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Paul & Joe Fall 2015: Café Parisien

Vintage acquisition featuring Volupté and Elizabeth Arden

The husband and I were wandering around the neighborhood last week and spotted this very cute little vintage store called Bottle of Bread.  I didn't see any makeup, but I summoned my courage to ask the owner whether she ever came across vintage compacts or makeup ads.  I'm glad I asked because she had several stored away in a back room - she had just moved locations and hadn't put them out yet!  So I got to take my pick from a few she had obtained at an estate sale.  I settled on this very glam Volupté clutch.  I loved all the details - the sharp edges, the brushed silver tone with mirrored sides, the dainty chain and the blue rhinestone clasp.

Volupté silver tone clutch

Volupté silver tone clutch

Volupté silver tone clutch

Volupté silver tone clutch

The inside is chock full of neat little compartments, and looked to be in great condition.

Volupté silver tone clutch

Volupté silver tone clutch - powder compartment

Volupté silver tone clutch - powder puff

Apparently you could put your cigarettes in this compartment.

Volupté silver tone clutch - compartment

There was also a hidden compartment behind the mirror - how cool is that?

Volupté clutch - mirror compartment

Of course I was curious about this particular type of clutch so I set about doing a little research.  I found a few that resembled it, including this one which has green rhinestones and a fancy silver buckle, but no chain.  The seller says it's from the 1950s so I have some sense of the date of the one I purchased.

Volupté clutch with buckle
(image from

This one is also nearly identical except for the rhinestones and lack of a chain.

Volupté silver tone clutch

Instead of a chain, there's a black fabric bag.

Volupté silver tone clutch(images from

I came across many others like this, but most of them were gold-toned with a bar in the front.  The mirror didn't have a compartment behind it but rather two small clips for a comb.  Other than that, the interior was the same.

Volupté Sophisticase clutch(image from

I found out that these sorts of clutches were named the "Sophisticase" by Volupté and featured their patented "Swinglok" mechanism.  For the most part they didn't have chains but rather black fabric carrying cases.  My hunch is that they came out with slightly different models over the years, so that's why mine is a little different than most of the ones I came across online.

Volupté Sophisticase with box(image from

I did manage to find one other Sophisticase with a chain, so the one I bought wasn't an anomaly.  The seller claims this one is from the '40s though, so I really can't say with certainty which decade mine is from.  I'd say it's definitely '40s or '50s, which was when Volupté, along with Evans, dominated the carryall market.

Volupté clutch with chain(image from

What's even more intriguing was the lipstick that happened to still be inside the bag.  The previous owner stashed an Elizabeth Arden lipstick in the compartment.  It's a nice tube in excellent condition, but it wasn't the tube that made me curious.

Vintage Elizabeth Arden lipstick

It was the "A" with a pair of wings engraved on the cap that piqued my interest.

Vintage Elizabeth Arden lipstick

I had never seen this motif before so naturally I had to see if there was a story behind it.  I found this rather striking ad from the early '40s for Victory Red lipstick (you can read about the original photo here).

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red ad, 1941(image from

And here's the lipstick itself where you can see the wings on the cap.

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red lipstick(image from  

There was also a very nice Victory Red set that featured a gold-toned lipstick case with the wing motif stamped in red.

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red set(image from

Here it is again - the tube looks identical to the one I have except mine doesn't seem to have the wings in red.  I don't think it wore off, I think it's because maybe only the Victory Red shade had the wings engraved in red whereas other shades didn't?  In any case, while I found these tubes to be the same, I still don't have an exact date.  The set above is listed as being from the '50s, whereas the lipstick below is listed as being from the '40s. 

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red lipstick

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red lipstick
(images from

Anyway, a few years after the launch of Victory Red the company released Winged Victory.

Elizabeth Arden Winged Victory ad, 1945
(image from

According to this newspaper ad, it was available starting in January 1945.

Elizabeth Arden Winged Victory newspaper ad, January 1945
(image from

So I'm assuming the wings came about to complement the variations of Victory Red, which was created at the start of World War II in 1941, and continued with the introduction of Winged Victory in early 1945*.  I'm curious to know whether the V shape formed by the wings was intentional since seemingly every product was advertised with a "V for Victory".  

The company continued to use the wing design on many other products after the war was over.  If you look really closely at the items featured in these ads, you can make out the wings.

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1947
(image from

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1949(image from

Here's a shot of an actual jar of Pat-A-Creme:

Elizabeth Arden Pat A Creme, ca. 1949(image from

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1949(image from

The use of the wing design continued through the 1950s.

Elizabeth Arden ad by Rene Gruau, 1955
(image from

Interestingly, this ad was done by Carl "Eric" Erickson, who also did illustrations for Rouge Baiser.

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1957
(image from

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1958
(image from

The wings were still fluttering in 1959 for this tie-in to Chrysler's Imperial car.

Vintage Elizabeth Arden lipstick(image from

According to the description at Ruby Lane, Chrysler launched a new ad campaign for the Imperial in the January 1959 issue of Vogue with product sponsorship by Elizabeth Arden.  The car was available in Arden Pink, which was allegedly Jackie O's favorite lipstick shade, and you could order the car from Vogue directly.  Additionally, for $25 you could purchase the exclusive Imperial Travel Case to go in the glove box.


EA-Chrysler-set(image from

Anyway, the description at Ruby Lane also states that the wings in this case are connected to the bird emblem on the Imperial, as seen on the left in the ad above.  I'm not sure I agree, but it's interesting that they continued to use it.

Speaking of Arden Pink, here's an ad from 1960.

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1960(image from

1966 was the date of the last ad in which I could see the wing motif appear on the products.

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1966(image from

What does all this mean for the lipstick?  Well, unfortunately, like the clutch itself, it could be from several decades.  (I googled the shade name on the bottom - New Fashion - and turned up nothing.) The shape of the tube was identical to several tubes of Victory Red I came across, but those were listed by the sellers with varying dates, so since I don't know the exact years they were made I can't pinpoint it for the lipstick I have.  The ads didn't seem to show those types of tubes either so no help there.  As for the wings, I couldn't find a satisfying answer as to their significance and usage throughout the years, but perhaps it's in this book.

So...thoughts?  Do you ever come across vintage finds in your town?  I gave the store owner my card, so hopefully she'll be in touch with more vintage makeup goodies.  :)

*The Glamourologist had a post on Elizabeth Arden and wartime makeup so I was hoping there would be some mention of those wings in it, but I keep getting the dreaded "The page you were looking for does not exist" message when I click on the link.  I searched both her new site and Facebook page and couldn't find it.  I couldn't even find an email address to contact her!  But I bet if anyone has information on Elizabeth Arden during wartime, it would be her.

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