GasLamp’s Glam Accessories

By Karen Parr-Moody


Like most women, I delight in accessories. Their color and design is a balm to practical garb. Luckily for fans of GasLamp and GasLamp Too, fabulous accessories can be found in both stores in abundance.


The vintage Enid Collins purse in the photo, right, is one of many that Collins and her husband made on their ranch near Medina, Texas, beginning in the 1950s. The brand was known for tote bags and wooden box purses graced with a sprinkling of bling.


True to the expert designs, this cream-colored bag graced with birds is bedecked with jewels and beads ($45; Booth T-194). This particular Enid Collins pattern is known as Winged Courtship and was popular in the 1960s, as were similar patterns, including Mille Fleur and Night Owl. The formed-canvas bag has leather trims and handles with a wooden base.


Booth T-194 currently features a Caro-Nan basket bag that was handmade in Mississippi (photo, left; $23). “Caro” stands for Carolyn McDaniel and “Nan” stands for Nancy Steele; these were the two women who founded a business in Jackson, Mississippi in 1960s through which they sold hand-painted and découpaged bags. This Caro-Nan signature bag, like many of them, has buildings painted around the bottom; such bags would feature the names of landmarks or traditions in the towns in which they were sold. This particular bag says “Memphis State,” “Court Square,” “The John Gerber Co.” and “Cotton Carnival.” Many of the Caro-Nan bags also had a “lucky penny” stuck on the top of the bag, which this one does, as well.


Needlepoint handbags emerged in the late 1700s as a convenient accessory for carrying one’s fans and gloves. They have been popular, in one form or other, in the centuries since. The needlepoint bag in the photo, right, is in mint condition ($36.50; Booth T-194). What a find. Such a bag, with its chic color palette, metal frame and floral print, would be a welcome alternative to the usual evening bag.


In bright sun hats can be pure frivolity, but in bitter cold they can help fight the elements, as would either of these vintage 1960s pillbox hats in the photo, below left (both $40 at Booth T-504). The chocolate-colored sable hat is from Victoria-Claire, a boutique that was once located at 51 Rue Pastorelli in Nice, the capital of the French Riviera. The blonde mink is from Connecticut Furriers, a premiere fur salon that still exists in New Britain, Connecticut.   


As hairstyles grew in volume 1960s – think beehive – hats got accordingly smaller, including the pillbox hats favored by Jacqueline Kennedy. By the late Sixties, hats faded away; in 1967 the Catholic Church abandoned its dress code that required head coverings for women.


Both GasLamp and GasLamp Too are known for a wide array of antiques, but they also feature purveyors of vintage clothing and accessories. In 2016, it's time to buy retro clothes, bags, shoes and jewelry so that you can see and be seen.  


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