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Handbag Chic: 200 Years of Designer Fashion (Schiffer Book for Collectors with Price Guide) Hardcover – September 1, 2005
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About the Author
Desire Smith is a former high school English teacher in Philadelphia and currently a fashion historian and the author of several books about vintage clothing. She is a consultant for Alderfer Auction Company, in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.
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Written by an antique clothing consultant, it covers handbags from 1759 to present. It clearly is expensively reproduced, on thick glossy pages with 600+ color photos. While enjoyable and pretty, the author obviously went to great pains to make it meticulously accurate, as evidenced by her bibliography and resources.
I particularly appreciated the layout; organized both by time period and medium. Because of this method, it is interesting and easy to see the evolution of each particular style, such as beaded, leather, mesh, skins, textile and plastic. It opens with a selection of historically important bags, culled entirely from her own impressive collection.
- She has photographed (I am sure at great expense) many plastic purses - yes plastic - not LUCITE OR BAKELITE...- lower quality , poor quality manufacturers and priced them at astronomically high prices ....and yet the great bags with the top-best quality manufacturer names, are put in the same price catagory , or less, and there are very few unusual shapes, colors and designs that we all seek today.She did not go to the collectors and use their bags so that you can really see what was made back then and why they are so sought after today - justifying the high prices for the unusual colors-stones and shapes made. The cost of this book is not the problem , if you want a fancy coffee table book - - the information is.It lacks more in depth information on the history of his kind of bag.
The best book out there is the Kate Donner book - but don't waste your money on the new one if you have the old one - it is also the same pictures - but again, the prices are out of line and totally not within todays going numbers. If you want a book for pictures buy Donners book - this one is a total waste of money - maybe for the soft cover, but don't buy this hard cover book unless you want a coffee table book.