victorian purse

Pierre Balmain sequined tulle ball gown with painted velvet pheasant feathers, Spring/Summer 1961. Photographed by Fiona Golfar.

Exploring the vast vintage fashion collection of Vogue’s Hamish Bowles:

“I have been amassing examples of fashion history since I was a little boy, when my pocket money of 50 pence a week (about 75 cents) could just about get me little Victorian purses and scraps of lace—if I really saved up.”

Read the full story.


Victorian hand made opera purse with crochet drawstring top.

The beads are the tinest seed beads you could imagine, and each one was sewn onto the base of the purse to create these stunning floral patterns.  The fine webbing was then crocheted all around, to make a drawstring purse.  The purse is approx 12" x 7" and completely original.

This purse was made in Austria for the Opera - using seed beads imported from Bohemia.

These images are from my archives


    Details of a late 19th century opera bag, decorated with metal beadwork. In the late Victorian era, metal beadwork was very fashionable, but very expensive. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that machinery made these adornments more affordable for the general public.