1930s Vintage La Mode Compact in Original Velvet Box
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Directory: Popular Collectibles: Nostalgia: Fashion: Accessories: Pre 1940: Item # 401242
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You can't judge this "book" by its cover - but it's one you'll open again and again! The case for our elegant book-shaped mother of pearl compact is a book in its own right: "bound" in rich burgundy cut velvet and with "pages" incised in the gilded edges. What an amazing lot of care La Mode put into packaging its nicest purse accessories - and no wonder these were romantic gifts treasured for generations.
The compact within, about 2 1/2" tall, 2 1/4" wide and half an inch tall, is of extremely high quality: made of heavy gilt brass surfaced thickly with a gorgeous slice of luminous mother-of-pearl and fitted with a very fine metal-framed, beveled mirror. Some powder remains behind the loose face powder well, and there's pressed rouge, too, (a beautiful shade) plus a signed puff (used). There's even a wonderful printed enclosure that reads: "Save this label!" and conveys the Massachusetts-based Ripley & Gowan Company's promise of endless rouge refills for 25 cents' worth of stamps and a new puff for 10 cents extra. This is really a CUTIE - and, if you collect antique and vintage compacts, you know how rare it is to find all these bits still together after decades!
The luxurious box in which you'll love displaying these items measures about 4 3/4" x 3 5/8". At one end, its cardboard edges have separated and could be easily reglued, if that bothers you. Of course there's some loss of gilding to the edges after so long and a few small spots are on the creamy satin that lines the inside cover. The other interior fabric is a beautiful gold cut velvet, in great shape like the exterior. The compact's lid lifts from the bottom and snaps shut securely. Gilding shows age-appropriate surface wear (mainly on the back), but I find no other problems. Probable dating would be 1930s. Book-shaped compacts were popular then, the company began making compacts at that time and this *does* have a Late Deco look. Provenance is a Dallas area estate.
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