OK, so I'm walking the dogs this morning, and we're strolling down a lovely block of brownstones (i.e., row houses) and I notice that someone has left a pile of books and fashion magazines beside some trash bins -- not all that unusual really.
I almost always stop and check book titles on the chance there might be something of interest to me or to Michael. The magazines were mostly from 2009 and the books were mainly Mars and Venus On a Date-type stuff. But I also noticed that hanging from the wrought iron railing was a slouchy black handbag. Since I'd decided to take one of the men's fashion magazines ("Fantastic Man" from 2012), I figured, heck, I'll carry it home in the bag.
Now, I have found many good things in the trash over the years, including a Tiffany-style stained glass lamp (a repro but still), a featherweight table, bolts of fabric, countless plastic storage containers, and so much more. Many New Yorkers are either too busy to drop things off at a thrift store or simply can't be bothered so they just put it in the street.
Heading home, I inspect the bag. It's definitely leather -- pebbled deerskin? -- and has heavy brass hardware. The label is Prada (!). It's well-constructed, nicely finished, and smells great. Could this be The Find of Finds: a practically new Prada hobo bag, likely worth the price of a Bernina (or two)?
As soon as I got home, I did what any of you would have done: searched the Internet for the bag.
But before I did that I looked at it more closely. The zipper pulls and brass feet had the Prada stamp. I hunted for the serial number. None to be found: a Big Red Flag. No "Made in Italy" label either, for what it's worth.
In less than two minutes, I found the bag for sale online here (Prada Hobo Bag 1306 Black comes with: serial numbers, care booklet, Prada dust bag, Prada Card, tag.) Price? $219. Now $219 ain't nothing but it won't buy you a genuine Prada bag.
The bag is also for sale here, where it is clearly identified as a replica (same price). Interesting, no? Why doesn't Prada do something about those sites?
I would not buy a counterfeit designer bag for a whole host of reasons, but I know enough about leather goods to recognize that as copies go, this is a pretty good one Is the brass hardware genuine? I can't tell. From what I read about counterfeit leather goods, this bag could very well have been manufactured in the same factories as the genuine ones. Who knows where the hardware came from?
I'm not sure what I'll do it; it's not really a man's bag. It's way too big for my mother and she likes bags she can strap across her torso. My SIL wouldn't wear a fake (I don't think); Cathy, on the other hand...
In other news, when it comes to Twentieth-century fashion pre-dating the 1920's, everything I know I've learned from old musicals like "Easter Parade,""Funny Girl, "and "The Music Man." It has never been a period that resonated with me, fashion-wise.
But when I saw this genuine two-piece dress and blouse McCall's pattern in size 36 for sale yesterday on Etsy for less than a contemporary Vogue pattern, I grabbed it. I think it's lovely and relatively modern looking (no bustle).
The seller thinks it dates from c. 1919. I did a little online research, and apparently the second decade of the Twentieth century saw rapid changes in fashion, so patterns can be difficult to date precisely.
I did find this pattern (below) on Pinterest, which has a similar feel: notice how the blouse extends down over the front. Same 25-cent price as the McCalls too.
It's listed on Pinterest as 1910's. But if you click to the Etsy seller
and check the back of the pattern, it distinctly says "Patented April
30, 1907." Is that necessarily the
date of the pattern? Could the patent refer to something else? (Mine also has a patent date -- 1908 -- but that seems wrong for the style.)
If any of you know the period and could lead me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it! I'm excited at the prospect of sewing something from the Edwardian age -- or maybe a bit later.
In closing readers, if you found a leather Prada bag on the street that you knew was a fake, would you...
A) Wear it -- Heck, it's a nice bag!
B) Give it away -- Even though I didn't buy it, it still has "counterfeit karma."
C) Leave it on the wrought iron railing for some other status-conscious dumpster diver.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!