I love vintage compacts…LOVE them. I don’t collect them but I think I should. But to me, nothing says chic and elegant more than a beautiful compact carried in one’s fabulous handbag. I have seen this image over and over whenever I watch a vintage film or see old fashion photos:
I think it is so elegant and one of the many lost graces of our modern society. I want to bring it back. Let’s bring back the compact! (My next post will show you how I have done just that!)
If you do a simple search on Etsy (or Ebay or Google “images of compacts”), your eyes will dance at what turns up. Just look at some of these beauties:
Aren’t they gorgeous???? I never tire of looking at them. You will note that I featured only Evans compacts and that is simply because they are my favorite. Other companies such as Estee Lauder and Volupte have made many a lovely compact through the decades. But I came to love the Evans brand when I found my first vintage Evans Elegance handbag. It was a brown leather box bag that contained all of a woman’s needed accessories; lipstick holder, cigarette case (now could be used for business cards), comb and compact mirror. It was a work of beauty. The quality and workmanship that went into the handbag and all the little accoutrements was breathtaking. I (sadly) sold that bag and instantly regretted it. But not long after I found a replacement:
All needed accessories for a proper lady (which is probably why I don’t carry it often).
All accessories properly stowed away while in transit.
Isn’t she great? Do I use her? No, not really–maybe once in a blue moon. But she is a permanent part of my vintage handbag collection, which has been culled many times and significantly reduced in its size.
Another super cool thing I have learned about Evans (Elegance) is that they partnered with Dodge in the mid-1950s to provide the ultimate car package for the woman driver–the Dodge La Femme. I SO would’ve had bought this car:
Bonjour, bebe!! And notice what came with the car according to Wikipedia:
“The interior of the car also received attention and features. 1955 La Femme interiors were upholstered in a special tapestry material featuring pink rosebuds on a pale silver-pink background and pale pink vinyl trim. The La Femme came with a keystone-shaped, pink calfskin purse that coordinated with the interior of the car. The purse could be stowed in a compartment in the back of the passenger seat, and its gold-plated medallion faced outward. This brushed-metal medallion was large enough to have the owner’s name engraved on it.
Each purse was outfitted with a coordinated set of accessories inside, which included a face-powder compact, lipstick case, cigarette case, comb, cigarette lighter and change purse, all made of either faux-tortoiseshell plastic and gold-tone metal, or pink calfskin and gold-tone metal, and all were designed and made by “Evans”, a maker of women’s fine garments and accessories in Chicago.
On the back of the drivers seat was a compartment that contained a raincoat, rain bonnet and umbrella, all made from a vinyl patterned to match the rosebud interior fabric. Marketing brochures stated that the car was made “By Special Appointment to Her Majesty… the American Woman.” “
I would’ve done the super swoon if I had been a woman shopping for a car in 1955. Goodness. If one of the car makers of today could get it done oh so right.
In other “elegance” news I watched the French film “The Hedgehog” over the weekend.
I must say, it was very charming. I read the book (Elegance of the Hedgehog) a few years ago but I really didn’t remember it all that well. It was very thought-provoking as it examined the different ways in which people choose to live their lives…sometimes convincing oneself “it really doesn’t matter what I do” or “it’s my life, I can do what I want”. While in essence that is true (due to free will), when it is done in a way that shuts out opportunity, or more importantly positive relationships, it can be a very self-damaging thing to do/way to live. If you watch it have a BOX of tissues. I was not prepared for the ending…I was floating on cloud of happiness with some tears mingled in and then…
P.S. I am not the only one gaga over compacts. In doing some searching for this post here are some other interesting things I saw: