Sunday, 5 June 2011

Essential Accessories Exhibition Review and a Little Charity Shop Shopping.

As promised my review of the Essential Accessories exhibition in The Lightbox Museum in Woking. Firstly no pictures from the exhibition itself due to copyright infringements which is very sad though I do understand.
 So all I can share with you the pictures from the leaflet and a link to the wonderful museum in Amsterdam who loaned them out. It's called the Tassenmuseum and there was a fascinating 15 minute video about Hendrikje Ivo the lady who began the collection and how she came to set up the museum.
 She was an antiue dealer who collected tortoise shell, one day 35 years ago she bought a inlaid tortoise shell bag (see picture above) and another passion began! She now has over 4000 bags and decided it was no fun to store them in boxes, they needed to be seen and enjoyed so she opened the museum with her partner. If I ever get back to Amsterdam it's high on my list of places to see.

 I guess this exhibition contained about a quarter of the collection, starting with purses from 1610 through to creations from last years catwalk collections. We were just mindblown by the fact that these very early beaded bags were made using beads the size of a grain of sand stitched with a needle made out of a single horse hair!?! The very early shoes were fascinating too but so ridiculuosly small, it was like looking at childrens, or even dolls shoes, and who would have thought your prim victorian marm might be wearing 6 inch stiletto heels under all her petticoats?
It was so interesting to see how the bag evolved from and essential item carried by both men and women into a frivolous frippery carried only for display, back full circle into an essential item filled with pretty much our whole life. Who doesn't go out without keys, wallet, phone, I.D, etc
Though not everything was to my taste it was easy to pick a favourite from each display cabinet, a game Soo and I like to play. Thankfully we would only have fought over 2 bags lol. Interestingly it was the items from the 80's and 90's that really did not inspire at all. Especially the shoes from the 90's. On the other hand the shoes from the 70's were definitely the most striking. There was a pair of rather battered but obviously well loved red suede Biba shoes, oh I bet they had some tales to tell!
 Hand on heart I couldn't say there was an era or style I liked the best, the collection is so diverse and each decade had very different styles and genres.The thing that we both itched to know was the history of each item. The condition of most of the bags was incredible, someone had obviosly loved and treasured them so much. The little evening purses with half filled dance cards, who owned them? what dance did they go to? The stunning art deco clutch still containing cigerettes, powder and rouge, who was the woman who had filled it? The frighteningly expensive evening bag, was it one of many belonging to some wealthy lady or a much longed for bag purchased after much scrimping and saving, and therefore all the more adored?
It is a wonderful collection and well worth spending a few hours browsing round.

After all that beauty we needed some lunch so we headed back into Woking town centre where we ate Steak and cheese flatbreads with red onion marmalade and a cheeky glass of wine. For the afternoon we decided some shopping was in order and taking a leaf out of Clare at Dolly Cool Clare's book I googled all the charity shops and printed out a map before we left!
In the first shop, which had a half price closing donwn sale I bought these blue gingham curtains for £3.50
 I'm going to make a dress out of these I think.
I also bought this rather splendid Margaret Thatcher-esque handbag for £1.50.
 It's very dirty but I can clean it up.
Next up was this lovely little necklace.
 Again very dirty and someone had knotted the chain to make it shorter. I carefully unpicked the knots and gave it a polish last night.
We struck gold in the local hospice shop. There was so much I could have bought but I restrained myself to this gorgeous designer tuxedo style fitted jacket.
 I need another jacket like a hole in the head but it fitted like a glove, was only £7 and I loved it.
Bargain of the day was this little bag.
 At the museum shop they were selling bags by the same designers 'Hope and Benson' for £69 and above.They were gorgeous but out of my price range. I spotted this one for £6 in the hospice shop, it is brand new with labels still attached!
I also got a little something for my bloggy swap partner. :-)

After we had exhausted the charity shops we headed into the big mall to look for earrings for Soo as she is cheif bridesmaid at a friends wedding soon and is struggling with accessories to her dress. We did find some earrings that might do and I also bought myself these in the same shop.
 Oh I FINALLY found a black cardigan I liked too!

All in all a great day out. Thoughtfully Himself had put a bottle of wine in the fridge so I could collapse in a chair with a glass oif chilled rose and watch Indiana Jones, bliss.


  1. Stop teasing me ;) But keep posting lots of your finds as my 'stalker' list is growing nicely :)

  2. Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog on Friday, they meant a lot. I definately had that tea you suggested, but there was no cake :(

    Great charity shop finds! Does woking have a lot of them? x

  3. ...Brilliant post, but my mind started wandering at the mention of red onion marmalade ;) xx

  4. Vicki I very nearly posted a picture but stopped myself just in time lol. I just hope you like them - eek.

    Juli you are very welcome and I think Woking probably has an average amount of charity shops for a big town, we went into 6.

    Justine the marmalade was very, very good.

  5. What great finds, I love a Granny handbag.
    Have you tried this link:
    It's my go to site when I'm off on a road trip. xxx

  6. Wow, you win at charity shops for the month. That bag was such a good find! The necklace is really pretty, too.