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Evening Bags

As the sun goes down, the anticipation builds for the evening ahead and that outfit you’ve been day dreaming about all day. Whether you’ve had a hurried outfit change or a leisurely preparation, after a final spritz of scent, the last crucial component to grab as you leave is your evening bag.  These pockets of perfection give us the freedom to express ourselves without making the long term style commitment of our daily tote.  From dazzling detail to intense pops of colour, shopping for that perfect bag is like hunting for your favourite treat in a sweet shop. 

In the late 18th century when detachable pockets hidden in the folds of skirts became impossible with the new fashion for light muslin dresses with drastically narrowed willowy silhouettes, the carrying of a small external bag became essential.  Over the past 200 years, though there might be less call for smelling salts and fans and more need for phone space and your perfect lipstick, the spirit of these receptacles of elegant essentials has changed very little.  From the 19th century to the contemporary, diminutive evening bags can pack an impressive style punch.  Designers and craftspeople have used them to showcase techniques to dazzling effect. From the fabulously moulded or jewelled clicking clasp to fiendishly detailed bead purse, metallic tones like pewter to the simplicity of an achingly elegant shape.  Whether dangling from your wrist or tucked nonchalantly from one arm, you know you want your vintage evening bag to get noticed. 

Vogue wrote in 1920: ‘Sometimes an evening bag looks for all the world like a bunch of violets, but its stems pull apart and leave just enough room for a bit of rouge and powder and a handkerchief like a cobweb.’ Just for the night, evening bags have never needed to fit within the constructs of other bags.  They have no anatomical necessity other than some way to hold them. They can take any shape or form and there is no need for them to be practical or durable. From a simple black silk pocket, to Lulu Guinness Lips to a real fish bowl, we have seen them in every form.  The 20th century has been a period of material innovation with new plastics like bakelite, lucite in the 1930s extending the possibilities of creation for designers.  Today, designer evening bags take more than a little inspiration from vintage evening bags.  Take a look at the Open for Vintage evening bag collection and find your original piece.

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Vintage 1950s Black Beaded Evening Bag

A black bugle and round bead triangular pattern beaded evening bag with a scalloped detail top and gold tone frame

Vintage 1960s Turquoise Beaded Evening Bag

1960's beaded evening bag with sequins and faceted drops hanging from beaded hoops and a chain shoulder strap

Vintage 1950s Gold Beaded Evening Bag

This is a beautifully beaded evening bag with a gold tone clip frame and a gold satin lining

Vintage 1940s Amber Coloured Lucite Box Evening Bag

This is the most beautiful Lucite box handbag with a figure of eight link chain handle

Chanel Silver Metallic Quilted Leather Fringed Mini Vintage Shoulder Bag

Authentic Chanel mini shoulder flap shoulder bag in silver metallic quilted leather.

Louis Vuitton Pochette Orange Epi Leather Bag

Authentic Louis Vuitton Pochette accessories in epi leather with alkantra lining on the inside

Chanel Red Quilted Leather & Gold Tone Chain vintage Shoulder Bag & Wallet

Authentic Chanel Red quilted leather shoulder bag

Vintage 1920s Hand Beaded Floral Pattern Fringe Detail Beige Wristlet Bag

Vintage 1920s hand beaded wristlet bag in beige with a floral motif.

Vintage 1920s Art Deco Metal Mesh Enamel Gold Tone Evening Bag

Vintage 1920s Art Deco evening bag in gold tone metal mesh with black and white enamel.

Vintage 1920s Beaded Patterned Multicoloured Beggar Bag

Vintage 1920s beggar bag in patterned multicoloured beads.

Vintage 1960s Poodle Embellished Black Handbag

1960's clip top black vintage handbag embellished with a poodle on one side with petit point, curled threads and shapes beads

I. Magnin and Co. 1940s Bronze Beaded Vintage Evening Bag

Upright rectangular box shaped bronze beaded evening bag with a gold tone frame and clasp

Judith Lieber 1980s Snakeskin Beige Vintage Handbag

1980's snake skin evening bag with a gathered front and back and a textured gold tone top set with different coloured glass gems

Vintage 1920s Enamelled Mesh Yellow, Red and Black Evening Bag

1920's vintage evening bag with gold tone mesh enamelled with yellow and a red and black geometric design.

Antique Edwardian Petit Point Panel Floral Jacquard Black Pouch Evening Bag

Edwardian black jacquard pouch shaped bag with a gold tone chain and strap set with blue glass stones

Chanel Ice Cube Clear and Silver Tone Vintage Clutch Bag

Chanel clear perspex ice or jelly cube style bag with solver tone hardware including a chain shoulder strap.

Christian Dior Crystal Floral Embelished Black Vintage Shoulder Bag

Dior black leather flap shoulder bag with floral crystal embellishment and chain shoulder strap

Fendi 1990s Beaded Bronze Vintage Baguette Bag

Classic Fendi Baguette Bag in Bronze brown beads with a red glitter resin insert clasp and crocodile leather trim

Chanel 2014 Bee Clasp Velvet and Silk Black Vintage Handbag

Vintage Chanel clitch-style handbag from 2014 in black velvet and silk with a gold tone metal bee clasp.

Dolce & Gabbana Flower Hardware Black Vintage Silk Evening Bag

Vintage Dolce & Gabbana evening bag in black silk with flower shaped hardware and a D&G charm.

Chanel Satin Bijoux Chain Black Vintage Shoulder Bag

Chanel black satin quilted bag with bijoux quilted gold tone chain

Antique Chinese 1800s Embroidered Silk Red Glasses Case Pouch

Antique Chinese glasses case in red embroidered silk from the 1800s.

Lulu Guinness Big Bow Leather Black Vintage Clutch Bag

Lulu Guinness lizard texture black leather clutch bag with an oversized gathered bow on the front

Zardozi 1930s/1940s embroidered peacock motif black velvet vintage bag

Beautiful peacock design Zardozi embroidered and gemmed black velvet evening bag from the late 1930s or early 1940s.

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