By Dorothy Howell, Author of Shoulder Bags and Shootings: A Haley Randolph Mystery
Fashion is a major player in Hollywood. Wardrobe departments spend tireless hours perfecting the right "look" for their actors. Celebrity stylists live or die by the image they craft for their clients. Magazines and television shows devote themselves to photos and descriptions of celebrity clothing and accessories.
From the style and elegance of fashion icons such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn during Hollywood's Golden Era, to pics of celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Reece Witherspoon hitting the trendy L.A. shops, the public is fascinated by what they're wearing.
Regardless of current styles, situations or occasions, no actress or fashion icon would be caught in public without one indispensable fashion accessory -- her handbag.
This year's Oscar night saw pastels and bright colors, along with ruffles and trains, outside the Kodak Theater; most accompanied by a gorgeous clutch. The different shapes and sizes decorated with jewels glistening under the lights, made it the accessory to watch.
Anna Kendrick, a first-time nominee, carried a jeweled Judith Leiber clutch. Elizabeth Banks accessorized her Verace gown with a gray snakeskin and silver crystal clutch from Salvatore Ferragamo. Diva Demi Moore, ruled the red carpet with a gold leather envelope clutch, while Kate Winslet rocked an Yves Saint-Laurent silver satin bag. These Hollywood fashionistas proved nothing completes a red-carpet look like a handbag.
Yet for all their glamour and prestige, today's top handbag designers had decidedly unfashionable beginnings. Louis Vuitton made travel trunks in the 1800s, while Hermés crafted horse harnesses for Europe's aristocracy. Prada, Fendi, and Gucci were known for their leather baggage.
These houses made the jump to light speed, fashion wise, by looking into the future and adapting to changing times, and today they give us some of the most sought-after handbags in the world.
Purses aren't just another glitz and glamour accessory. Like all Hollywood beauties, the handbag is expected to work. Whether in a starring or a supporting role, the handbag is often in the spotlight.
Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrie Bradshaw, on the Sex and the City television show, received a Judith Leiber handbag from Big. The cupcake purse by this famed designer made an appearance in the SATC movie. Samantha Jones, played by Kim Cattrall, ran afoul of Lucy Liu over a long awaited Birkin bag.
Ruth Buzzi turned her purse into a weapon and fought off her hapless, would-be attacker on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. A decades-old skit so funny it can still be viewed on YouTube.
Who can forget Jamie Farr's portrayal of Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger and his desperate attempt to get discharged from the Army by dressing in drag on the long running television show M*A*S*H? He went about his duties wearing a dress, hat, gloves, high heels and, of course, carrying a handbag.
The style, glitz and glam of a Hollywood-worthy purse are available to the everyday fashionista. Retail, discount, and online stores abound. Be the star of your own show with the handbag of your dreams.
Author Bio Dorothy Howell, author of Shoulder Bags and Shootings: A Haley Randolph Mystery, was inspired to write Handbags and Homicide by her crazed obsession with designer purses. She lives in Southern California, where there is, thankfully, no rehab program for handbag addiction, and is hard at work on her next Haley Randolph mystery. Visit her Website at www.DorothyHowellNovels.com.
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