Monday, May 28, 2012

Pineapple Bag: Past and Present

Some say that fashion is cyclical. Those who say that were probably shopping at H&M recently. As I was walking along the aisles of brightly-colored dresses and sunhats, I came across this fun little pineapple bag. "Hmm, this looks familiar," thought I.

And then it hit me! The resemblance is uncanny.

©The Kyoto Costume Institute

This three-dimensional knitted pineapple bag is called a 'reticule' and is one of the treasures of the Kyoto Costume Institute. In the late 18th - early 19th century, when women surrendered their voluminous skirts for the new neoclassical style, they also had to give up their pockets, and so a tiny bag for daily necessities was created. This pineapple reticule is made with yellow and green silk and decorated with silver beads and tassels. You can see a more detailed image here.

There was a certain taste for the exotic in the early 19th century, in part due to the influence of Joséphine Bonaparte, who was from the Island of Martinique, in part due to increasing interest in Egypt, Greece and Rome. And I feel like this zany bag was quite the hit of the season.

Now, if you're handy with knitting needles, you can make your own version of this bag thanks to knitter and blogger Isabel Gancedo who create very detailed instructions for it.

As for me, I will have to be content with the H&M version. Note to self, must learn to knit.    

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