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A minaudière (mee-nor-dee-yair) is a small ornamental case for a woman's cosmetics, jewelry, or personal items that is often carried as an evening bag. There is a long history to minaudières, with it being used since the 1930s. The house of Van Cleef & Arpels has been credited with its creation. It is said inspiration came to Charles Arpels when a wealthy socialite was seen to have tossed several small, loose makeup items into a tin box! The minaudière is named after Estelle Van Cleef, whose mannerisms - or "minaudières" -enchanted her entourage. Since then, many jewellers & Haute Couture designers have created their own models.
With this keen interest in history, The Chic Initiative seeks to revive the use and appreciation for minaudières, which are archetypes of the evening bags in use today.
Note: For the purpose of this site, we use the term clutches / minaudières / evening bags interchangeably.
Here are some examples of such exquisite minaudières
ROSES MINAUDIÈRE PRECIOUS CASE,
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS COLLECTION, 1926
SILVER, GOLD, COLOURED STONE & ENAMEL MINAUDIÈRE,
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS, circa 1939
The rectangular minaudière applied with black enamel, decorated with floral sprays set with turquoise and ruby cabochons, the interior fitted with compartments for lipstick and powder, with a separate black enamel compact, measuring approximately 6 by 4¾ by 7/8 inches, signed La Minaudiere de Van Cleef & Arpels, stamped Metaux Divers, with French assay and workshop mark. With original signed and fitted box. Auction: Sotheby's
A GOLD AND DIAMOND-SET MINAUDIÈRE,
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS, circa 1950
Of rectangular form with basket weave decoration throughout, the hinged clasp with brilliant-cut diamond border, opening to reveal a bevelled mirror, two covered compartments, lipstick holder, perfume flask and comb, 14.0cm wide
Signed La Minaudiere de Van Cleef & Arpels, no. NY44735-2 Auction: Christie's
MIROIR DES EAUX MINAUDIÈRE PRECIOUS CASE, MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM COLLECTION
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS COLLECTION, 2003
ETINCELLE MINAUDIÈRE PRECIOUS CASE, UNE JOURNÉE À PARIS COLLECTION VAN CLEEF & ARPELS, 2006
Estelle Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef, 1895
Van Cleef & Arpels flagship store, Palace Vendome Maison 1906
Van Cleef & Arpels, 744 Fifth Avenue Boutique, circa 1970