fashion accessory


These two designer bags were made in 2003 and signed by Charleston designer, Mary K. Norton. They were retailed under her Moo Roo / Charleston label at her shop at 316 King Street. 

The black satin purse with three fabric magnolias is entitled Southern Lady. The stiff fabric bag has a flap over the font, closing with a magnetic button. It is lined with black satin. 

The flamboyant ostrich feather bag is entitled Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The flowing feather extend beyond the bottom of the bag. It is open at the top with a small flap to close with a magnetic button and the bag is lined with black satin.

Mary K. Norton founded her company in 1998; within eight years it grew to international proportions and locations. She created handbags and shoes for the stars. Her whimsical yet sophisticated designs appealed on many levels and found favor with both red carpet stars and stylish clients. Her boutiques were forced to close in 2009, but in 2010 she restarted her Moo Roo brand and is now even back on King Street at Art Mecca of Charleston.

Both bags are on exhibit in Fashion Accessories: Purses January 25 – April 27, 2014

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from the Charleston Museum’s textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday


A Lesson About the Value of a Hat Pin

This is a picture of my mother. We were attending a Soul Food Luncheon at her church. I realized while we were sitting together that she was wearing a hat pin. I took a couple of pictures of it because this is definitely an old school fashion accessory.

But what many people do not realize is that same hat pin is also considered to be a beautifully crafted weapon. Women were known back in the day to pull the pin out of their hat and use it to stab someone if necessary. The pin’s tip is very sharp and from what I have heard it can be quite painful. 

Pocket watch in a silver pair case. 30-hour duration, single train, gilt brass, four pillar fusee movement with verge escapement. Flat steel balance with flat spiral balance spring. Tompion style regulator on slide plate with silver regulating disc engraved ‘5 - 30’. Engraved and pierced balance cock deppicting an urn. Engraved on the potence plate: 'Jn Chapman’, 'No 513’, 'Loughbro’. Convex enamel dial with narrow Roman hour numerals and minute track. White metal poker minute hand, hour hand broken. Silver pair case, hallmarked London 1784-5 with maker’s incuse stamp 'EL’ (possibly Edward Leeming). Engraved on the inner case back: 'Thomas Masterman Hardy’, '1804’. Engraved on the outer case back: 'TMH’. Stamped inside the bezel with a lion passant cameo. The outer case back is fitted with a glued in cloth liner. Bullseye glass over dial. The pendant and bow are replacements. the hands and dial are later replacements (dial circa 1830). According to 'Leicesteshire Clockmakers’ by John Daniell, John Chapman was a member of the Society of Leicestershire Watch and Clockmakers, founded in 1795. In 1781 Edward Leeming was registered as a case maker at 24 Giltspur Street, London. Attached to this object is a shark tooth pendant, consisting of a single shark’s tooth in a simple silver setting with a soldered mount ring. It is engraved 'EH. 1799’. The pendant is attched to the watch via a silver jump ring and a length of green cord.

I’m really curious to know the story behind Thomas Masterman Hardy and the shark’s tooth–hopefully it’s not something boring like “It came with the watch and it looked pretty so I bought it.”