Vintage Whiting and Davis Art Deco Gold Mesh Evening Bag. A Fabulous Art Deco Cut Out Frame with a shorter beautifully engraved chain handle. The lining is a lovely golden color. There are no stains. It is marked on an inside label and also incised in several places inside the frame itself. Whiting and Davis Made in USA. There is a smaller inner pocket. Measures approx 7" across at bottom and 6 1/2" high. Chain measures approx 11" and can be tucked inside to wear as a clutch. Timeless Fashion Accessory that can be worn on any Special Occasion! Wonderful Condition! Some history: In 1880, an office and errand boy by the name of Charles A. Whiting was hired for 9 cents an hour. Within a short ten-year span, he progressed through the ranks, serving as artisan, salesman foreman, and by 1890 was serving as the company representative for the New York office.
In 1892, Charles Whiting wove by hand the first Whiting & Davis handbag, transforming the ancient art of chainmail into an exquisite fabric. The small purse was crafted in plated ring mesh, roughly three inches square and featured a delicate twist closure and a simple leaf motif on the frame.
By 1896, Charles Whiting partnered with Edward Davis and the name Whiting & Davis was born. With the same drive that transformed metal mesh into fashion, Charles Whiting led the brand into the Twentieth Century - handbags introduced anywhere from 1896 to 1935 continue to be highly sought after styles today by collectors and fans alike. These treasures are often discovered in consignment or antique shops and are distinguished by their intricate craftsmanship and delicate patterns.
The Twenties brought in Art Deco and geometric designs. The designs were adored by women across the country, from Hollywood to the everyday woman. Silent film actress Catherine Calvert was quoted in a Whiting & Davis advertisement in 1922 confessing, "I adore mesh bags... Even were they not the accepted thing among modish women, I confess to the fear that I would possess one simply to revel secretly in the fascination of its gleaming silken-textured mesh."
Whiting & Davis was again recognized when Irving Berlin's production of the 1923 New Music Box Revue was draped with shimmering mesh for the entire elaborate production. They called it the famous "Whiting" soldered mesh. The women danced in silver and golden mesh dresses as an enormous mesh handbag hung in the background scenery. Two scenes celebrated the beauty of mesh, provided by Whiting & Davis, in the "Maid of Mesh" and Fifty Thousand Dollar scenes.
By the end of the decade, Whiting & Davis joined forces with Paul Poiret, a French couturier well-known throughout the Twenties and Thirties, to create a Parisian-style collection of handbags. The collection was introduced through a dramatic full-page ad in The Jewelers Circular, announcing the colorful, painted handbags featuring Dresden, flat and Beadlite mesh. The handbags featured Art Deco frames and were lined with a structured silk fabric, giving them a more pouch-like shape.
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