Monday, September 11, 2017

Cephalopod Chatelaine

Looking into sewing notions, I came across something new to me:
the chatelaine, an ornamental or utilitarian chain or clasp Victorian women wore fastened at the waist that held items like scissors, keys, needles, pencils, etc., that might be needed close at hand.   

Celphalopods have been popular for several years now. But how bout this octopus chatelaine from around 1887?

From the Missouri Historical Society: This particular chatelaine holds a compact, perfume bottle, mirror, whistle, and pin holder.
 [Note the crab on the compact.]

From illustrated article and interview with Genevieve Cummins, co-author of the book Chatelaines: Utility to Glorious Extravagance:
"Like a customized Swiss Army knife, a chatelaine provided its wearer with the tools she needed close at hand. For a seamstress, that might include a needle case, scissors, thimble, and tape measure, while for a nurse it might mean thermometers, safety pins, styptics for dressing wounds, all sorts of things. Inspired by the complex key rings carried by la chatelaine, the female head of a French estate, these beautiful contraptions were fashionable as well as practical."
More things found on chatelaines, with photos:
"Chatelaines: Utilitarian Charm" 


ArtSparker said...

So wonderful - Over the top creativity wearing a very thin veil of practicality. Since the loss of one eye, the octopus has been winking, and well it might.

bink said...

What do you think the spiral shaped thing with a stopper is for?

Very cool chatelaine--hey, it's enough of a word still that spell check just corrected me when I accidentally put in 2 Ls--I think I'd seen them before with scissors, but then I was double-guessing myself, as that seemed rather dangerous. But maybe just little sewing scissors in a sheath?

They are the more elegant parent of the large chains some people wear now that sport Swiss Army knives, flash drives, beer openers, and keychains/keys.

Fresca said...

SPARKER: I like that too ("pretending to be practical")

BINK: I know--whatever could that ram's horn–like thing contain? I can't imagine, really.

Yes, they sometimes have scissors in a sheath.

Frex said...

BINK: OK, I searched and found "silver ram horn scent container" for a chatelaine, so I guess it was for perfume--then I'm not sure what those other things that look like perfume-bottles are for---toothpicks?!?!

Frex said...

P.S. Oh, yes, I see--close--at least one is a "pin holder".