Pinterest
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

FABULOUS & OPULENT | THE HISTORY OF DRESS and FUR CLIPS

ALL that glitters have a hold of your heart? This is for all of you who are enthralled by the beauty, history and the ” j’Adore the A R T” of antique and vintage jewelry.

After the “Great War” when the tightly fitting and slightly fussy dresses of the Edwardian period were transformed into the much more simple flapper era dresses, Coco Chanel introduced the idea of wearing less-expensive costume jewelry as art.

 

Alfred Philippe Dress Clips Pair

 

In direct opposition to wearing fine jewelry to indicate status and wealth, jewelry designers created all sorts of large, bold, and inventive clips and pins for women looking to spice up their plain clothing. The new way of dressing allowed for more ornamentation, dress and fur clips evolved as a reaction to that and the newly embraced “costume jewelry” trend.

 

By the 1930’s, dress and fur clips were the accessory everyone wanted to own, and designers were making them in numbers.

Not just the distinguished luxury companies such as Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, but renowned costume jewelry designers like Coro and Trifari were designing spectacular clips for dresses, furs and shoes.

 

Integral to the look everyone wants to emulate, that life of supper clubs and glamour, popularized in the films of the 1930’s and 1940’s.

 

Hollywood played a major part in spreading the desire and trend for dress and fur clips {and shoe clips, too!} by having major female stars such as Marlene Dietrich, Talulah Bankhead, Lana Turner and Fay Wray wear the clips on screen, making certain that every woman wanted to adorn her neckline, the straps of her evening gown, her fur, her hat, shoes and sometimes even her bag with a large, glittering jeweled clip.

 

 

During the Depression, seeing glamorous stars leading glamorous lives on the silver screen while wearing large fur clips, dress clips and shoe clips captured the imagination of every woman. Throughout the WWII years, the clips remained the must-have accessory for the square neckline trend, one clipped to each corner.

 

The clear rhinestone styles peaked in popularity in the 1930’s. Big, bold, fabulous and opulent, they were – and still are – the stuff a jewelry aficionado’s dreams are made of!

 

Eisenberg Fur Clip

I am always thrilled when I spot the clips in period costume dramas such as The Crown, or Downton Abbey. The adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon shows many gorgeous clips on the period costumes of Jennifer Beals and Rosemary DeWitt.

Dress clips occupy a very distinct moment in history, they bring us back to the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s.  During those decades, every major American and European costume jewelry maker, Eisenberg, Trifari, Coro and Napier, had a designer line of clips, until the 1950’s when they stopped being made.

Floral Dress Clips

 

Perfect dress clips with all rhinestones intact and not yellowed in their settings are rare to find.  A large fur clip in great condition? Almost unheard of at a reasonable price, since these are often snapped up by stylists to the rich and famous.

Celebrities like Charlize Theron clipped a pair of vintage dress clips on the straps of the halter dress she wore to the Oscars. Sarah Jessica Parker wore a single vintage dress clip on the shoulder of one of her beautiful designer dresses recently to a star-studded event.

Eisenberg Large Fur Clip

 

Along with the dress and fur clips, savvy collectors of bygone era fashion are equally as enthralled with the glittering shoe clips of the past. In the late 1920’s, hemlines rose, and elegant rhinestone encrusted shoe buckles were very en vogue with the Hollywood “in crowd”.

 

Starlets were adorned with rhinestones and sparkling gems from head to toe, so that they could be seen and admired by all. Sometimes called “Hollywood” Buckles, sparkling clips like this were much beloved, collectible gifts for a special young lady.

These days, they are not just for shoes. Jewelry collectors are wearing them as bracelets threaded on a silk ribbon, or as a choker length necklace.

HOW TO COLLECT VINTAGE DRESS, FUR AND SHOE CLIPS:

1. Look for condition.  A great find is a clip with all the original stones present, sparkling and clear.  The back should “work” meaning it should be able to hold onto fabric by itself, the spring mechanism should be strong.

2. Look for designer style. Some clips are born from more well known designers than others.  Not all pieces were clearly marked, but the best ones were. Look for a well-respected name. Trifari, Eisenberg, Coro are some. If you can examine a well known resource such as a reference book of costume jewelry, that will give you great insight. If the pieces aren’t marked by the designer, but in the original box and retailed by a luxury-end shop or boutique, you can also be sure of the quality.

3. Look for complete pairs.  One single dress or shoe clip can certainly be charming, but a pair, the way they were designed and originally worn, is always going to be more collectable and therefore keep their value more than a single one.

4. Buy from a trusted source. Buy what you love.  These two go hand in hand.  I hope that you trust us at FrenchGardenHouse…and that you find just the right vintage clip or clips that you will love!

 

 

Art Deco Plumes Shoe Buckles

These stunning Vintage Shoe Buckles are a rare treat to find. Referenced in the book “Gems of Costume Jewelry” by Gabriele Greindl, these clips are stunning. They are remniscent of peacock plumes, set with many cup set clear chaton rhinestones in a domed rhodium plated settings. {Rhodium is a precious metal that is in the family of platinum, it. guards against scratches.}

 

French Boxed Set Buckles and Clips

 

 

This is one of my very favorite finds ever! Absolutely stunning set of early 1900’s French Luxury Shoe Clips, complete with the matching pair of actual buckles for the same shoes, set with sparkling clear and midnight rhinestones.

It is unheard of to find an early art deco set like this, kept all these decades in the original cream leatherette Wetherby Kayser Shoe Company box with cream & black satin lining. {Wetherby Kayser was founded in the late 1800’s, shoes and accessories from this company are in museums world wide.}

 

 

So how do we wear these beauties from the glamorous past now?  All these clips can dress up evening bags, belts, hairdo’s, little strappy cocktail dresses and necklines. They look fascinating scattered on the notch of your jacket lapels or sweaters, and your classic white shirts. I love to wear mine on my favorite jeans jacket, but have also worn one clipped on a velvet ribbon as a necklace.

Men love these equally as much, there is a photograph of Mick Jagger on the cover of Time magazine wearing a vintage clip on his collar.

Using something old with a modern twist, what’s not to love?

Learn more about Vintage Rhinestone Jewelry Here >

 

 

SHOP ALL VINTAGE DRESS, FUR & SHOE CLIPS >

 

HOW WOULD YOU WEAR YOUR VINTAGE DRESS OR FUR CLIPS?

 

11 Responses to FABULOUS & OPULENT | THE HISTORY OF DRESS and FUR CLIPS

  1. Fun post, and my favorite era! My sisters & I had a rare opportunity several years ago of going through a single estate which spanned 3 generations of women. It had a treasure trove of costume jewelry from the late 30s into the 90s, with several shoe, fur and sweater clips. It was amazing. Your set in original presentation box is fabulous, as are all the other examples. As always, thank you for sharing your subject knowledge, Lidy.

  2. Oh, Rita! How I would have loved being there with you girls…I bet it was amazing. Thank you for sharing your fun estate time with me, I can live vicariously! xo

  3. Gorgeous costume jewelry. Trifari is my favorite.
    Have a lovely collection and I wear them a lot.Iam a magpie.

  4. I love the stories behind the vintage and antique pieces we sell. I can only imagine the women who wore these, and how it made each one feel special. Have a beautiful day Shannon!

  5. In my favorite studio portrait of my late mother she is wearing a pair of these on a dark dress. I have no idea what happened to them. I used the photo on the cover of a book I wrote about her.

  6. Ellen, what wonderful portrait that must be of your mother. Too bad you don’t still have them, but still a great memory of her fashion style. Your mother was certainly “en vogue” in her day.

  7. So beautiful! I am a shoe clip collector and your finds are among the most excellent I’ve seen anywhere! Thank you for sharing about them!

  8. Thank you so much, Cyndy, they are hard to resist, aren’t they, with their glamorous past and sparkle!

Leave a reply