Museum.

After the war, Hungary was a reluctant ally of the Nazis and had one of the highest concentrations of Jews in Europe. As a result, professional employment opportunities for Jews dwindled and the artisan guilds became a viable alternative. Judith Peto was one of the first women to apply to a Budapest handbag-making guild. After she completed three stages of training, she was able to earn her own living by selling her handmade bags at major charity events.

After the war, the popularity of corde handbags declined in the US, although they were still being sold in Canada. They were also imported from the UK. Unlike the modern-day handbags, corde handbags were not easy to date, as they were made of the same materials and embroidery techniques, but they were often in different shapes and styles.

Beaded handbags became popular during the Roaring Twenties, and their styles and designs continued to evolve as women needed larger bags. Women also used their purses for evening wear, and their purses grew larger. Women used these purses for more items, including money and handkerchiefs. By the end of the Twenties, beaded handbags were the most popular handbags among women.

Beaded handbags are still popular today. This style of bag has become popular enough to be stocked in over thirty retail outlets around the world. In fact, Lisa Alexandra’s bags were so popular that they soon outgrew her production team.

Dod Procter’s Circular Geometric-patterned Bag

The circular geometric-patterned bag of Dod Procter tells a story of a late night. It contains her personal items and an open cigarette pack. Her late-night habit was not uncommon, and the bag reflects that. This artefact has been shown in several exhibitions, including the exhibition ‘Late Night in the Second World War, which opened in September 2012.

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