If you haven’t already noticed, the modernised beaded bag has been getting favoured as of late on both the e-tailers and the arms of our favourite fashionistas. From Beyonce herself to supermodel Gigi Hadid and Jpop and fashion half of the Amiaya twinset, this bold and flirty wardrobe essential is officially the must-have accessory of the season.
Photo: Instagram (@rosantica_official)
Photo: Instagram (@susan_alexandra)
Photo: Instagram (@susan_alexandra)
But before we dive into this trend, what exactly do we mean by modernised beaded bags?
For starters, the beaded bag has been around in fashion’s archives long enough to warrant it a vintage origin. We speak first to Tina Lim-Long, vintage bag expert and owner of the uniquely charming vintage bag museum in Bali labelled Strange But Cool, to find out more about how these beauties have evolved over time to its current version.
What era did these bags emerge from?
“Beaded purses and bags date back all the way to the eighteenth century but I feel the roaring ’20s was the era that gave them it’s popularity. Think Great Gatsby with their mini micro-beaded purses and flapper fashion.”
How were the beaded bags then different from now?
“Before, glass and metal microbeads–sometimes referred to as “seed beads” because of their size–were often used and resulted in a more delicately crafted appearance. Later, when plastic became more favoured due to their ability to mimic jewellery, the dainty beaded bags of the rich became more accessible to the common man and it evolved in the form of bigger plastic beads or as the frames and lids of beaded bags. The ones done now are nothing close to the micro-beaded ones of the true vintage years!
A Gatsby era handbag, referred to as “flapper purses” and normally handmade.
This circa 1950’s micro-beaded handbag, is a classic example of their glamorous evening bags with other materials incorporated in.
Late 1950s and early 1960s beaded bags started to take the form of plastic beads in brighter colours and bigger sized beads
What are some brands that helped popularise the beaded bag?
“Josef did exquisite micro-beaded bags that were popular in the 1950s with ads showing on Vogue from as early as the 1930s. So did Delil Creations originating from New York City in the 1940s. Walborg Co, founded in the 1940s, was one of the more renown beaded bag companies of their time and gained popularity in the 1950s through 1960s.”
Why do you think the trend of the beaded bag is resurfacing?
“The last 3 seasons saw the houses of Chanel & Dior use a lot of beadwork in their collections. This may have created a mindset of having something pretty in hand–a beaded bag is like a piece of jewellery! It appeals to the little princess in all of us.”
Today, the modern–or as we like to call it, the faux-vintage bag takes on many forms. One popular version, made popular by Susan Alexandra, takes on a cheeky playful style with simple but eye-catching designs. Cue: her Instagram-famous watermelon beaded totes and rainbow Merry tote as seen on Gigi Hadid. Other iterations come in Rosantica’s more refined jewellery-like bags which comes in intricate spheres or delicate mini bucket bags. And even ever-popular Cult Gaia has taken a spin on this trend with their iconic acrylic and basket crossbody bags accessorized with beaded straps. Whether crafted entirely from beads or incorporated into modern day styles, below we’ve gathered the best of these redefined vintage bags that’ll definitely make an impressive statement piece the next time you head out: