Contemporary minaudieres are just that coquettish but their incarnation is ascribed by Deborah Chase, (a new RWA/NYC member) in her book, TERMS OF ADORNMENT: The Ultimate Guide to Accessories (HarperCollins), as having been created by Van Cleef and Arpels in 1930, when Charles Arpels noticed that one of his clients was using a metal Lucky Strike box as a purse. He adapted the look and named it after the wife of his partner, Estelle Van Cleef, who was "minaudiere" (charming). At first minaudieres were made of gold plated or silver metal and encrusted with genuine gems, but the look was too delicious to remain exclusive. Within a decade you could find the dainty purse on female arms throughout America. Deborah recommends that, "You look for vintage mother-of-pearl, petit point, or beaded minaudieres in flea markets and antique stores and to modernize the minaudiere change the short wrist strap for a long chain so that you can hang the small bag from your shoulder."
Mad about a certain book cover? Your own, of course! Have it immortalized on a square-shaped minaudiere. That's the concept behind a magical new line of limited edition minaudieres by Paris-based, Olympia Le-Tan, evoking first-edition covers of 21 classics. The collection is handmade in France, using canvas, embroidered flet applique and silk thread, with a brass strictire. Each minaudiere book retails for $l,500 and the boutique Colette is the exclusive Paris distributor for the collection. (213 Rue Saint-Honore, 7500l; +33-1-55-35-33-90.) Now that's a great new way to promote your romantic book. Not only is a book minaudiere a good marketing tool, it will certainly draw attention to your novel and You. Perhaps you can find a handbag manufacturer who can personalize a book minaudiere for your best selling novel.
Terry Mayer, jewelry designer, takes it one step further and creates book miniatures in silver or another alloy, and imprints the title of a book on the cover so you can wear the little jewelry book on a chain, front and center. Visit her at firstname.lastname@example.org. ♥
BIO: Polly Guerin's first job in journalism was as Accessories Editor at the fashion bible, the trade newspaper Women's Wear Daily where she honed her skills on writing about accessories and later as professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology she lectured on Product Knowledge explained how accessories were made and manufactured. Polly is also a vice-president of Romance Writers of America/New York Chapter. Visit her at www.pollytalk.com with links to her Internet PollyTalk column and www.amazingartdecodivas.blogspot.com.