Originally created 02/20/03

Classic design returns to fashion



This lady gets around.

This one has popped up on handbags, makeup totes, even wall clocks.

She's reminiscent of the 1950s movie posters. You know the ones: They all featured knockouts sporting bikinis or board shorts, with their long locks pinned up and their lips stained ruby red.

Thanks to high-end handbag designers such as Lulu Guinness and Kate Spade, the ladies have become a staple of almost every woman's wardrobe.

Ms. Guinness' newest collection features images of the late '40's actress Gene Tierney. Earlier designs featured storefronts and patisseries.

"What it's really about is that accessories have become so much more important," said Nancy Bowers, co-owner of Summerville Rags. "It works like the perfect piece of jewelry would."

The best thing about the bags, which always feature a myriad of shades in colorful prints, is that they never match one particular ensemble, so women can carry them with almost everything, she said.

Though the designer bags can cost a pretty penny, knock-offs are available everywhere, including mass-merchandise stores such as Target.

The only problem is that no one really knows what to call this trend.

"I don't think I've heard a name for it," Ms. Bowers said. "It's really about people reaching for different looks."

Accessories aren't the only items invaded by the ladies.

They've popped up on items from T-shirts to wall clocks.

However, the high-end purse business is where the trend has its roots.

"There are things you can fake well and there are things you can't," Ms. Bowers said. "These bags are classic things that will be recreated over and over again."

Reach Jennifer Hilliard at (706) 823-3223 or jennifer.hilliard@augustachronicle.com.