Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vintage kid gloves


I've been ferreting about in the attics, cupboards and wardrobes in the family home again, as I accelerate my sorting and throwing out activities. A large part of Sunday was spent in the revolting 1960s twin garage round the back of the house. It leaks, houses many spiders and has been the repository of bags & boxes of junk for years.

As I hurled mouse-dropping filled cardboard boxes into the skip, I came across a small wooden stool with a ripped & faded silk padded seat.


When I lifted the lid I discovered that it housed all my late step-grandmother's scarves & gloves.

There was the silk floral number I bought for her in Varanasi on my GAP year, along with long silk hunting stocks, gauzy head scarves, yellow string riding gloves, Jacqmar silk squares and, hidden away at the bottom, some leather & kid gloves in perfect condition. We've washed everything & sent it all to the local hospice shop, bar the hunting stocks and the gloves, some of which I've photographed here. As they are almost impossible to clean, it's very rare to find kid gloves in good condition.


These are lilac kid evening elbow gloves from the 1950s. They fit my arms and wrists, although due to my wide hands, they are a touch on the small side around my palms.


Long gloves like these traditionally have what is known as a mousquetaire opening, which fastens with tiny buttons at the wrist.


Women would have had either a ladies maid, helpful husband or a little button hook to fasten them, as it is quite impossible to do so single handed. These would have been worn all evening, especially for dancing. When supper was taken later on in the proceedings, the lady would peel off the fingers, undo the buttons and slip her hands though the gap, rolling back the hands so that she could eat.


Inside they are stamped with their origin:


There's something rather lovely about the idea of French kid gloves. It shouts special occasion and luxury in a way we don't see often any more.

There was also this pair of lovely black gloves:


They are marked with her name inside:


And these elegant French scalloped edged navy blue kid daytime numbers, over which my mother & I are currently fighting:



Shame I'm not covering the collections this season: the black & blue gloves would form an essential part of my fashion week clothing arsenal. (It's all about the accessories darlings.)