Minaudiere (n.) a small decorative case or purse for ferrying small items, such as makeup and jewelry. Pronounced mē-nōd-ˈyer, these ornate little clutches are often carried as evening bags.
The history of the minaudiere goes back to the 1930s. Van Cleef & Arpels–The French jeweler and perfume house–has been credited with the clutch’s creation. The story goes that Charles Arpels was inspired when he witnessed a wealthy socialite throwing several small makeup items into a ratty tin box. Charles named the little purse after Alfred Van Cleef’s wife, Estelle, whose mannerisms, or “minaudieres” were said to charm all those around her.
Today the minaudiere is a must-have item for every woman’s closet. While you don’t need tons of these–unless, of course, you have many fancy evening events to attend–you should have at least one good one. They are all so pretty that you may want to display them on shelves or hanging in an artful arrangement on the wall.
Here are some of the most magnifiques minaudieres on the market en ce moment. As always, you will find a range of price points to suit every budget.
The featured minaudiere comes from Gucci and sells for $3,700 at Nordstrom. http://www.nordstrom.com.
Here is a statement-making minaudiere from Judith Leiber–the queen of the evening bag. Available from Neiman Marcus, it sells for $5,995.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Here is a more affordable minaudiere from Zara. So festive in its cheery hues, this beaded beauty sells for $49.90. http://www.zara.com.
Chloe’s Nile Small Studded Indigo Blue Minaudiere can be worn equally well day or night. $1,950.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Here is a fringed snakeskin-like version. $49.90. http://www.zara.com.
I love the sophisticated style of this Tuxedo Box Minaudiere from Saint Laurent. $2,850.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Like rectangles? Check out this oh, so chic minaudiere from Zara. It’s an instant classic. $59.90. http://www.zara.com.
I love the rich hues of this minaudiere from Bottega Veneta. Made of woven satin, this one is in ancient gold. $1,800.00. www. neimanmarcus.com.
This one from Zara has a removable crossbody strap. I love the round shape and beautiful beadwork. $59.90. http://www.zara.com.
This one is also from Zara. Fuchsia and black, it sells for $59.90. http://www.zara.com.
The Dolce Minaudiere from Badgley Mischka $250.00 is available in black as well as nude. http://www.nordstrom.com.
Here is another from Judith Leiber…this time in the shape of a koi fish. $5,995.00 at Neiman Marcus. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
And another from Judith Leiber…a super cool camera. $5,595.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
And another from Ms. Leiber. The Bal Noir Crystal Perfume Bag. $4,295.00.