Clutch history: Dior, Dynasty and minaudière Read more

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Fashion historian Milana Abiyeva continues her story about the history of clutches in an article for the online magazine «Shipyards». This time we will talk about the modern life of this wonderful accessory.

Today I suggest you continue our journey into the fashionable past and find out what fate was in store for the minaudière, who won the hearts of all women without exception. So, the newfangled accessory created by Van Cleef and Arpels pleased not only its owner, but also inspired other jewelry houses to create the same wonderful “boxes” encrusted with precious stones.

Clutch History: Dior, Dynasty and Minaudière
Miroslava Duma wearing a minaudière by Chanel complemented by an iconic chain

Soon, minaudières became immensely widespread, and their design, as well as the materials from which they were made, became simpler, which means that the newfangled handbag became available not only to trendsetters and owners of multimillion-dollar empires, but also to mere mortals. However, for everyday wear, the minaudière still could not be called extremely comfortable and roomy — such an accessory was ideal for an evening out.

At this moment, a clutch bag comes to the rescue — exactly the same as we know it today. Clutches-envelopes, which appeared as a result of the evolution of the minaudière, became an integral part of the female silhouette of the 1930s. What can more expressively tell about the style and fashion of the 1930s, except for a photo of a Hollywood diva in a fur fight with an elegant clutch in her hand?

Clutches were the perfect complement to the glamorous dresses and suits of the decade. And not only decades — after all, wartime fashion, in the absence of the opportunity to create something new, retained many elements of the thirties.

Restrictions on the use of fabric, which led to a simplification of the silhouette in the forties, made the image of a woman very angular and a little dull. However, the clutch, which often complemented such images, added elegance to them and, in addition, gave warm memories of the bygone serene days. It is surprising that the fashionable silhouette continued to change, mercilessly crowding out its predecessors, and the clutch did not lose its relevance. So, even with the revolution in the fashion world made by Christian Dior, the accessory has not lost its position.

On the contrary, with the advent of the “new look” and the fashion for refined elegance, clutches were most welcome. The fashion of the fifties, which established the most severe rules about what can be combined with what and promoted the unity of the ensemble, clutches were very fond of.

Clutch History: Dior, Dynasty and Minaudière
Betty Davis with clutch, 1930s
Clutch History: Dior, Dynasty and Minaudière
Vogue model 1950s Source: Condé Nast

It is difficult to imagine sophisticated outfits from Cristobal Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain or Christian Dior without the addition of an elegant clutch — whether it is an evening minaudière covered in silk or velvet, or its more voluminous «relative» made of leather. In the following decades, clutches continued to complement evening ensembles, however, as hippie aesthetics gained momentum and the fashion of the seventies strengthened its position, voluminous roomy bags began to prevail in daytime looks.

Clutch History: Dior, Dynasty and Minaudière
Characters of the series «Dynasty»

But this did not last long — the eighties, with their craving for hypertrophied luxury and megalomania, reanimated clutches. Moreover, it is to this era that we owe the appearance of more voluminous clutches, which we love so much today because of their elegance and spaciousness. The images of the heroines of one of the most popular television series of the decade, Dynasty, often inspire designers and stylists today.

Surprisingly, the clutch has become one of the few handbags that can fit into absolutely any fashionable look — from everyday sport chic to luxurious evening. Today, almost all designers, along with classic models of bags, offer customers several varieties of clutches — both everyday and evening. Exquisite minaudières are also still held in high regard — they are created by both jewelry and fashion houses.

Along with the classic rectangular shape, minaudières often take on the shape of a snake’s head, matryoshka doll, perfume bottle and even a book. I advise you not to neglect this fashion accessory — such a purchase will become a real investment in your wardrobe and will serve you for more than one year, and possibly more than one decade.

Clutch History: Dior, Dynasty and Minaudière
Kate Middleton with a clutch. Source: Samir Husseyn/wireimage

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