Monday, March 14, 2011

Carrying Your Gas Mask in Style


I found the shape of this pebbled leather bag, featured in the Handbags 2011 calendar, so interesting. Then I read the description. It is from Russia, from 1940, and is a gas mask carrier. Whoa! Talk about accepting the harsh realities of your day to day life and deciding you are going to keep calm and carry on—in style.

Speaking of style, Japan is on my mind because of the earthquake, the tsunami and problems with some of the country's nuclear reactors. I think Japanese women are some of the most stylish and original dressers in the world and I hope they can find moments of beauty and inspiration, of any kind, amidst their sudden national emergency.

This gas mask carrier is proof that style is a form of hope during terrible times.

10 comments:

sacramento said...

I couldn´t agree more with you, my dear Jill. I love your wise words: This gas mask carrier is proof that style is a form of hope during terrible times.
Much love.
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Cloud of Secrets said...

I remember mention of an advertisement for a stylish wartime gas-resistant suit in The Thoughtful Dresser; it was silk, if I remember rightly, in colors with graceful names like Eau de Nil.

Oh, here's some text from Fashions of a Decade : The 1940s in Google Books: "...made of pure oiled silk ... in dawn, apricot, rose, amethyst, eau-de-nil green, and pastel pink. The wearer can cover a distance of two hundred yards through mustard gas..."

I think the Japanese will find sanity and style much more quickly than most other cultures could. But that doesn't lessen the heartbreak of the destruction and human loss.

Terri said...

Style IS a form of hope--Linda Grant's The Thoughtful Dresser brought that home to me so well. We actually have a defunct gas mask in our toybox...and the grandchildren love it. That sounds gruesome, doesn't it?

fashionoverfifty said...

And I just finished a book on Chanel, and the author writes of war fashion and how fashion can cheer one up.
Love the shape of the bag! so cool~

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

This is a sobering post....yet, interesting about how even fashion is affected by the world around it. The bag is so interesting. On a lighter note,
Thanks for visiting my blog...I hope you will return again. I am going to add you to my blogroll and become a follower!

jill815 said...

Hi Sacramento, I feel so awful for the Japanese people that they are going through so much right now. Natural disasters are the worst, you feel so hopeless.

jill815 said...

Hi Sarah, some of the hardest parts to read in Linda Grant's book were the wartime accounts. I actually had to put it down for several nights because the stories were so depressing, and yet I was inspired by the tales of resiliency and hope of the people in concentration camps during WWII, like the girl who added a bow to her shaved head to look pretty. I had the same kind of jolt of despair and admiration to turn the page of the calendar and find this bag and to learn it was a gas mask carrier. It seems especially timely and heartbreaking in light of what is happening in Japan.

jill815 said...

Hi Terri, your comment made me laugh, my kids would so be fighting over who got to wear the old gas mask first.

Wasn't Linda Grant's book great? I hope she gets back to doing more of that kind of writing. I believe she turned back to novels after The Thoughtful Dresser but I'm hoping for more essays on clothes from such a terrific writer.

jill815 said...

Hi Paula, what book did you read on Chanel? I have a beautiful book on elements of her style--the suit, the little black dress, but I need to read a biography I think.

jill815 said...

Hi Pam, thanks for stopping by and thanks for following my blog! I have been loving all your posts on the Texas bloggers meet up. Texas is one of my favorite places in the world. I am missing barbecue, star-filled skies at night, trying to learn the Two Step (a disaster the first time around, but fun anyway) and Amy's Ice Cream from Austin!