Ladylike '30s

The self-indulgent Art Deco period ruled for almost a decade. However, when the Great Depression hit in 1929, very few people could afford to be fashionable anymore. Most women were happy with a simple, warm dress and a practical, low-priced handbag. Expensive bags were out of reach for most people, which motivated manufacturers to experiment with composition materials to lower costs. Vinyl, Bakelite, French Galalith and Prystal were widely used during that period of economic despair, a time that became most creative in the history of fashion rich in amazing designer talent. The early 1930s Art Deco mode was marked by the transformation of the boyish style of the Flapper era into dramatic femininity and romanticism. It became a pinnacle of ingenuity. A vast variety of handbag shapes, sizes and handles were invented: an architectural top handle, a back handle, a drawstring, or no handle at all. Double-deckers, bracelet bags, and boudoir bags outfitted with full sets of makeup accessories made up a kaleidoscope of choices to complement sweet and tidy fashion by day and real glamour by night. A new fashion evolved to be more feminine and fascinating in its diversity, with early 1930s bags boasting graceful contours, soft shades, attractive linings and effective ornamentation. The commonly used materials included patent leathers, water snake, suede, fabrics and fine silk. Antelope led in favorites - crushed into soft folds. The visible changes of the silhouette became apparent in about 1935, when less severe, smoothed-out mode emerged to complement the romantic flair of summer silks and winter tweeds. Practical femininity replaced the strong, masculine notes of Art Deco. Rich in creativity and novel ideas, the Retro style had emerged constructed on the solid foundation of Art Deco by preserving its classical symmetry through decades. Generous pleating and shirring were incorporated into every Retro design to increase the capacity of the new bags. 



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