IN BETWEEN CLUTCHES AND MINAUDIÈRES, BOX CLUTCHES HAVE SOMETHING THAT MAKES THEM PARTICULARLY ATTRACTIVE: THEIR RIGIDITY
Sometimes they have little mirrors or perfume atomizers that turn them into little portable dressing tables. However, the reason why we choose them has nothing to do with practicality. Their mysterious chest appearance makes them too hard to resist.
Vintage evening box clutches were made of various leathers and materials. Metal is the star. Silversmithing is undoubtedly the quintessential manufacturing technique for box clutches. In evening bags, functionality is the least important aspect, and the splendour of finishes becomes a priority. Box clutches are usually made of carved, chiselled, or hand-painted metal. Non-metallic box clutches have a hard case that is embellished with a wide variety of finishes. Diverse tissues, tapestries, velvets, wild silks, and satins wrap the hard surfaces, over which hand painting, embroidery, or Petit Point are often used to depict floral scenes.
Exotic skins such as snakeskin, tortoise, crocodile, lizard, ostrich, and eel skin are extremely thin, being able to adhere perfectly to these hard surfaces and creating, in turn, an even more alluring padded box effect.
Box clutches are usually made in dyed, engraved, or smooth cowhide, goatskin, calfskin, or lambskin, offering the most exquisite finish. Synthetic and patent leather are used for the same purpose.
Golden, silver, and bronze boxes are sometimes adorned with cut steel beads, but they also come in a myriad of colours and shapes. For instance, strass – or glass imitation diamond – is also made in a variety of colours to imitate other coloured gems.
Metal mesh is a classic for evening bags and, although it is highly valued for its drop, it also comes in rigid form. Whiting & Davis, the world’s most renowned mesh bag designer and manufacturer, has been making them since 1920.
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