The end of the First World War in 1919 brought a breath of fresh air to people's lives and changed attitudes. Visual arts prevailed in all aspects of life in the early 1920. Chic Art Deco became quintessential for the Roaring Twenties. Almost an entirely American phenomenon, it was however born in France and derived its name from the Exposition of Decorative Arts and Modern Manufacturers in Paris in 1925. The diverse Art Deco produced an abundance of streamlined, sophisticated designs. In fashion, interest had shifted to refined symmetry and balance, straight edges and vivid hues. A clutch, or an underarm, invented in France and introduced in New York in 1925, appeared in various versions: a framed pouch with a back-strap or no strap; a framed flat envelope; a frameless folded envelope with a front flap; and a handbook with a flat top handle. Particular attention was paid to quality craftsmanship. Depending on the usage, numerous Art Deco handbag styles were divided into 4 major groups: daytime bags (in leather, skin, fabrics); formal afternoon or evening bags (silk, embroidery, beaded); gift-bags or novelties; and travel accessories. Newly developed composition materials became the corner-stone of Art Deco. French Galalith that looked exactly like tortoise, rose quartz, or ivory, and especially Prystal - imitation crystal in polished, frosted, or carved effects - were favorites for making amazing clasps and handles. Together with Bakelite, those trimmings revolutionized the handbag industry.
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