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The History of Evening Bags and Clutches
The History of Evening Bags and Clutches
“A woman who is sick of her Evening handbag is surely sick of life itself!”
 
Sophisticated ladies have been carrying Evening clutch purses on their elegant evenings out for decades. Beaded or leather, boxy or soft, there is no more perfect evening accessory--besides your date!
 
An evening bag is a handbag which is designed to be used during the evening at formal events and parties. The distinguishing feature of this type of bag is its size: most are capable of holding only a few items.
 
Evening bag is a woman’s last secret hiding place, full of mystery and wonder. The first Evening bag however had much more humble beginnings, probably made from a few skins and bone to carry your only possessions, it has now transformed into a portable boudoir of vanity.
 
Many evening bags are designed by Evening Clutch Bags manufacturer as clutches, meaning that they have no straps and they are meant to be held in the hand. Depending on the designer, a bag can be simple and understated, or outrageous, with elaborate beading, embroidery, or textiles. Many designers also create bags in a range of colors, ensuring that clients can find one which will accessorize appropriately with their dresses.
 
The world's oldest handbagEvening Bag (Pouch) French c.19th Century1800 Lady with Reticule Bag, small handbag with a drawstring, Empire and Directoire Period Gaming purse 17-18th century
 The world's oldest handbag       Evening Bag c.19th   1800s Lady with Reticule Bag    Gaming purse 17-18th century
 
The Origin of Evening Clutch Purses
Evening bags actually got their start as a coin purse hung from a girdle around the waist. The thing that differentiates the evening bag from a regular handbag is that evening bags have always had a certain status appeal and do not take into consideration practicality.
 
The origins of the evening bag would not be complete with mentioning the reticule bag that was first carried by the empress Josephine and soon taken up by ladies of the court and then the countryside.
 
The idea of the Evening clutch purse originated in the Victorian era with the reticule, a decorative bag in which a proper lady stored her handkerchief and smelling salts. Reticules then went out of fashion, but came back with a roar during World War II when rationing demanded that things be smaller and women struggled to simplify their lives. After the war, the clutch purse became the evening bag of choice for elegant women everywhere. Sometimes made of Lucite or Bakelite, or silk, satin or brocade, the clutch purse could be tailored to match your dress and shoes and finish your look to perfection.
 
THE HISTORY OF Evening Handbags: A TIMELINE
Do you know your beloved Evening handbag from which prototype? Or, are you sure which periods that your vintage handbag from? Today's most common styles of Evening bags, in fact, have already appeared in the 1930s. They have gone through a century; still constantly look new, not outdated, but became more popular and fashionable.
 
In the 13th and 14th century, evening bags were pieced together from beautiful and elaborate wall hangings, rich with embroidery, and also vestments from religious clothing. Another influence for the evening bag was “Evening bag has become a symbol of identity and status.”, a small pouch wore at the waist of a rich lady where she would keep alms for the poor. This bag marked her as a high status person by carrying around money for those less fortunate than herself. The more elaborate the bag, the wealthier the lady.
 
During the time of Queen Elizabeth (from 15th to 16th century), evening bags were crocheted into the shapes of clusters of grapes and animals such as frogs. As women started to carry around more for the evening (fans, perfumes, and calling cards), Evening Clutch bags needed to get bigger and silk knotted bags were used. This trend, however, did not last long and smaller (and more feminine) bag once again became de rigeur for the elegant lady.
 
A new level of card game mania swept Europe during the 17th century and continued into the 18th century. Gambling with cards or "gaming" was a favored pastime of all ages and classes, these bags had symbols involving thrift and sayings of the day. The gaming bags were used to carry winnings from games the well-to-do played with each other. Gaming purses, round flat-bottomed pouches that closed by means of a drawstring were worked in various materials. Its repeat pattern of pink flowers is interrupted only once by a single yellow flower.
 
Early 1900s
During this period, hanging bags were seen as more feminine; women often carried dangling bags from their wrists. By the 19th century, handbags for women became an increasingly popular accessory, as well as an avenue for women to show off their artistic and needlework skills. This was a time in which women truly began to use bags as custom accessories to their outfits, or for the occasion, such as shopping, parties or other social events. These bags transcended the traditional personal handbag in that they were designed for the new lifestyles that the railroad created, yet they still retained handcrafted personalization, such has hand-painted names or initials.
 
1920s
Beginning in the 1920s, as more women ventured beyond the traditional roles that kept them in the home, bags were needed for cosmetics, shopping and travel. Art deco clutches and beaded fringe bags were all the rage for flappers out on the town. Ladies and Miss Princess like to customized fashion Evening handbags to match their opera binoculars and folding fan.
Women carried "pochettes," a clutch featuring geometric motifs, which they carried casually under their arms, it came into mainstream fashion. Bags also reflected the Art Deco movement, which emphasized abstraction and new industrial materials, such as plastic and zippers.
 
Beaded fringe bag from the 1920s. Photo from divelegant. Purse, Evening Date 1920–29 Culture French Medium silk, metal, leather by Kami zuzu 1920s Evening bag metmuseum.org
Beaded fringe bag from the 1920s. Photo from divelegant. Purse, Evening Date 1920–29 Culture French Medium silk, metal, leather by Kami zuzu 1920s Evening bag metmuseum.org

 

1930s – The Great Depression

The great depression of the 1930’s that followed meant a period of frugality which reflected in the style of bags. Many people reworked their old ones or did not indulge in what was deemed as a luxury purchase.
 
Meantime, Jeweler launch a small box (treasure box) studded with gold and silver jewelry, called minaudiere (An evening bag or clutch with a hard case and often covered in beads or crystals). These jeweled clutches soon become the new favorite of socialite and movie star. Years later, the Italian leather goods supplier - Bottega Veneta, they replace gold and silver jewelry to Leather elaborate; create the same luxurious Knot Clutch.
Art Deco satin evening bag from the 30s. Photo from The Purse Place on Ruby Lane. Van Cleef &Arpels Radiant Minaudière™
Art Deco satin evening bag from the 30s. Photo from The Purse Place on Ruby Lane. Van Cleef &Arpels Radiant Minaudière™
 
1940s
With WWII, Bags change to bigger, more angular and more practical, reflecting a sense of self-sufficiency, became a military, austere style.

 

Metal frames, zippers and leather were in short supply. Clutch Evening Handbag Supplier and Manufactures improvised using plastic and wood for frames and synthetic fabrics. During the years of materials shortage, a classic elegant and charming small bag was coming out. In 1947, Gucci craftsmen bend Japanese bamboo after heating; make it in a semicircle handle. After the war of 1950, this bamboo handle handbag becomes even more popular.
Evening purse Paola Bordaz (French) Date ca. 1935 Culture French Medium silk, metal, cotton Gucci Bamboo
Evening purse Paola Bordaz (French) Date ca. 1935 Culture French Medium silk, metal, cotton Gucci Bamboo
 
1950s – The New Look
In the 1950’s came a new era “The New Look” spearheaded by Christian Dior in Paris. The war was over and new materials such as Bakelite, Raffia, Mother of Pearl, Leather and Suede were being used. It was the golden era of travel, the international jet set and Hollywood movie goddesses. The designs were exquisite and well made even with the new industry of mass production.

 

The first hot wave of designer handbags, handbags yet have different sizes. Chanel was originally knitted fabrics produced these handbags, quickly switch to the leather. 
Vintage Crochet PATTERN Half Hat Evening Bag Beaded 50s Vintage, Silver Beaded Purse Evening Bag circa 1950s Vogue - 1950 No fuss, just clean lines and simplistic style even with the small business of the bag and the hat
Vintage Crochet PATTERN Half Hat Evening Bag Beaded 50s Vintage, Silver Beaded Purse Evening Bag circa 1950s Vogue - 1950 No fuss, just clean lines and simplistic style even with the small business of the bag and the hat
 
1960's
With the rise of youth-centric culture, Youthful bag styles become popular, such as the long, narrow clutch and the dainty shoulder bag with long chains or straps.

 

Swing girl of Rock and jazz flapper all love freedom and sloppy. The Beatles and other idols set off a wave of India tour, military bags and exotic ethnic style cloth bag became a favorite of hippies.
1960s Evening Bag Rhinestone Clasp I have always loved these. I love how it feels to touch it. Fantastic vintage metallic clutch purse with metal strap. Great 1960's evening bag! Gold metallic vinyl and crochet 1960s evening bag (1,380 PHP) found on Polyvore
1960s Evening Bag Rhinestone Clasp I have always loved these. I love how it feels to touch it. Fantastic vintage metallic clutch purse with metal strap. Great 1960's evening bag! Gold metallic vinyl and crochet 1960s evening bag (1,380 PHP) found on Polyvore
 
1970s – A decade of Glam Rock
Women represented support for the feminist movement by donning bags with lots of buckles and zipper, suggesting a readiness and strength.
 
The 1970’s belonged to Glam Rock, this was a time of excess and glitz and the “Queen of Clutch” was Judith Leiber. Her first model came back imperfect from the factory, to cover the blemished gold plaiting, Leiber scattered rhinestones across the base of the bag.

 

The result was her first metal bag, the “Chatelaine”, the predecessor to her infamous evening bag, the “Minaudiere”. That isn’t the first word that springs to mind when describing a telephone studded with Swarovski crystals but her bags are fun, fabulous and expensive, loved by socialites, housewives and eccentric pop stars such as Lady Ga Ga and Katy Perry.
 
1970s – A decade of Glam Rock 1970's Judith Leiber Rhinestone Minaudiere Early Design Lady Gaga with a black and white clutch bag
1970s – A decade of Glam Rock 1970's Judith Leiber Rhinestone Minaudiere Early Design Lady Gaga with a black and white clutch bag
 
1980's
Women wear a suit, short skirts and high heels, handbags became more sparkle and logo clearly visible. Growing concern for health and fitness was a catalyst to the popularity and mass production of sports bags.
 

 

Miuccia Prada designed a black nylon knapsack that became the first well-known unisex bag. Its emergence and popularity, make the fashion industry will notice the environmental consciousness and Ushered in a wave of minimalist fashion, also further consolidate its position as designer handbags - although a nylon bag, which can not cheap.
 
1stdibs.com 1980's Judith Leiber Swarovski Crystal Minaudiere Evening Purse 1978 Judith Leiber metal, glass,and silk evening bag. Gift of Judith Leiber, via MMA. c1980s evening bag. Gilt bronze & 150 stones with an average height of 1 each. by 31 Fevrier, Paris. via The End of Historyc1980s evening bag. Gilt bronze & 150 stones with an average height of 1 each. by 31 Fevrier, Paris. via The End of History
1stdibs.com 1980's Judith Leiber Swarovski Crystal Minaudiere Evening Purse 1978 Judith Leiber metal, glass,and silk evening bag. Gift of Judith Leiber, via MMA. c1980s evening bag. Gilt bronze & 150 stones with an average height of 1 each. by 31 Fevrier, Paris. via The End of History
 
1990s
Fendi changed everything In 1997 by launching the first ever “IT Bag” the Fendi Baguette. Designed to be carried under the arm like a French loaf, the Fendi Baguette become a Star Handbag around the world, despite it hefty price tag.
You can see Designer handbags and functional handbags in the streets everywhere.

 

Everyone can find their own style: Hermes bags with enormous H or Chanel handbags have double C logo, emphasis on both style and functionality of Kate Spade handbags and small rectangle Fendi shoulder bag etc. 
Alexander McQueen evening bag with skull clasp. Chanel 1990's Metallic evening bag fendi-baguette-clutch-bag Sex and The City
Alexander McQueen evening bag with skull clasp. Chanel 1990's Metallic evening bag fendi-baguette-clutch-bag Sex and The City
 
Evening Bags Today
Evening bags and clutches were first worn by nobility such as Empress Josephine of France and adopted by the women of court, where the smaller and more exotic the bag the higher the class and status.
 
Most women would only be carrying a lipstick, compact mirror (which often came with the purse, sometimes cunningly attached), comb, and perhaps a single key or, if it was an evening out with girlfriends, some cash. Nowadays, what with iPhone and wallets and other necessities, it's much more difficult to go out with a tiny bag. For the nights when you don't need to carry much, you can still get a charming Evening clutch that holds just what you need and sets off your outfit as well.
 
Today, Most of all we crave a sexy evening bag that transforms us into a goddess for the night. These small bags show inverse snobbery, not how much you can carry but how little, a lipstick and a cash card on the inside with all the opulence shown on the outside with embellishment and beadwork.
 
Alexander McQueen at Paris Spring 2013 Judith Leiber crystal minaudiere the evening clutch with stylized floral design in silver, pink, red, green, purple and black Austrian crystals Circa - 1990s.
Alexander McQueen at Paris Spring 2013 Judith Leiber crystal minaudiere the evening clutch with stylized floral design in silver, pink, red, green, purple and black Austrian crystals Circa.

 

Marchesa evening bag Fall 2013  The House of Beccaria Judith Leiber Garden Gates Evening Bag Marchesa- Evening Bags
Marchesa evening bag Fall 2013  The House of Beccaria Judith Leiber Garden Gates Evening Bag Marchesa- Evening Bags
 
New trends:
1, Coexistence of Futuristic and Overwhelming Retro is a major feature
2, Decorate big and small sizes gorgeous gems
3, Absolutely gorgeous colors: Sliver, Golden, Black, red, yellow, orange, green etc.
4, Wax, PVC, leather and other new creative materials with blend of retro appearance show creative ideas
5, Unique animal pattern textures is still popular
6, Designers more care on dark lines and understated touch, make it have More real wear value in daily collocation.
 
If you are sourcing for your next great Evening bags, HungHEE’ team invites you to browse our selection and discover the ultimate in style and functionality at HungHee.com - Reliable Evening Bags Clutches Manufacturer in China.
 
Reference Links:

Further Reading
External links: 1stdibs.com metmuseum.org 

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