Step back in time to Sixties Mini Madness….Here at Angel Jackson, our mini bags are a staple piece of our collections, reappearing in different guises each season. From the geometric Atomic to the chic Samaya, there is something so charming about a compact bag; your shoulders will also breathe a sigh of relief!
Oversized handbags have been the accessory du jour in recent years, whereas the mini bag is a far more enduring style; let us rewind to the 1960s. Say the words ‘Swinging Sixties style’, and you will most likely think of Twiggy, doe eyes peeking from beneath heavy eyelashes, and lithe limbs just about covered by a mini skirt. After years of restrictive corsetry, huge skirts and coiffed hair-do’s in the 1950s, the 1960s gave birth to an era of style that was unlike anything Britain had seen before.
Fashion was hugely influenced by the revolutionary changes happening in the post-war period, and dress became a signifier for these changing attitudes. Perhaps most importantly, the streets of London were now more relevant than the static models that stared out from the pages of Vogue; what was ‘in’ was now being decided by the ‘youth’.
The mini skirt is one of the most iconic items of dress in fashion history. The original ‘inventor’ of this scandalous garment is debated and many designers, from Mary Quant to Andre Courreges, have claimed the title. This skirt was such a source of contention as many claimed it projected the image of women as ‘loose’ and free with their sexuality. The sexual revolution had certainly hit Britain in the 1960s, and in terms of dress, the smaller the better.
One woman had a particular penchant for the mini skirt, and took it one step further by eradicating the need for a mini skirt entirely, wearing black tights, t-shirts and leotards. A style icon to many, she was a key figure of 1960s fashion and her name was Edie Sedgwick. Edith Minturn Sedgwick was born on April 20th 1943 in Santa Barbara, California to a wealthy, blue blood family. Edie had a turbulent and somewhat unorthodox childhood, being placed in a mental hospital for the first time at the age of 18. Following this, her life was a whirlwind of tragedy, creativity, style and art.
Most well known for being Andy Warhol’s muse, Edie was flavour of the moment and in 1965 Life magazine dubbed her “the girl with the black tights”; her cropped platinum hair and heavily lined black eyes became her signature and her photo was everywhere. Despite having a considerably tragic life, Edie’s style is still an influence to many and is poster girl for designers to this day. For his Spring/Summer 2013 show, Marc Jacobs undoubtedly had Ms Sedgwick in his mind, when he sent his models down the catwalk.
As miniskirts became commonplace in a girl’s wardrobe, accessories were also shrinking. The typical handbag style of the 1950s and early 1960s had been a structured, doctors-style bag that hung daintily from the wrist, perfectly emulating the ladylike style favoured during the era. But of course, the style obsessed youth associated these handbags with the older more conservative generation. Handbags became smaller, of varying materials and for the purpose of style rather than practicality. Ossie Clarke even famously sewed a pocket inside his dresses for ‘emergency money’, so a handbag wasn’t even necessary!
One of the most iconic bags of the 1960s was Paco Rabanne’s chainmail purse. The futuristic style was not entirely practical, but sartorial élan was far more important than having a useful accessory. Ahead of Manish Arora’s appointment as womenswear designer for Paco Rabanne in 2011, the label showed a capsule collection of the chainmail bag, with stylist Judy Blame recreating modern versions of the piece. As Arora said of the design; “My own design aesthetic is mirrored in the world of Paco Rabanne, taking something that’s not really a fashion item and making it into one”.
The fashion world is currently harking back to the ‘swinging’ era; this season has seen everything from futuristic chic at Markus Lupfer and Eudon Choi to a full sixties flashback at Moschino. We can’t help but picture an Atomic bag to complement the shift dresses and humbug stripes! Angel Jackson mini bags may be small but they are perfectly formed, and make the ideal bag for an evening out, weekend at a festival or simply as a refreshing change from lugging around an oversized tote! So why not take inspiration from Edie, and lead the trend in mini style.