Monday, September 12, 2011

Its in the Bag with Enid!

These days the ladies handbag or purse is a just another object turned out by the so called luxury market, usually adorned with a logo or some other recognisable feature that makes it instantly recognisable. For some if it does not have a logo it is not worth having. Coupled with the amazing amount of fakes and copies that flood the market it is very hard to tell in some cases whether you have paid thousands of dollars or a couple of hundred for the object of your desire. Used as a status symbol these bags are seen by the owners, as something which will draw envious glances from friends and passers-by.

There is no question that the material and workmanship in such bags can be of the highest quality, but do we really want to carry around a bag that is as exciting as a loaf of sliced bread, with someone else’s initials on it?

Not so in the mid 60’s if you owned and Enid Collins. For the young American woman in this era, an Enid Collins was the ‘must have” fashion accessory. They were fun and fabulous, the right bag for a casual mode of dress which the Americans championed. The very features and hallmarks of these bags, which spearheaded their popularity back then, are making them just the right accessory for today’s eclectic approach to dress.

Instantly recognisable for their artsy, whimsical handbags, these bags are highly collectible. Founded by Enid Collins and her husband in Medina Texas, they primarily made two types of bags - wooden box purses, and canvas bucket style bags. Each purse was hand decorated with paint, sequins and rhinestones in themed designs. As time went by more ornamentation was added, as this made them more popular.
The design aesthetic was very similar to items coming out of Scandinavia in the 50’s and 60s which gave them a sort of European cachet. Although logos and signatures did appear on the bags it was a discreet reminder that this was a bag by Enid Collins. It was more like the signature of an artist on a painting not the blatant advertising that is apparent today.

Never intended to be fad creations, Enid Collins finished all of her handbags with leather trim, mirrors, brass findings and fasteners. They were intended to be good quality, fun day bags. A bit of glitz on the way to the grocery store!

The designs all had names;--each told a story--each had something special or personal that the prospective customer could relate to. Some of Enid's classic designs are "Money Tree," "Road Runner," "Night Owl," "Carriage Trade," "Cable Car," "Sea Garden," "Love," and many more.

During the late 60s, the Collins company manufactured complete do-it-yourself kits called Sophistikits in which customers could make their own Enid Collins ‘original’.

Enid Collins purses and bags combined a love of art and fashion by their creator. Now one of the most instantly recognisable bags of the current retro/vintage craze, for the young lady about town these are a must.

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